Chairman/Editor-in-Chief of THISDAY Newspapers, Mr. Nduka Obaigbena
By Agha Ibiam
Chairman/Editor-in-Chief of THISDAY Newspapers, Mr. Nduka Obaigbena, Tuesday charged the Federal Government to intensify efforts in improving on the country’s infrastructure, security and be more transparent in governance to attain world class status.
Obaigbena made the statement at a panel discussion chaired by the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, during the second day of the Nigeria Business and Investment Summit organised by the Bank of Industry (BoI) and the Ministry of Trade and Investment in London.
The Editor-in-Chief, who was invited to share his views on how the country could be insulated from negative perceptions from the Western countries by the minster, said if the World Bank could say that Nigeria is ranked high on investment, it means the Nigerian media was reporting the country positively.
“If Christine Lagarde could say that Nigeria is on the top list of investment that means the Nigerian media is working. That means the information is taken out there,” he said.
He, however, stated that though the country could record some progress, effort should be channelled towards attaining world record.
While comparing domestic and international press in terms of news reporting, Obaigbena noted that if the domestic press holds government accountable, that does not mean that the government of the day is not performing, but that the media must carry out its responsibility to the public by informing, educating and entertaining it.
“But when we go global, I believe we all have to speak together for the sake of our nation. I don’t share the view that Nigeria is totally negatively perceived.
“As you have the right perception out there, there is also the right investment out there,” he said.
On the issue of security, Obaigbena insisted that bombing is a new phenomenon in Nigeria, adding that the duration of the menace and how government tackles the situation should be a matter of concern to all.
He therefore said that it was important that government do more to restore security and curb the emerging security scenario in the country.
“Having said that, most Nigerians still go about their normal business without hindrance in a safe and secure environment and I believe the perception is out there. So the fact that we have a robust media environment which criticizes the government of the day does not mean it should be negatively perceived.
“Once you do more they will support you. In terms of policy, we are in our 13 years of democracy, governance is improving and elections are improving in the country and the atmosphere is free.
“But truly and perhaps, because government has not done as much as they ought to have done, they are somehow under-reported by the domestic media,” he said.
Obaigbena pointed out that if a company like Etisalat, who was also at the summit, could break even in three years after investing in Nigeria, it was a positive indication that the country is moving forward.
“Therefore, government has to do more to the people by providing basic infrastructure and good governance,” he added.