Osoba, Uduaghan Unveil Editors’ House, Canvass Cut in Govt Spending

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• Adesina explains how the secretariat was built •Ambode urges editors to ensure objective reportage
Gboyega Akinsanmi
Former Ogun State Governor, Chief Olusegun Osoba and his Delta State counterpart, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, among others, yesterday unveiled the first secretariat of the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE).

Also at the unveiling of the secretariat christened Editors’ House were the Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, former Anambra State Governor, Mr. Peter Obi, Minister of Information and Culture, Mr. Lai Mohammed, Deputy Governor of Adamawa State, Mr. Martin Babale and his Borno State counterpart, Alhaji Usman Mamman Durkwa.

The inauguration attracted key figures in the media including Managing Director of THISDAY Newspapers Group, Mr. Eniola Bello, Special Adviser to the President, Mr. Femi Adeshina, Editor-in-Chief of Vanguard Newspapers, Mr. Gbenga Adefaye, President of the Guild, Mrs. Funke Egbemode and the Managing Director of News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) among others.

Before the secretariat was officially unveiled, Uduaghan referred to an engagement with former Anambra State Governor, Mr. Peter Obi, on the Platform 2016, a public discourse organised by the Covenant Christian Centre on Oct. 1 annually.
Uduaghan, who chaired the inauguration of Editors’ House, said he agreed with Obi’s position on the programme that government officials at all levels should cut spending in order to attend to other matters of public interests and pursue primary reasons for which they were elected.

He, also, said he agreed with Obi’s approach to public governance, which he said, had earned accolades on different social media platforms, though acknowledged that his approach might be controversial, citing the country’s tenuous political environment and people’s perception.
Beyond what people might say about any approach to cutting government spending, Uduaghan said there “must be a cut in government spending. I agree with some of Obi’s approaches to cutting government spending, but some of the approaches are controversial.”

He said some of the approaches “are controversial because after God, the lives of public officials are in the hands of cooks, security officials, drivers and other domestic staff members. If a public official is not careful in the way he deals with these people, his life is actually at stake.”

With the current economic challenges, however, Uduaghan said it was compelling “to look for ways of cutting spending. We can take advantage of inter-state cooperation and relations irrespective of our political affiliation, religious orientation or ethnic background to get things done.

He cited practical examples of how the Delta State Government under his leadership always relied on the Rivers State Government “to get public address system. The public address system is very expensive. So, every time we needed it, Rivers State always lent us its public system.

“Even though Edo State Governor, Comrade. Adams Oshiomole is not in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), we had robust relationship, which helped cut spending in one way or the other. So, inter-state cooperation can be a tool of cutting spending,” Uduaghan explained.

Also at the inauguration, Adeshina conveyed the goodwill message of President Muhammadu Buhari to the Guild, the highest professional body in Nigerian journalism and explained how the idea of Editors’ House was conceived when he indicated interest in its leadership.

The special adviser explained that he promised to build a befitting secretariat while contesting for the presidency of the Guild in 2013, though was uncertain of how the idea could be realised.

After winning the election in Ibadan, Adeshina noted that the Guild put together a fund-raising dinner, which he said, really helped “to raise some funds used to purchase Editors’ House and a parcel of land in Abuja.”

At the fund-raising dinner, Adeshina disclosed that the Guild had “pledges running into N200 million. At the end, we realised N180 million. People came to support us. Some came with cash. Others came with cheques. Some gave us N5 million. Others gave us as low as N500, 000.”

Ambode, who was represented by his deputy, Dr. Oluranti Adebule at the inauguration, urged the Guild “to ensure fair and objective reportage of national issues that would promote socio-economic development and national cohesion.
He, also tasked the Guild to ensure that more attention is devoted to issues that would assist government to ease the current hardship being experienced by the people and protection of lives and property.

“It is no longer news that out nation’s economy is in recession amidst other challenges that demand the patriotism and nationalistic spirit of all of us. Specifically for members of the Guild, as gatekeepers and moulders of opinion in our nation, you owe it as a national duty to ensure fair and objective reportage of issues with eyes on the promotion of socio-economic development and national cohesion.

“The practice of journalism and mass communication in this present time should be anchored on the best global journalistic ethos and must be moderated by local realities and national interest.”