Former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mallam Nuhu Ribadu has called on media practitioners in the country to first purge themselves before becoming adequately prepared to fight corruption.
The call was contained in the Chairmanâ€™s opening remarks made yesterday by Ribadu at a Ramadan lecture organised by the Muslim Media Practitioners Association of Nigeria at the National Mosque, Abuja, with the title â€˜Anti-Corruption: The Role of Media as a Change Agentâ€™.
According to Ribadu, â€œI am happy to be in the midst of a gathering of journalists and media practitioners, today. I am especially glad that you chose to have us reflect on a very important and ever-relevant topic of the fight against the malice of corruption in Nigeria, and the roles a powerful tool like the media can play in combating corruption in our country.
â€œHaving this discussion in the month of Ramadan, a time of spiritual odyssey, underscores the fact that we should not only pray but compliment the needed supplications with practical solutions to our challenges of nationhood.
â€œThere is a consensus about the position of corruption as our major impediment to greatness. It is a malady that has unfortunately gone deep into our national fabric. Corruption is the major reason why we are where we are today as a country. It is also the reason why we are unable to address a lot of our problems and challenges.
â€œYears of mindless stealing and waste of public resources has brought bad name to Nigeria and reversed the hope and aspirations we had as a country at the time of Independence. The haemorrhage of corruption has dragged this country to a brink in spite of efforts at different times, including what we are witnessing presently, to get the country away from the monster. Fighting corruption, therefore, is key to the survival and progress of our country.
â€œIn this fight to emancipate Nigeria from corruption and the corrupt, you as journalists have a great role to play. Your role in this crusade is conferred by the potent of the weapon that is in your hands as pressmen and women. Journalism, you would agree with me, is a frontline profession when it comes to nation building and search for developmentâ€, he added.
The former anti-corruption czar added that â€œThroughout history, media has played momentous roles in different societies to tackle a number of malfeasances, including corruption. Such turning point interventions by the media have also occurred at different points in Nigeria.
â€œIn the case of fight against corruption, the Nigerian media should continuously rise up and resist continuous desecration of our country. Corruption desecrates our national ethos and values, and inhibits our well-being as a people. As the acclaimed voice of the voiceless, the media should be up against corruption in all forms.
â€œHowever, for the media to effectively fight corruption, there must be self-purgation. Media should purge itself of corruption and stand up firm on the path of integrity to discharge its function effectively. As I always say; corruption cannot fight corruption. He who is morally challenged has no moral right to sermonize on morality. And when the morally deformed person attempts to rise against immorality, hardly would he ever succeed and often he ends up ridiculing such moral responsibility.
â€œCardinal objectives of journalism; that of upholding honesty, probity, fight against injustice and patriotism, sit very well with the teachings of Islam. In fact, fighting for the oppressed and telling the truth are some of Islamic injunctions that are repeated a number of times in the Qurâ€™an and for which Allah promises abundant rewards.
â€œTherefore, as Muslim media practitioners, you should first see your positive role in the fight against corruption as an act of worship. Allah enjoins Muslims against injustice, and there is no injustice greater than cornering what is unto people into oneâ€™s own.
â€œThe media is therefore needed to champion the anticorruption message and always stand for what is right. As a journalist, you should make it a point of principle to never join forces with people you ought to help the public to fight. Above all, fear of God should be the guiding principle always. At points of temptation always prick your conscience; ask yourself what is in the public interest. Ask yourself; what or who is on the side of the truth before making news judgments or lending yourself to any cause.
â€œDistinguished audience, what I try to do is to scratch the surfaces before we immerse into the lecture proper. I believe the paper presenter, eminent professor Is-haq Oloyode and the discussants lined up will take us through the full course of the theme of this lecture and expectations on you are media practitioners in helping the fight against corruption and, ultimately, the development of this countryâ€ Ribadu added.