By Ernest ChinwoÂ in Port Harcourt
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has called on the Nigerian Media to wake up and defend Nigerians who were suffering untold hardship under the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led Federal Government.Â
Â Speaking during a courtesy visit by theÂ Management of the International Press Institute (IPI) at theÂ Government House Port Harcourt yesterday,Â Wike expressed regret that the Nigerian Media had lost its voice since May 2015.Â
He said: “TheÂ Nigerian Press should wake up. The Nigerian Press presently speaks for the rich. It no longer speaks for the poor. The focus now is advertorial, instead of defending the people.
Â “The press in Nigeria has been gagged. The Press that was at forefront of ‘Jonathan Must Go’ can no longer speak up against bad governance, electoral manipulation, electoral fraud and total collapse of national security. What has happened to the conscience of theÂ Nigerian Media?”Â
Wike said the same press that joined some prominent Nigerians to fight the partial removal of petroleum subsidy under Former President Goodluck Jonathan, had maintainedÂ a deafening silence under President Muhammadu Buhari when the entire fuel subsidy was removed in controversial circumstances.Â
The governor said despite the controversies and inconsistenciesÂ that have trailed the alleged total removal of fuel subsidy, there are no calls for occupy Nigeria in the media.Â
He stated that the APC Federal Government was poised to use illegal meansÂ to manipulate theÂ electoral process, hence the fight over electionÂ sequence in the amended Electoral Act.Â
The governor said that in Rivers State, the Police High Command rewarded Mr Akin Fakorede, who was indicted by the INEC Committee on Rivers Rerun, for massive electoral fraud. Â
He said: “It is good thatÂ the International Press Institute is comingÂ to Nigeria to see the injustice and illegality that characterise the present administration. Â
“There is no image for Nigeria to launder. We need the world to know what is happening in the country. The World through the IPI will knowÂ the nature of the war against corruption where the Federal Government convicts opponents who are still before the courts.Â
“The world through the IPI will also know how if you don’t want to be a corrupt man, enter the ruling party. It is good for IPI to come to Nigeria to see the atrocities that the Federal Government is committing.”
Wike said Press Freedom could only be achieved in a democracy where the rule of law is respected.
Â Earlier, the Leader of the International Press Institute Media and Publicity Committee, Dr. Tonnie Iredia, saidÂ the committee was in the state to create awareness on the 2018 World Congress to be hosted in Nigeria. Â
He said the event offered NigeriaÂ the opportunityÂ to launder her image as well as give international journalists the opportunity to appreciateÂ development efforts in the country.Â
Iredia said Rivers State was one of the functional states where the people were enjoying the dividends of democracy.Â He said that there was the needÂ for the media to highlightÂ Rivers StateÂ for other states to emulate.