Kemi Olaitan in Ibadan
A lecturer in the Department of Mass Communication and Media Technology, Lead City University, Ibadan, Oyo State, Dr. Bayonle Busari, yesterday lamented the abysmal failure of political parties to imbibe the democratic culture and tenets of good governance.
He also observed that even though democracy was copied from Western nations, Nigerian politicians failed woefully to carry along democratic culture to build internal democracy for the growth and development of the country.
This is just as he enjoined the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) to set up a welfare scheme that would cater to the needs of indigent journalists across the country.
Busari, who doubles as the coordinator of the Postgraduate Programme in the department, made the declarations yesterday while delivering a paper titled: ‘Role of Media Practitioners in Evaluation of Fulfilment of 2023 Campaign Promises’, at the 2023 Press Week of Correspondents’ Chapel of NUJ, Oyo State Council.
He said journalists are expected to constantly put elected leaders on their toes in order to ensure that the promises made during the campaigns are fulfilled, stating that as part of their duties, media practitioners have a role to set the agenda for the society in which they operate.
He added that it is the responsibility of media professionals to determine what the society discusses, how it is discussed, and the effect of the discourse.
Busari, who maintained that the media should put leaders on the spot and hold them accountable on their electioneering promises as well as the discharge of the primary responsibilities of government, urged them to shun all tendencies that would expose them to patronage from politicians which may make them to compromise their integrity.
While lamenting the condition of many journalists in the country, he stated that many journalists are being owed salaries, the situation which he said is making them willing tools in the hands of politicians and political parties.
The don, however, advised the NUJ to set up a welfare scheme from which indigent journalists can benefit, noting that this will help to reduce the effect of the precarious situation that some journalists face.
According to him, “The relevance of the topic can be situated in the agenda-setting theory which places a duty on the media to set the agenda for the society in which they operate. This means that it is the responsibility of media professionals to determine what society discusses, how it is discussed, and the effect of the discourse.
“Secondly, the relevance of the topic comes by virtue of the role and expectation from the larger society, for the media to put leaders on the spot and hold them accountable on their electioneering promises as well as the discharge of the primary responsibilities of government. This is a duty that elected leaders owe the public. This duty primarily includes putting a tab on campaign promises made by politicians and the extent to which these promises are being kept.
“Where it is observed that politicians are deviating from the pact that they have signed with the people, the media owe it as a duty to raise the red flag and call such leaders to the probable failure.
“I will call on the leadership of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) to rise and take up the gauntlet by ensuring that all journalists who have been so employed are paid commensurate remuneration by their employers. This may require putting in place an appropriate legal framework to give life to this proposal. Secondly, there is a need to have an insurance scheme for journalists in order to mitigate the hardship and risk that they are prone to by the nature of their calling.
“I will also implore the leadership of the NUJ across the board to set up a welfare scheme from which indigent journalists can benefit in order to reduce the effect of the precarious situation, which some of them face, making them willing tools in the hands of politicians and political parties.
“On a personal note, there is a need for us to shun all tendencies that will expose us to patronage from politicians, which may make us to compromise our integrity. I doubt if we have any journalist today who is not a graduate either from the university or polytechnic. This presupposes that we need to work on our self-esteem. The way politicians describe us, sometimes, behind us is better imagined! They see us as an item that can be sourced at a given price and disposed of at will. This situation is unfortunate and should be unacceptable. We should stop making ourselves available to the political class as disposable materials.”
The Chairman of Oyo State NUJ, Chief Ademola Babalola, in his remarks, said there is the need to always remind political office holders of their campaign promises, which will be the yardstick in measuring their performance in office, urging government at all levels to prioritise infrastructural development across the country and create an enabling environment for journalists to thrive- whom should be seen as partners in progress towards the development and progress of Nigeria.