The governor of Rivers State, Barrister Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, has declared that the country has found itself in deep crisis because of poor governance, nepotism, marginalization, and state-sponsored repression. The governor said that these had combined to continue to do violence to national unity and cohesion.
Speaking while declaring open the All Nigeria Editors Conference holding in Port Harcourt on Thursday, the governor said: “We are only pretending we think that all is well with our country. The country is in crisis as poor governance, nepotism, marginalization and state-sponsored repression continue to do violence to national unity and cohesion.
“At times like this, the country needs forthright leadership and consensus building to steer the ship of state from the wrong direction it is headed to safer grounds. Nigerians of goodwill must, therefore, call the Minister of Information to stop stoking the ambers of disharmony and divisions in the polity with his irresponsible utterances and wild allegations against members of opposition political parties,” he stated.
The governor pointed out that by his alleged unguarded utterances the Minister of Information had implied that it was the then opposition that sponsored (APC) that was sponsoring Boko Haram operations.
Governor Wike noted that the clamour for political restructuring, fiscal federalism, State police and guarantees for free and fair elections had never been so determined across the country adding that the calls will never go away, pointing out that it is becoming clearer by the day that to ignore those calls was pretentiously dangerous to the unity and peaceful co-existence of this country.
He continued: “For some of us, therefore, there is nothing nobler than being counted on this path and as long as God gives us breathe we shall remain in the trenches fighting for our democratic rights and freedoms until victory is ultimately achieved.
“But, we also believe that this is a fight that should and must be led by the media for full effect and agenda setting. These calls for greater vigilance and courage in giving effective voice to the contending issues and taking personal responsibility for factuality can’t be otherwise,” he said.
Governor Wike regretted that despite the monumental achievements of his administration, the opposition in the state had continued to undermine development, with tacit support from the Federal Government and a politically inclined police.
He said: “Therefore, when a supposed opposition goes beyond the bonds of decency in conjuring lies to rubbish and undermine every effort of ours to serve and advance the progress of the State, then the media owes society the duty to investigate and expose their mischievous intentions with the facts at their disposal.
“At any rate, those who live in glass houses, they say, should avoid throwing stones. As our representatives in the Federal Government, are they not responsible for attracting development projects to Rivers State?” he asked.
The governor outlined the achievements of his administration, despite inheriting a state allegedly destroyed by the immediate past administration of Rotimi Amaechi.
In her address, President of the Nigerian Guild of Editors, Mrs Funke Egbemode said that this year, the editors would focus on how to reinvent the journalism profession and make it profitable for practitioners and society.
Chairman of the Conference, Mallam Ismaila Funtua, in his own speech urged Editors to promote professionalism for the good of the country.
Publisher of Thisday, Mr Nduka Obiagbena, called on media managers to develop strong brands to overcome the challenge posed by the existence of the social media.
The All Nigeria Editors Conference has as its theme: “Balancing professionalism, advocacy and business”.
Hundreds of renowned editors from the 36 states of the Federation are in Port Harcourt for the Conference.