Ibikunle Amosun, Ogun state governor, has accused a section of Nigerian politicians of causing disunity in the country for selfish reasons.
Amosun advised the media in the country to focus more on things that unite the populace as the nation inches closer to the 2019 elections.
According to a report by Premium Times, the state governor gave the advice Friday at the opening of a media workshop for State House Press Corps with the theme: “The Role of The Media in Peace Building: 2019 in Perspective”, in Abeokuta, Ogun State.
“When you look at us as a nation, I hope I will not be roasted for saying this, it is we the elite or politicians that are more often than not for selfish reasons that try and bring those things that will divide us.
“ An average Nigerian either from the north, south, east or west are their brother’s keeper really. But when people want to be mischievous, they now bring dichotomy, ethnicity, religion and all of those,” he said.
Mr. Amosun said every nation faces its own challenges, saying inflammatory remarks hamper development.
“There is no nation without its challenges, it is the way we manage our challenges really. When we have issues we should not come out and say what will inflame the country or through write-ups and comments. I think we should talk more about those things that unite us,” he said.
He, however, said the media should not miss the opportunity, to tell the truth to power.
“For me, when you say it the way it is even though sometimes we may not like it, but we can look at it and see how we can do it better. I believe if we all do that, Nigeria will be better for it,” he said.
Amosun said politicians often use “dichotomy, religion and ethnicity” when it suits them. He urged the media to ignore such people.
The governor who welcomed the State House correspondents to Ogun state which he described as the root of journalism in Nigeria, said his administration was building on the foundation laid by previous administrations.
“You are the people who see entire Nigeria. These are trying times really, these are challenging times and it is good to see people who are still doing their jobs professionally.
“I want to challenge you to do more. I like the theme of your workspace. But after deliberations, share the outcomes with others so that we can learn. Share your thoughts with us, use your platforms to tell us the truth,” he said.
Mr. Amosun also advised journalists to “write what you see because, for me, criticism is part of what a leader needs once it is in good faith”.
“I am not saying don’t write about it, write it but it must be measured. It is like getting to an accident scene and you see pictures of people dying; even for the families of those affected, it will not be good. Yes, we can still report but we can still manage to get the message across without necessarily fanning the ember of things that will split us.
“I have always argued that there is no way the part will be bigger than the whole if the whole is well put together and that is where our strength lies as a nation really.
“Our diversity and population is our strength, this should strengthen not weaken us.
“Tell us the things we are doing that are not right and project the ones we are doing right as well. It will help us not shirk our responsibilities, and our people will be the beneficiaries.”
The governor commended the media for the support given to the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari so far.
Amosun said the population of Ogun state is 7.2 million but increases to about 10 million during religious activities in the state.
“We are 7.2 million but the population increases to about 10 million during religious activities in the state. We see challenges as an avenue for opportunities, that is why we are leveraging on our proximity to Lagos.
“As a matter of fact, we are the religious capital of Nigeria because when they are having Shiloh by Winners Chapel, Holy Ghost Congress by The Redeemed Christians Church, Power Must Change Hands by Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries (MFM), Deeper Life, Foursquare Church, NAFSAT, we benefit from prayers as well as from the necessary payments they are making to the state.”