The leadership of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Akwa Ibom State Council has been enjoined to go back to the journalistic drawing board and see how to get rid of the bad eggs in the profession.
The Akwa Ibom deputy governor, Mr Moses Ekpo who gave the charge Friday, during the courtesy visit on him by the State Working Committee (SWC) of the NUJ led by the chairman, Elder Patrick Albert, said this was necessary if the union must attract the goodwill and support from government.
Ekpo noted that the weak point of journalism practice in the state in recent times has been so enveloped in falsehood by media houses, urging the union to purge themselves of the bad eggs and then make journalism what all members can be proud of, at any point in time.
The deputy governor stressed the need for the union to purge themselves as organization to be able attract a group of people including government in whatever programme they do, or intends to do, advising them to go back and look at themselves closely and see if they can mend their ways.
Ekpo who noted that the bad eggs who are more than the good ones in the profession are always driven by passion to tell lies, added that if the media relish in half truth and blatant lies, nobody will take them serious.
He made known that the only way to help government to assist them in their job is to publish the truth and also establish their credibility, adding that once this is done, they will attract government gestures, as no government can render assistance to a group of people who continuously see nothing good in her.
Ekpo himself a journalist, frowned at bad reportage by the media on the governor on several occasions and the reactions of the governor on such publications, stressing that government and journalists were expected to watch what each other was doing and also complement whatever that is done, enjoining them to look at themselves again, watch their footsteps, if possible, redress and if not, swallow the shame and cease to leave legacies for other generations to follow.
The deputy governor recalled his years of practice as a journalist in Lagos alongside others in a very tight condition, his experiences in the Nigerian Chronicle and the legacies they all left behind, observing that these days, journalists have thrown overboard the dictum that fax their facts, saying, as practitioners, it does not benefit them no matter what side they belong.
Ekpo said irrespective of the bad publications, government has decided not to ban such newspapers but allow them to ban themselves, knowing that one day, the reading public will realize that they were telling them untruth stories and would cease to patronize them, advising them to publish the truth and be damn and jail the way he and others did in their time.
He commended the leadership of the union for its milestones as regards development and for the lofty ideas aimed at repositioning the union and its members, stressing that while developing a union that will enhance progress, it should also look at the characters of the people whom this development is meant for.
Ekpo appreciated them for their visit, hoping that the contact will be endearing and continuing.
Earlier, Albert had observed that Ekpo stands tall in the business of journalism, recalling his professional dint at the Nigerian Chronicle Newspapers in Calabar, his days as chief information officer, press secretary to the governor, commissioner for information in the old Cross River State and the pioneer commissioner in the same ministry in the nascent Akwa Ibom State, saying, “today, in Akwa Ibom State, there is hardly a journalist who cannot be traced to you directly or indirectly, through employment, recommendation, mentorship or training.”
Describing the deputy governor as the media’s living legend, Albert recalled vividly the enormous editorial impact made by Ekpo, and the wealth of experience brought in by him with the state creation to lay the foundation for a virile information management in all ramifications which he noted eventually catapulted him to higher heights in the service of the nation, where he equally made indelible marks.
The NUJ chairman recalled that it was a great joy for the union in the state when he was appointed the deputy governor which according to him gave members the first ascension to the office of the deputy governor of the state.
Albert congratulated the duo of Governor Udom Emmanuel and Ekpo on their victory at the Supreme Court, stating that the historic affirmation by the apex court, has brought to an end furore concerning the outcome of the April 11 2015 governorship polls, expressing belief that it is a victory for justice, oneness, progress and sustenance of the massive development already initiated by Emmanuel with the active support and contributions of Ekpo.
He hinted the deputy governor of the scheduled formal reception by the union for Ekpo as their doyen and the first journalist to occupy the office, the process initiated by his leadership to upgrade the Press Centre through supports of government officials, the various projects put up by his leadership and their level of progress, future plans for the union and challenges, soliciting the personal signature of the deputy governor on any of the edifice.
Albert who mentioned the challenge of the union as paucity of funds to carry out training and re-training of members to keep them on the path of ethical compliance and sound reportage, requested that the union be considered for a modest monthly administration support for general administration, annual training fund to capture at least four workshops in each quarter of the year in and outside the state and country, noting that while the media cannot be wished away, there is need to initiate measures to make it as desirables as expected to inform, entertain and enlighten positively.
He also reiterated the appeal for the payment of the 22.5 per cent weigh-in allowance for media workers in the employ of government and the consideration of appointment of media professionals as permanent secretaries.
Albert acknowledged the immense development efforts of the present administration since its inauguration, ranging from roads and others, saying, the road projects when added with other investment initiatives and the various people-oriented programmes clearly demonstrate the commitment of the Udom’s administration to offer Akwa Ibom people meaningful and beneficial leadership.
He condemned the spate of media mudslinging in the state, recalling that the union had severally condemned the issue and practices of false reportage at different for a and was interested in organizing a round-table to end this macabre dance on radio, television and newspapers. Albert noted that the visit was to rekindle the professional bond; share their feeling of happiness, friendliness and cooperation.