Monarch admonishes need for better welfare for Journalists in Nigeria

Yusuf Bakare

A traditional ruler in Kwara State has admonished Nigerians to appreciate the work of Journalists and do all they can to encourage the practice of Journalism.

His Royal Majesty, HRM, Oba Mufutau Oloyede Gbadsmosi , the Oloffa of Offa in Offa Kwara State made this call to Nigerians and stakeholders in the media Industry to over the unattractive welfare of practicing Journalists in Nigerian adding that their working conditions and remuneration given the enornimity of work and risks associated with the job.

Oba Gbadamosi, who made the call while speaking during the Press Week of the state correspondent Chapel, at the NUJ Center, Ilorin expressed that journalists are not beggars and must not be seen so.

The traditional ruler who was ably represented by Chief Mrs Wosilat McCarthy, the Bobaselu of Offa, at the event which also had as guests and speakers, Yusuf Alli, SAN, a legal practitional of national and international repute, Harriett Oshatimehin, Commissioner for Information and representative of the the state governor, Abdulrahaman Abdulrazak, leading party chairmen in the state, Hon. Bashir Omolaja Bolarinwa, BOB, and Eng. Kola Shittu, state chairmen, All Progressives Congress, APC, and Peoples’ Democratic Party, PDP, respectively.

Speaking on the plight of Journalists in the country, the monarch through his representative drew attention to the rampant unacceptable non-payment of salaries to journalists by some employers and that where they are paid, pay is discouraging compared to their workloads and hazzards of the job.

“Journalists are not beggars, the nature of the work requires all hands to be on deck to assist them perform their chosen vocation.

“I am aware that many media houses no longer pay salaries to their staff, but these gentlemen stay glued to their work with passion, not minding the risk, insult and humiliation from people who know little or nothing about the nature of journalism work.

” I would not want to take much of your time talking about the importance of Journalism work but the fact that this is the only profession recognized in the constitution next to the three tiers of power as the fourth estate of the realm tells the entire story.

“If journalists blank out the nation in just one day, I cannot imagine how dreadful it could be. On my own, I don’t underrate journalists, I see them as partners in the art of governance and nation building.

Ajagungbade  further drew  attention to dangers of fake news pavading the social media stressing that Journalists still remain as the true mirror of the society and a window through which offshore observers see the country from a credible perspective.

“This is because despite the hyperbole that exist in our society today about what is and what is not fake news today, journalism plays a significant role forming our identity as a people and as nation,” the monarch said.

Earlier, while delivering his keynote address, Yusuf Olaolu ALI,SAN described the funding of political parties by government.

In his lecture titled, “Effectiveness of Party Supremacy in Strengthening Democratic Principles and Promoting National Development”, the legal luminary frowned at private ownership of political parties.

The senior advocate, who said that the democratic ethos started to wane when the regime of Ibrahim Babangida funded two political parties, namely, SDP and NRC, with programmes and manifestoes written by the military authority.

He thus said that the federal government should discontinue the arrangements to encourage good governance.

“Political parties should not have owners. They should be mass organizations that give high and low, the rich and the poor the same opportunities. Ownership of political parties by individuals is directly antithetical to the democratic principle. If a political party will be all inclusive, it is important that it should be owned by a wide range of individuals drawn from all segments of the society”, he said.

Mallam Ali said there is lack of internal democracy in the nation’s political parties, adding that the situation has created serious intraparty conflict which he said could likely threaten regime stability and good governance.

“This has played out several times in the Nigerian politics, as soon as the disputes arise within the party, the effect is usually felt in the quality of governance”, he said.

Yusuf Ali, who described the present proliferation of political parties in the country as a mockery of democracy which should be eradicated.

“As much as politics should be all inclusive, that does not mean every family should set up a political party. At present, Nigeria has well over 50 registered political parties. Some of these parties often have nothing on the ground in terms of membership, influence or geographical spread, and may not even have more than a couple of offices in a few cities. As a matter of fact, proliferation of parties is usually used as a ploy by politicians to plunge electorate into confusion as well, pose administrative hurdles for the electoral umpire during national elections. To make matters worse, they do not get a single vote during elections. INEC should have the to deregister political parties that do not garner a certain percentage of votes cast in a general election, may be five per cent”, he said.

Responding to issues raised by the keynote lecturer Alhaji Bashir Omolaja Bolarinwa, BOB, the APC chairman, drew participants attention to the state of party politics in the country dwelling on the near absence of internal democracy and party supremacy in political parties.

The APC chieftain said that the party is a collective effort and doesn’t rest squarely on just politicians in the party.

“What we are as individuals contribute immensely to what we bring into the party,” the chairman said.

Also responding, Eng. Shittu, the PDP Chairman, said that there is need for parties to allow more intellectuals into their ranks.  “The problems bedeviling the country requires special kind of thinkers. We need more intellect based political solutions to our problems,” the PDP state party chairman said.

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