By Michael Nnebife
Critical stakeholders in Anambra State have charged media practitioners in the state to deploy investigative journalism to hold the government accountable for sustainable development.
The stakeholders gave the charge during the 2023 Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, Anambra State Council Conference held at Godwin Ezeemo International Press Centre, Awka, on Tuesday, 14th November, 2023.
They included Dr Emma Ude Ekpeh; Traditional Ruler of Orumba-Nasa, Igwe Pius Ojonile Omachonu, Dr Helen Obi of the Faculty of Law, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, among others.
Dr Ekpeh, who was a keynote speaker at the conference, said media as a fourth estate of the realm, must fully deploy its investigative prowess as a tool to ensure that people entrusted with responsibility of delivering a common good, do so without counting losses in return.
Recalling the challenges facing journalism practice in Nigeria, Ekpeh advised journalists to take precautions and learn to work together in order to minimize the challenges and protect the well-being of investigative reporters.
On his part, Igwe Omachonu, a discussant, noted that the level of corruption had been a worrisome issue in Nigeria.
He expressed dismay that institutions and agencies set up by the federal government in different periods to fight the menace had woefully failed.
‘I want our journalists to find out why despite the huge resources spent on these institutions that are very important, our nation is getting worse,’ he urged.
Another discussant, Dr Obi, was of the view that journalists were known to be a barrier broker. She, therefore, appealed to them to employ investigative skills to fight against the plight of women in Nigeria.
In his part, the Head, Department of Mass Communication, Paul University, Awka, Dr Ngala, commended Anambra Journalists for organizing the conference, which he described as an educative forum, adding that journalism propelled and gave culture to democracy.
The event themed: “Investigative journalism, accountability and stewardship for sustainable development”, was attended by top government functionaries, whom included the state commissioners for Housing as well as Budget and Economic Planning, Pauly Onyeka and Chiamaka Nnake respectively; their environment counterpart, Felix Odimegwu; the Managing Director, Anambra State Housing Development Corporation, Chike Anyaonu; the Chairman, Board of Trustees, Anambra State Security Trust Fund, Chidi Anyaegbu represented by the Executive Eecretary of the Fund, Daniel Oforneme, among others.
In their separate speeches, the government functionaries took turns to brief the journalists on the achievements Soludo’s administration had recorded so far in their various ministries and parastatals.
In an interview with the press, the Chairman, NUJ, Anambra State Council, Dr Emeka Odogwu, appealed to the government to partner with the media for better society.
He expressed confidence that if media would be given the necessary support as the fourth estate of the realm by the government, society would be better for living.
Earlier in a welcome address, the Chairperson of the organizing committee, Ukpa Ewa Eke, emphasized the crucial role media played in promoting accountability in both private and public sectors.