Akwa Ibom Secretary to the State Government, Emmanuel Ekuwem has admitted that the mediocre, corrupt and perverse persons in the society are usually uncomfortable with the journalists for fear of exposing and publishing their evil deeds.
Ekuwem, a Ph.d holder spoke at the celebration of 2021 World Press Freedom held at NUJ Press Centre, Uyo on Monday, noted “There is no hiding place for the mediocres. There is no more hiding place for the perverse. No hiding place for the corrupt.
“Who has exposed the corrupt, the mediocre, the perverse, the tyrannical? You (Journalists). So, you are a public good. Journalists are partners in progress. Journalism is indeed a noble profession-very noble profession. Information is indeed a public good because it contributes to the progress of a society. So, don’t allow quacks to ridicule your profession.’’
“Only mediocres resent the pen (journalists).Only corrupt and perverse persons are uncomfortable with the pen. Dictators don’t like you (journalists). The corrupt, myopic individuals, ethnic jingoists would not like you.
”Congenital mediocres would not tolerate you. You know why? Because the pen amplifies the mediocrity in what they’re trying to do by bringing it to the fore,” the Information and Communication Technology guru pointed out.
In a goodwill message to journalists at the event with the theme Information as a Public Good, Ekuwem said, “A society is as progressive as the quality of the press. So, maintain the dignity of the profession, maintain the intellectual department of the profession, maintain the prowess of having to cross-checks facts and once you do that and put the truth into the public domain, it keeps leaders on their toes to do the right things at the right time for the overall progress and growth of a society.’’
According to him, just as leaders who are committed to the socio-economic growth and development, journalists are partner in progress, stressing the need for all hands to be on deck to rid journalism of quackery.
The former President of Nigeria Internet Group charged journalists not to allow quacks and mediocres to ridicule journalism profession.
He described the situation as a threat to journalism profession, advising that the profession should be entrusted in the hands of well-trained, well-schooled, exposed and disciplined professionals, decrying the increasing number of quacks in the Nigerian media industry.
Dr. Ekuwem noted that people parading themselves as journalists are responsible for the misinformation and dissemination of non researchable news, a trend that he said has brought distrust to the media industry.
The former National President of the Association of Telecommunication Companies of Nigeria, however, argued that it was not enough to use social media platforms to put things in public domain.
“In your profession today, everybody is now a journalist. That is what I’m observing. You sit in front of your keypad and start punching. Do you have the requisite professional discipline of a journalist! A lot has to be done to regulate journalism profession and instill discipline and standard.
“Don’t allow quacks and mediocres to ridicule the profession because they (quacks) do not do sufficient research before they start pressing their Smart phones and put things in public domain. And they can set the state and nation at fire. So, you can see how powerful you’re.
“I want us to note this as we celebrate the World Press Freedom Day, they say that the pen is mightier than the sword. That is an ancient adage and it is very often touted. The pen today is not just a physical pen, just as a sword today is not a physical sword.
”The sword has metamorphosed or progressed from what it used to be as sword to machine guns and all kinds of arms and ammunitions-atomic bombs inclusive. So, the pen too has moved from the physical pen to what it is today. Even phone is pen too. You know why? Because you used pen to write.
”Today, you use your keypad and you punch. So, it is a pen. And the question is why is pen mightier than the sword? The pen is mightier than the sword in the sense that when you process data (information) and disseminate it, you can elicit emotion, patience, peace, progress, harmony and you can also elicit distrust.
”So, it means that the pen which is the symbol of journalism profession can tumble any form of tyranny. It can breach security and at the same time too, it can uphold the society.
‘’It means that there is one word you needed in your profession- discipline, cross checking of facts, asking more questions, elaborate your facts before you put the pen on paper or before you touch the keypad of your Smartphone.
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Akwa Ibom Council has joined in condemning the gruesome murder of a young woman who went in search of job in Uyo.
Miss Iniubong Umoren, a Philosophy graduate of the University of Uyo, was alleged to have been murdered last week by one Uduak Frank Akpan, who invited her for a job interview, but ended up kidnapping, raping, murdering and burying her remains in a shallow grave.
Reacting to the murder, NLC Akwa Ibom Chairperson Sunny James, speaking at the World Press Freedom Day celebrations at the NUJ Press Centre, Akwa Ibom on Monday, said the crime should not be swept under the carpet.
‘‘We as workers should not take the murder of the lady very lightly. She was responding to a published job vacancy because there are no jobs. The completion agenda of the state government should focus more on creating more jobs for the citizens by building more industries that would provide jobs,’ the union leader said.
”Workers are retiring every day. Last month, many retired in the health sector and the remaining workers have been seriously overworked. Those vacancies should immediately be filled to relieve the workers. Government should create more jobs for citizens.’
The state Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Ini Ememobong, who spoke thereafter, said there was no need to blame the government for the murder of the lady who went on job hunting while waiting for her NYSC call-up.
”Government is interested in the murder of the lady and His Excellency, the Governor, has asked the police to do all in their capacity to ensure that justice is done in the case once the courts resume.
”No government has the capacity to employ even 30 per cent of its citizens. So, we shouldn’t come to public events like this to make such a declaration.
”We shouldn’t condemn her effort to look for a job instead of staying at home and using what she has to get what she wants. We should not also blame the government for not providing jobs for everybody, No government does that, even in the developed world. Rather, we should blame the criminal act and condemn it in its entirety.
”His Excellency, the Governor, is really challenged by her death and has directed the Secretary to the State Government to lead a delegation to console her family, the commissioner said.