Oyo State Governor Abiola Ajimobi and the Action Congress of Nigeria National Leader, Chief Bola Tinubu, have urged Nigerian journalists to be fearless in reporting issues affecting the nation.
They said this at the public presentation of two books , 1939 – An Autobiography of Kola Muslim Animasaun, The Voice of Reason… The Obasanjo Years Vol 2, written by veteran journalist, Chief Kola Animasaun, at the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs, Lagos on Thursday.
According to Ajimobi, the writer is an epitome of good and decent journalism whose works speak volume of his fearlessness, who should be emulated by the younger generation.
He said if a president, governor or minister is rumoured to have stolen money, journalists must ask him questions on that instead of getting carried away by his appearance.
He said, “Journalists must be fearless and professional in whatever they do. They must do investigative journalism, not sensational journalism. And I believe that journalists in Nigeria today have a major role to play in shaping the polity.
“If you look at America, the journalists there play majors role in exposing fraud and promoting good governance and I think we should do the same in Nigeria.
For instance, someone has stolen money and he is the governor or president or minister, the first question the journalist will ask him is ‘Your Excellency, you are looking very well today, your Excellency, this is a nice dress’. That is not what should happen, we should say, ‘Your Excellency, they said you have stolen this, we have gone this far, we have done our own work and we are exposing you’. They should be fearless.”
Tinubu, who was the chairman of the occasion, described Animasaun as “a consummate wordsmith and a fount of true wisdom”.
He said, “Nigeria is at present in the grip of power marauders and half patriots who enjoy all manner of finery while millions of our people drown in poverty and lack. The trajectory of our history is laced with how the media forged an alliance with the progressive elements of the political class to fight reactionary elite and their anti-people policies.
“We are at such a historical juncture. The battleground has shifted from military to civilian government but the essence of the fight remains the same; elite favour versus public fairness. In celebrating this venerable journalist, we also register a call on all media professional to place country above self as they report the epochal developments unfolding in our country.”