By Ibrahim Kegbegbe
Head of News and Current Affairs, Raypower Lagos, Abiola Aberuagba, has urged journalists; other Nigerian news media practitioners to be critical of governance and keep away from any political compromise in order to strengthen their respect and integrity in the country.
The renowned journalist, who was one of the judges at the 2023 students’ debate organized by the Students’ Representative Council of the Nigerian Institute of Journalism on Wednesday, gave the advice while addressing the students.
Aberuagba said the theme of the debate, “The Role of Media in the Political Dispensation”, is germaine and critical at this point in time that Nigerians are going to the polls, adding that the journalists should always update themselves in order to inform the public accurately so that citizens would always make informed decisions.
“The topic has been genuinely treated by the participants in the debate and I commend you all for the boldness you have portrayed but the basic thing is that the ethics of journalism must be kept all the time”.
“Most of the campaigns from the politicians are not issued-based but it is for us to ask questions. In security, what are you doing for us? What are your plan on education? These are what we should be asking to set the agenda for the public,” she said.
Another judge at the event, the Head of the News, Lagos State Television (LTV), Mr Omololu Rosanwo, said the participants had done well but they should be mindful of the usage of grammar.
“You have really done a great job today and what you have done has brought out the innate talent that you have. If you persist in the practice, it can further be developed to attain a greater height in life,” he said.
A politician and multifaceted entrepreneur, Mrs Yetunde Adedayo, said journalism is an important tool to integrate the country positively, emphasizing that it should be used fairly.
She moved further to say that she noticed some of the debaters were biased as she felt that they were logically supporting a political party instead of being neutral, adding that it reflected in their points, even an unwary listener could understand.
“Well, you have done a great job but you should always display emotional intelligence in your report to achieve accurate and balance information,” she said.
In order to balance up the report, our reporter later put a call to the gubernatorial candidate under the platform of the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP) in Ogun State, Olufemi Ajadi, who is also a student of NIJ, by asking his views on the theme.
In response to some of the asked questions, Ajadi said the media houses need to carry out their daily activities by making sure that all candidates are well interviewed on their agenda for the people of Nigeria.
He moved further to say that at this period of a political campaign, the media should keep the records of the politicians either good or poor performance for the future sake.
“The media houses should publish the electoral promises of all the candidates in order for them to be held accountable if they fail to fulfill their promises,” he said.
Six of the twelve debaters spoke in support of the topic and the other six spoke against it.
After the first; second and third rounds, Oluwaseun Muhammed came first and was given Lenovo laptop. Oluwatobi Olawale who came second was given Samsung Galaxy Tab while Benita Mabawonku got a Samsung Galaxy phone as a prize for the third position.