Former minister of sports and youth development, Malam Bolaji Abdullahi, has described the extreme monetisation of political process as witnessed in the recent political parties’ primaries as the biggest threat to the nation’s democracy.
This is just as Prince Lateef Fagbemi (SAN) urged journalists to eschew religious and ethnic sentiments in their reportage ahead of the 2023 general election.
Abdullahi and Fagbemi spoke at a lecture, titled: “Re-engaging the Media for Credible Democracy”, organised as part of activities marking the 2022 press week of the Correspondents’ Chapel of the Kwara State chapter of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) in Ilorin, yesterday.
While Abdullahi lamented that politicians had nearly turned Nigeria’s political process to a business transaction, Fagbemi who was represented by Prof Wahab Egbewole (SAN), noted that ownership structure was hindering journalists’ efforts at reporting events as it is.
The former minister, a former editor and currently Kwara central senatorial candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said the monetisation of the electoral process is denying the electorate the opportunity to elect the candidates of their choice.
Abdullahi noted that this in turn denies the nation the emergence of credible leaders and good governance and consequently, further makes the citizens poorer.
“When politicians pay people to vote for them, the act has taken away the capability of the people to decide who governs them. And I think it is the same as soldiers using guns to be in power and politicians using dollars to be in power,” Abdullahi added.
“Journalists should be able to play constitutional roles as enshrined in the nation’s constitution. That is, media practitioners should be able to hold the government accountable for adequate provision of education, job opportunity, security, corrupt practices and abuse of power,” Abdullahi posited.
On his part, Fagbemi called for the restructuring of journalism practice ahead of the 2023 elections, adding that: “Journalists are regarded as watchdogs, hence their role in the electioneering process can’t be underestimated. We need to call attention to what journalists should be doing to set an agenda for 2023.
”There is a need for restructuring journalism practice in Nigeria because you must report what is seen and not what the news media owners want to be reported.