Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, has called on the Nigerian media to wake up and defend Nigerians who are suffering untold hardship under the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led Federal Government.
Wike, who made the call Friday, when the management of the International Press Institute, paid him a courtesy visit at the Government House, Port Harcourt, regretted that the Nigerian Media has lost its voice since May 2015.
The governor said, “The Nigerian Press should wake up. The Nigerian Press presently speaks for the rich. It no longer speaks for the poor. The focus now is advertorial, instead of defending the people.
“The press in Nigeria has been gagged. The Press that was at forefront of ‘Jonathan Must Go’ can no longer speak up against bad governance, electoral manipulation, electoral fraud and total collapse of national security. What has happened to the conscience of the Nigerian Media?”
He stated that the same press that joined some prominent Nigerians to fight the partial removal of petroleum subsidy under former President Goodluck Jonathan, have maintained a deafening silence under President Muhammadu Buhari when the entire fuel subsidy was removed in controversial circumstances.
Wike said despite the controversies and inconsistencies that have trailed the alleged total removal of fuel subsidy, there are no calls for occupy Nigeria in the media.
The governor stated that the APC-led Federal Government is poised to use illegal means to manipulate the electoral process, hence the fight over election sequence in the amended Electoral Act.
He said in Rivers State, the Police High Command rewarded Mr Akin Fakorede, who was indicted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Committee on rerun election in the state, for massive electoral fraud.
Wike said, “It is good that the International Press Institute is coming to Nigeria to see the injustice and illegality that characterise the present administration.
“There is no image for Nigeria to launder. We need the world to know what is happening in the country. The World through the IPI will know the nature of the war against corruption where the Federal Government convicts opponents who are still before the courts.
“The world through the IPI will also know how if you don’t want to be a corrupt man, enter the ruling party. It is good for IPI to come to Nigeria to see the atrocities that the Federal Government is committing.”
The governor said press freedom can only be achieved in a democracy where the rule of law is respected.
Earlier, the leader of the International Press Institute Media and Publicity Committee, Dr Tonnie Iredia, stated that the committee was in the state to create awareness on the 2018 World Congress to be hosted in Nigeria.
Iredia said the event offers Nigeria the opportunity to launder her image as well as give international journalists the opportunity to appreciate development efforts in the country.
He stated that Rivers State is one if the functional states where where the people are enjoying the dividends of democracy. He said that there is the need for the media to highlight Rivers State for other states to emulate.