By Emmanuel Uzodinma
Entrepreneur and owner of the Dome Entertainment Limited, Dr. Obiora Okwonkwo has stated that Nigerians now looked up to the media having lost faith in the country’s legal system.
Okwonkwo spoke in Enugu, weekend, during a Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) colloquium on the media and national integration.
He said people preferred their matters discussed in the media than in law courts because they have confidence in their issues being resolved in the court of public opinion.
Okonkwo charged President Muhammadu Buhari and the newly inaugurated 9th National Assembly should as a matter of urgency restore national integration in order to realise the full potentials of its large citizenry.
He noted that in the light of Nigeria’s enormous challenge with national integration, “efforts must start with the recognition that despite the country’s many differences, Nigerians have no other country they can call theirs and must, therefore, do everything they can to live together.
“It, therefore, behoves on the media to strive to promote those things that unite the nation while constructively addressing the more divisive issues.”
He said that in performing other roles, the media must at all times live up to its watchdog role of holding the government’s feet to the fire, stressing that the moment the media fails in such core responsibility, it loses its relevance especially with the citizens and then becomes a lapdog.
“You may not be aware of this, but most Nigerians in their despondency, still look up to the media as the only group that can help save them from Nigeria’s political leadership.
“This is a trust you must never take for granted. Today, we have very powerful online radio personalities whose intervention with powerful government officials have become the last hope of the common man.
“They have lost hope in our legal system and look up to the likes of Ordinary Ahmed of Human Rights Radio Abuja for help,” Okonkwo said.
He urged the media to be encouraged in the task of promoting national integration, insisting that Nigeria’s situation was not unique as many countries remained work in progress.
“We cannot abandon the task of building ours even in the face of daunting challenges. That is the task for the mass media and all of us. It was a group of brave young journalists who defied all odds and used their pen to defeat the British colonial empire.
“Today’s journalists can again lead the charge for a strong, united and prosperous Nigeria. It may sound impossible, but as the master of political miracles, the great Nelson Mandela once said, it always seems impossible until it is done,” Okonkwo charged.
Why Nigerians look up to media – Obiora Okonkwo