Media practitioners in Nigeria have been enjoined to refrain from news that could bring down individuals, organisations, institutions, government, and the country based on falsehood and blackmail.
The Senior Pastor, Christ Apostolic Church (CAC), Eagle’s Wings Assembly, Wakajaye Road, Iyana Church, Ibadan, Pastor Joseph Akinade, gave the urge in the sermon, entitled: ‘Role of Journalists in Nation Building’, which he delivered during the church service held in the church on Sunday to kick off the 2023 Press Week of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Oyo State Council.
Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State is expected to officially declare the NUJ Press Week open on Monday October 16, 2023.
Akinade urged journalists to be constructive and not destructive in their news reportage. He emphasised the importance of standing on the truth and not causing mayhem in the society with their reports.
He advised journalists to be fair to all parties in a story and ensure that they balance their news by getting all necessary angles. He warned against the fabrication of stories for financial gain and assassinating the character of colleagues for personal gains, saying that journalists who indulge in such practices risk the repercussion in the future.
“I want to enjoin all journalists in Nigeria, especially those that have been cheating their colleagues, that they must stop this practice because of their future and that of their children. Again, don’t assassinate the character of your colleagues because you want to attain a particular position or because of money. If you do, you may have your way. But the repercussion will be waiting for you. I want you to always remember that no sinner will go unpunished,” said Pastor Akinade.
Wife of the Senior Pastor, Evangelist Bukola Akinade, a leading gospel music artiste in Nigeria, popularly known as ‘Senwele Jesu’, also lead the journalists in a session of praise and worship, which made all the journalists to dance before the altar in appreciation of God’s goodness to them.
The Chairman of NUJ in the state, Chief Ademola Babalola, led eminent journalists in the state to the church service. Also in attendance were the National Trustee of NUJ, Bayo Akamo; Vice Chairman of NUJ in the state, Seye Ojo; Secretary, Sola Oladapo; Treasurer, Akeem Abas, who is the chairman of the press week, and Financial Secretary, Abiodun Atilola.
Notable journalists in attendance included former Vice President, ‘B’ Zone of the union, Cosmas Oni; former Senior Assistant National Secretary of the union, Gbemiga Bamidele; former Chairman of NUJ in the state, Gbemiga Ayoade; as well as Assistant National Secretary of Nigeria Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ), Yinka Bode-Are; and Chairperson of NAWOJ in the state, Jadesola Ajibola, among others.
The NUJ Press Week is an annual event that seeks to create a platform for journalists to deliberate on emerging issues affecting the media, the industry, the economy and the polity. The 2023 Press Week is themed: ‘Nigerian Economy: Reimagining Education System for the Fifth Industrial Revolution.’
According to Chief Ademola Babalola, the NUJ Press Week is an opportunity for journalists to learn from experts in various fields, as well as network and share experiences with fellow journalists across Nigeria.
“The NUJ Press Week is an important event in the calendar of journalists in Nigeria. It provides a platform for us to come together, learn from experts in various fields, network and share experiences. As journalists, we have a critical role to play in shaping the society. Our duty goes beyond informing, educating and entertaining. We must hold those in power accountable, expose corruption, and ensure that the society is better for all.”
The church service was concluded with cutting of anniversary week as well as a reception and entertainment of guests at the NUJ Press Centre, Iyaganku Ibadan which was sponsored by the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Seyi Makinde, Sulaimon Olanrewaju. The Commissioner for Information and Orientation in the state, Prince Dotun Oyelade, also joined the NUJ to kick-start the Press Week, ahead of the official opening on Monday October 16, 2023.