By Adamu Muhd Usman
Last month, executive officers and members of the Nigeria Guild of Editors (NGE) met in Jigawa for two days during which the state governor, Sule Lamido, addressed them on important national issues. He reminded the editors of the need to promote unity in Nigeria instead of wasting ample time and space on issues of ethnicity and tribalism. He said that having been in politics for several decades, he knew the influence of the mass media in shaping opinions in the society. Such power and influence, he said, should be deployed in promoting Nigeria’s unity and progress.
Governor Lamido further told the editors that no society could truly develop or progress without good and unbiased journalism which informs and educates the citizens on important national issues. He warned that if journalists fail to deliver on this critical role, the problems already bedevelling the country would be worsened and democratic order truncated.
“Use your pen fairly at all times. Those of us who are from the South should inform their readers correctly about the realities of northern Nigeria, while those of us from the North should also inform readers accurately about the realities of the South. That way, all Nigerians will be well informed and unnecessary acrimony due to language and small cultural differences will be averted,” the governor said.
Speaking on the 2015 general elections, the governor urged political parties to shun sentiments as they prepare to elect their flag-bearers during the elections. He said an aspirant does not need to be popular among his party’s leaders before he or she is allowed to be nominated, adding that what is important is the aspirant’s popularity among party members and his or her capacity to deliver. He also said the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had, over the years, achieved its objectives by delivering dividends of democracy to Nigerians and called on Nigerians to support its transformation agenda and vote for its candidates in the 2015 elections. “It is either the PDP or PDP; there is no alternative to our party. It is the only party that is owned by Nigerians,” he said.
Before the meeting with the governor, the editors had undertaken a tour of the state to see some of the achievements of the Lamido administration in the last seven years. Among places they visited were the Jigawa State University at Kafin Hausa, the airport, NYSC Camp, Sir Ahmadu Bello Hall and the Sawaba Monument at Aminu Kano Triangle in Dutse. Also visited were the state secretariat that houses all the ministries, the High Court and State Assembly complex, Radio House, School for the Gifted at Bamaina, School of Nursing and Midwifery at Birnin Kudu, as well as the very beautiful G9 guest houses.
The G9 guest houses are named after the nine pioneer democrats that first moved against the Abacha military dictatorship in 1998. This group later expanded to the G18 and later the G34, which subsequently formed the nucleus of the PDP in 1998. Each of the guest houses is named after one of the members. These are Adamu Ciroma, Solomon Lar, Abubakar Rimi, Alex Ekwueme, Iyorchia Ayu, Bola Ige, Sule Lamido, Jerry Gana and Senator Francis Ellah.
The editors were quite impressed by what they saw and heard in Jigawa. Several of them expressed surprise that so much was going on in the state and they did not seem to know. They said they were amazed that so many functional schools, hospitals, good roads, streetlights and potable water were provided all over the state, as well as youth and women empowerment programmes. They attributed the achievements to Governor Lamido’s wise and prudent management of resources. On the whole, the editors had a good time in Jigawa where they acknowledged good leadership.
Adamu Muhd Usman is the special adviser on media to Governor Sule Lamido.