Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, Governor of Osun State on Wednesday, said that his administration will not be deterred in its resolve to take the state to an enviable height despite the myriad of sponsored media attacks on his person and government.
The Governor stated this while hosting journalists across the state to a get-together fast-breaking dinner, tagged “Iftar with Ogbeni” at the Banquet Hall of the Government House in Osogbo.
Aregbesola held that his government remains firm and steady to its commitment to make life more meaningful to the people even in the face of condemnations and attacks on the pages of a section of the media.
The Governor, while describing journalism as a noble profession, charged journalists and media practitioners to make professionalism their watchword adding that they should always be ready to verify veracities or otherwise of information at their disposal before going to the press.
Aregbesola added that with the remarkable decline rate of newspapers’ circulation and distribution strength in Nigeria, the only way newspaper organisation could stay afloat is their credibility.
He attributed the decline in the numbers of newspapers’ readers to lack of accuracy, facts and authenticity in the reportage of items in recent journalism, saying if proper gate-keeping, quality research and investigations were meticulously done, newspapers wouldn’t have lost its credibility in the society.
Aregbesola said, “Sunday Times in those days sold 500 thousand copies per edition in this country up until 1975 and Sunday Times was so popular that whoever was literate in Nigeria will want to read it either by borrowing it, buying it or going to the library.
“The circulation of all Nigeria newspaper today is less than 300 hundred thousand, so it should therefore interest us how a nation with increased population generally, have almost ten time of graduates that we had in 1975 now has the circulation figures we now have. It is therefore important for us to interrogate the decline in readership.
“If you ask me, closely watching the economy, the decline is as a result of credibility gap in our media publications. I want to appeal to our media people to support the course of disseminating reliable, accurate, informative and entertaining news”.
Aregbesola, who recounted several sponsored attacks and abuses in the media, calculated to pull down his government and discredit his person, said if truth had been meticulously given its rightful place over the years, some newspapers would not for any reason consistently malign his government unjustly.
He also admonished media practitioners to always champion truth, facts, balance and accuracy in whatever they do as the watchdog of the society, adding that there is the need for them to as a matter of necessity be conscious of whatever they present to the public.
According to him, “My joy tonight is that our state continues to survive inspite of the mischievous, desperate and malicious contents in some sections of the media against our government. Unfortunately, media in recent times have portrayed our government as one of the worst in the country whereas the reverse is the case.
“It has erroneously portrayed us as a famished state. About this time last year, it was as if heaven will fall. It was as if the entire world was collapsing in our state. What churches do normally became an opportunity to portray us as famine-stricken state. One person even went to the extent of donating his wardrobe allowance.
“Everything was made to look as if people are dying on the streets here. Recently, I still read in our papers that we are owing mountains of salaries, while the reverse is actually the case. I have decided to ignore such tantrums.
“Available records have shown that there is no iota of doubt in the fact that some media practitioners have demonstrated their hatred to us through their adamant disposition to falsehood, baseless and unfounded claims against our noble political voyage.
“I wonder why they found it difficult to display high sense of commitment to journalistic ethics and media professional code of conduct despite the conspicuous realities.
“The pertinent question is that whether or not the media assess itself, facts must always be disseminated and reported, and it is on the basis of this we have always advised the media experts to support the dissemination of reliable, accurate, objective, authentic, impersonal, dis-sensational and factual news”. Aregbesola told Journalists.
He reaffirmed his commitment towards the successful completion of all the initiated projects across the state, saying no stone would be left unturned to bring the needed succour and dividends of democracy to the citizenry.
He promised to continue on the template of good governance and pro-masses policies, saying “when the going gets tough, the tough gets going.”
He called on the people in the state to support the government by faithfully carrying out their civic responsibilities through regular and prompt payment of their taxes, saying unless government at all levels seek for other means to crude oil revenue, the future is bleak.
“No amount of propaganda and condemnation would dissuade us from attaining economic prosperity just as we are determined to complete all the ongoing projects before the end of our tenure here”.