Rotimi Amaechi, minister of transportation and a presidential hopeful on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC), says Nigerians must hold politicians accountable for their actions in governance.
He spoke on Tuesday at the 2022 World Press Freedom Day organised by the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom capital.
Amaechi, who was the special guest of honour at the event, advised Nigerians to take active part in politics.
“Until we begin to hold every politician, every elite accountable, this country won’t move forward,” he said.
“The problem of the country is not the poor man in Akwa Ibom or Rivers; it is not the poor man in the south-east or in the north. It is you and I, the elite.
“Why you hear restructuring and restructuring every time is because the elites’ consensus on sharing (the resources) is disappearing; it’s because there is nothing to share again because we are broke.
“The problem facing this country is caused by the elite, including you.”
He also urged media practitioners to support efforts to find resolutions to the nation’s problems through objective, balanced and fair reportage, adding that “freedom comes with responsibility”.
On his part, Jones Ayuwo, a lecturer at the University of Port Harcourt, said without press freedom, democracy cannot work.
Ayuwo, who spoke on the topic: ‘Journalism Under Digital Siege’, described the relationship between the media and the government as cat-and-mouse.
“We must stand against any attempt by government to regulate the internet because if it is regulated, we also are regulated,” he said.
“If we are regulated, the freedom of the press is regulated. If press freedom is regulated, then our democracy is in imminent danger.
“Therefore, I urge us to stand against every attempt from all corners to hamper free press, as we celebrate this year’s World Press Freedom Day.
“However, it is also important to reawaken you all to your social responsibility, as you go about your enviable duty of news gathering and reportage. This way, we will be able to curb the digital siege on the press.”