The Akwa State Commissioner for Information, Mr. Aniekan Umanah, has urged media practitioners in the state to be more constructive in their reportage.
He stated this while delivering his goodwill message in a dinner/interactive night with journalists in the State organised by the Special Assistant to Governor Udom Emmanuel on Local Media, Mr. Uko Umoh, at the Judiciary Hall, Uyo on Wednesday.
In his words, the Information Commissioner said: “Constructive criticism is the way to go because we must build this society. We must not allow breaking news to break the society because when it does, we will have no society to live in. We must hold our society; we must support government and also bring up constructive criticism.
“Government is not against criticism, but let it be constructive, something that will bring development. If you see something being done and you think it’s not being done right, why don’t you say oh you think it’s should be done this way?
“There is no leader that is not ready to take correction, constructive suggestions and criticism, not the kind of headlines we see. Let’s get out of lies. It is time to change; a time to support what is good.”
The event, which was well attended by government functionaries including the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Barr. Uwemedimoh Nwoko; Honourable Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Akan Okon; Honourable Commissioner for Information and Communications, Mr. Aniekan Umanah, and the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor to mention but a few, witnessed the Mr. Uko Umoh donating work tools such as laptop computers and printers to various chapels of the journalism in the state.
The Special Assistant to the Governor on Local Media, Mr. Uko Umoh, in his welcome address, stated that Akwa Ibom is blessed with a Governor for the season. “When the Governor said, during one of his interviews, that he would not have come at a better time as governor than now, many wondered what he meant. What he meant was that this a period of lean resources owing to depleting oil revenue.
“Governor Udom has so far proven that he is not only a dynamic funds manager; he is also a financial whiz-kid. He has demonstrated that eloquently these past eleven months. An instance is exemplified in the fact that Akwa Ibom remains one of the states that rejected the bailout and yet, still honouring salary obligations and even gratuities and pensions.
“When you work under a governor who has such level of commitment, complemented with capacity and dynamism, you are impelled to see how to remove impediments from his course. An adversarial media could be a distraction and an obstacle to focused governance.
“Our attempt in this novel idea of interactive night, which has received the blessing and encouragement of His Excellency, Mr. Udom Emmanuel, is to create a platform for robust and cordial interaction between government functionaries and the media. It is our belief that such platform would provide opportunity for knotty issues to be clarified and speculative reports laid to rest. Nothing can be more dangerous than false reportage.”
Commending Mr. Uko Umoh for putting the event together, the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr. Ekerete Udoh, noted that the event showed that the government of Mr. Udom Emmanuel appreciates and wants to continue to partner with the media.
“We want you to put our feet on fire when we go wrong, but the problem is when you criticise, it is always based on malicious intent. I believe this event will engender a new narrative – a narrative of understanding, love and cooperation – believing that Akwa Ibom is an enterprise for all the stakeholders.
“Let us all be invested in Akwa Ibom project, believing that we have no other state outside of Akwa Ibom. When you continuously write negative things about your state, you are creating a future for your kids and to be invested and not to join forces with the elements that define us.
Also speaking was the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Barrister Uwemedimoh Nwoko, who noted that about 80% or more of the effort that was put to promote democracy, which we all enjoy today, was made by the press.
He recognised the effort of the journalists to support Governor Udom Emmanuel during 2015 general election and the long run legal battle through the Tribunal, Court of Appeal and then the Supreme Court, which produced a judiciary-confirmed Executive Governor of Akwa Ibom State.
Barr. Nwoke noted that it would not be sweet if the news is just one side. That is why the press are there. “We all work together to produce the society of our dream. When we get together, build a synergy, build a constructive society and produce Akwa Ibom that people will always want to go to.”
Working tools including laptop computers and printers were presented to various chapels of journalism in the state by the Special Assistant to the Governor on Local Media, Mr. Uko Umoh.