Ondo State Governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu SAN, has described the Freedom of Information Act, 2011 as a welcome idea for democratic development in Nigeria, saying the Freedom of Information Act was aimed at making public records and information more available to the public, protect public records and information to the extent consistent with public interest and versatile democracy.
Arakunrin Akeredolu who was represented by the state commissioner for Information, Mr. Yemi Olowolabi, during a courtesy call by members of the Press Club of Deeper Life High School, Iwoye-Akure in his office, expressed delight at the aspiring Journalists, adding that since the return to democractic rule in 1999, the Press has continue to play vital roles in development of Nigeria’s democracy.
He maintained that the constitution has provided an avenue for journalism to thrive in country, and as such it would amount to criminal offence for journalists to be denied access to information, if they requested for such information officially.
The Governor noted that the roles of Press in sustaining democracy in Nigeria can not be overemphasized,stressing that whenever there are crises or challenges, the Press would report such and therefore urged media practitioners and to endeavour to carry out investigative reporting,which would earn the report more credibility.
He noted that Journalism is a noble profession as it serves as watch dog in the society and the power of the Press could not be taken for granted,stating that without the press,many events wouldn’t have been reported and the people would be in the dark.
Governer Akeredolu noted that with the advent of Social Media and the conventional Print and Electronic, Politicians are mindful of what they do,because they know that some people are watching them and they would publish such action or inaction in the Press.
The number one citizen of Ondo State also implored the aspiring journalists to study hard so that they could be good reporters in the nearest future.
He, therefore highlighted some of his achievements in the last one year such as massive construction of roads, renovation of public schools going on across the eighteen local government areas of the state and promised to leave the state better than he met it.
Speaking on behalf of the students, Miss Oluwatofunmi Borokini said the Nigerian press has come a long way since Kev Henry Townsend published first newspaper in Abeokuta in 1859 known as ” Iwe Iroyin” which was published bi-weekly in both English and Yoruba languages and ran for eight years.
Miss Borokini noted that the Press must be neutral and objective for democracy to be embraced by all without sentiment,adding that many lives have been saved through reportage by the Nigerian Press.
She added that the Media practitioners should embrace the ethics of the profession and continue to enlighten the public about useful information that could assist them in participating in politics and towards choosing their leaders.
The students were at the Secretariat to discuss the Role Of the Press In Sustaining Democracy In Nigeria.