Ahead of the 2023 general elections, former Deputy President of the Senate, Prof. Ike Ekweremadu has urged journalists to resist the temptation of being used by politicians to assassinate the character of their opponents.
The lawmaker gave the advice on Sunday when he received the new executive members of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, Enugu Correspondents’ Chapel in his Enugu residence.
While noting that campaigns should be based on issues, he said the media must not allow itself to be used for disseminating baseless and unverified allegations.
Ekweremadu, representing Enugu West Senatorial District, also harped on freedom of expression, stressing that it was vital to societal development.
“As a lawmaker, I have worked in different reform areas but one area that is of my interest is the area of freedom of expression. I believe citizens should be allowed to express their views as a society without freedom of expression is dead and cannot witness any development,”
Ekweremadu charged media practitioners to be professional in the discharge of their duties, stressing “I want to urge journalists to be professional while carrying out their duties. You must be moral in your job and engage in thorough investigative reporting.
“I have known most of you for years but I have never asked you to write anything against anybody. This is a kind of thing you should resist as we get to the 2023 elections. If someone comes to you and brings allegations, tell the person to back it up with facts.
“As you know, it’s easy for people to believe media reports. I had a zoom meeting with some Nigerians living abroad and they told me that there was a report that the Enugu Onitsha road project was awarded to me, in fact that the money was given to me and I didn’t do it and that’s why the road is yet to be done, such report is false and does not make sense and that’s the major problem we have in our society.
“Also in 2015 when President Muhammadu Buhari came to office and they were looking for an opportunity to discredit me, a judge said I was given money to develop the South-East and I didn’t do it.
“So, if a judge who is supposed to be presiding over people’s affairs can have such ignorance or mischief, there is a big problem because they are just looking for ways to discredit us.”
“I want to advise that as a journalist, if you have such information about anybody, don’t rush to the press, carry on discreet investigation before you publish,”
Ekweremadu assured his readiness to institute an award on investigative reporting.
Earlier, the NUJ team led by Comrade Lawrence Njoku described Ekweremadu as a strong advocate for the development and betterment of Nigeria.
“We want to encourage you to continue with the good work of lending your voice for the betterment of this country, as well as your support for the media practitioners,”