The Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Benjamin Kalu has called on Online Media Practitioners Association of Nigeria (OMPAN) and other media practitioners in the country to work closely with government at all levels to help build the South East and the nation at large. He emphasized that as watch dogs of society, Journalists should point the right direction for people to follow and project Nigeria positively to the world.

The Deputy Speaker who made this assertion while interacting with members of the Online Media Practitioners Association of Nigeria, Abia State Chapter who paid him a courtesy visit in Umuahia on Saturday, May 4, 2024, said that media practitioners, as critical stakeholders in national affairs, play important roles in the development of every nation. He invited members of OMPAN and other media practitioners in the country to join hands with him to project Abia State, South East and Nigeria positively to the world.

Continuing, Kalu urged journalists to help put political leaders on their toes by engaging them constructively to ensure accountability and transparency through investigative journalism and well-informed perspectives. He cautioned against churning out content based on hasty conclusions capable of destroying not only South East but Nigeria.

According to him,” You are nation Builders. You put leaders like us on our toes. Ensure that as watch dogs of society, you point the right direction on what should be done, and I beg you to do so constructively to avoid pushing out pieces of information that can lead to chaos and underdevelopment of the country.

“A good journalist should be investigative and research-oriented in discharging his duties in order to build and sustain public confidence, and should also be sensitive to the likely impact of his story before going public.

“My desire is to work closely with you so that we can market the South East and Nigeria positively to the world. Stop looking for bad news to generate traffic. The more you publish bad news, the more you scare away potential investors.

“Project the State and the Nation in the light of good things even when you have to be critical. Do not create fear and panic which I have noticed that some journalists do these days in order to trend. Please play it down because the more you do it, the more you disturb public peace.

“We need your help to promote and sustain peace in the South East. The entire South East has for the first time come together because people are in pursuit of peace, security and unity, and you have a significant role to play in that regard.

“It is not politics. It has to do with healing of hearts. The dominant approach before now, even on the part of some institutions of government, was that kinetic approach can achieve peace. But we are taking bold steps on how we can build peace using non-kinetic approach.

“We are embarking on various intervention schemes to heal wounded hearts in the South East and we have started by lobbying for the establishment of the South East Development Commission, which shall create jobs and help channel Federal Government resources towards effective reconstruction, rehabilitation and reconciliation initiatives to address sensitive issues that are still lingering several years after the civil war.

“Guns cannot fix broken hearts. Barrels of guns cannot rebuild damaged infrastructure. Peace In South East Project (PISE-P) is pushing for innovative, effective and sustainable peace-building solutions. Join hands with us and be an advocate of peace in the South East” he appealed.

Kalu who promised to support and partner with OMPAN, urged members to upgrade their knowledge of emerging media trends, noting that the media space is becoming highly competitive especially with the disruptions caused by Artificial Intelligence.

Earlier, the Chairman of OMPAN Abia State Chapter and leader of the delegation, Chief Promise Uzoma Okoro said that OMPAN came to pay a courtesy visit to the Deputy Speaker House of Representatives to congratulate him on his elevation as the Deputy Speaker, wish him well on his 53rd birthday anniversary and interface with him on areas of mutual partnerships.

In his closing remarks and vote of thanks, the National president of OMPAN, Mr. James Emeh expressed appreciation to the Deputy Speaker for giving audience to the Association and promising to activate processes towards sustainable partnerships with OMPAN.


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