Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai and the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, have enjoyed media practitioners to stay on the side of the Nigerian people as President Muhammad Buhari forges ahead with his anti-corruption fight.
Governor El-Rufai, who spoke Friday while declaring open a three-day retreat for State House press corps in Kaduna, said the media especially those who cover the President, have to take a stand on whether to support the anti-corruption fight or the old order.
According to him, President Buhari has huge responsibility to rescue Nigeria’s economy, noting that the immediate past administration of President Goodluck Jonathan “simply ran the economy aground.”
Governor El-Rufai posited that those who looted the treasury in the last administration are strategizing to fight back using the media.
He said media practioners have tough choices of either staying on the side of the people and secure the future or support the looters and be comfortable today.
While thanking the leadership of the State House press corps for holding the retreat in Kaduna, the Governor stressed that the Change Mantra can only be realised with the support of the press.
Speaking earlier, the Convener of the retreat and Senior Media Aide to the President, Garba Shehu, lamented that the President is not often reported accurately.
According to him, “As the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, I and my colleague, Femi ADESINA have spent a good deal of our time over the past few months countering false information that has been published by one news medium or the other and presented to the public as fact.”
Shehu noted that the freedom that Nigeria’s press enjoys today did not come easy but won at high cost, insisting that “freedom must come with responsibility.”
He spoke further, “Accuracy in journalism is essential. Accuracy must come ahead of speed. If you are not sure, hold fire. Myself and Femi Adesina, the Special Adviser to the President on Media, have made ourselves available to the press, I dare to say more than many people who previously occupied similar positions in the past.
“You have our phone numbers, our email addresses, you are free to stop us whenever you see us outside…and so, any information can be easily verified by first contacting us. A journalist, rather than misinform the public, should hold fire. Being first to publish is not as important as being reliable.
“As always, the government of President Muhammadu Buhari is grateful to the Nigerian media for the role you played in igniting the CHANGE agenda, which has swept into Nigeria in March 2015.”
Also speaking, chairman of the State House Press Corps, Kehinde Amodu, thanked Governor El-Rufai, for hosting the retreat aimed at building the capacity of those who report President Buhari.
Those billed to present papers are the Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi, Editor of Guardian newspapers, Martins Oloja and US Counsellor for Public Affairs, Victoria Sloan.
The retreat ends on Saturday with a dinner to be hosted by Governor El-Rufai.