The Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Information and Strategy, Mr. Olusina Thorpe, has charged journalists not to sacrifice professionalism on the altar of unionism but rather focus on responsible reportage that promotes national interest.
Thorpe, who represented the Commissioner, Mr. Gbenga Omotoso, during a courtesy visit of the South-West Chairmen and Secretaries of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) to the Lagos State Government, explained that journalists as the fourth estate of the realm should always be cautious and differentiate between national, sectional, personal or business interest, which can be inimical to the development of the nation.
His words: “As the Fourth Estate of the Realm, we should be very circumspect in the discharge of our duties so we are not used as cannon fodders to set the Nation on fire. Always be cautious to differentiate between National interests and sectional, personal or business interest which can be inimical to the development of the nation”.
Pointing out that NUJ is a double-edged sword serving as both a union and a professional body, Thorpe maintained that it is a professional body with expectations, hence the Union should go back to the drawing board and develop position papers that can assist in resolving Nigeria’s current challenges.
He cited the various poverty alleviation initiatives, as well as railway construction projects, aimed at connecting regions and getting trucks off the roads amongst other benefits, as pointers to an optimistic future for the country, reiterating the commitment of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu to support journalists, especially in respect of the ongoing construction project of the State Council’s Secretariat in Ikeja.
The Permanent Secretary noted that the cordial relationship between the State Council and Lagos State Government has ensured that issues are resolved before they degenerate into crisis.
He tasked the visitors to review the publications presented to them on the achievements of Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu and return to their various States to challenge, interrogate and investigate issues, saying “let us bring out the best in what government is doing, let us chart what can be done in the interest of our people because when our people are happy the nation is happy.”
Earlier the Chairman of Ekiti State NUJ, Mr. Rotimi Ojomoyela, commended the Lagos State Government for providing an atmosphere for journalists to operate without fear or intimidation despite the current challenges confronting the nation, noting that Lagos State has the highest number of media houses as well as journalists and describing the State as a true centre of excellence.
The Chairman stated that his team was impressed with the existing cordial relationship between the management of the Ministry and Union members as evident in its efforts towards capacity building and revenue generation.
He expressed gratitude to the government for its support towards the completion of a befitting Secretariat for the Union.
Also present at the event, along with NUJ executives from the South-West Zone, were the Lagos State Council Executives, Information Chapel Executives and Directors in the Ministry.