By David Amusa
The Deputy Speaker of Rivers State House of Assembly, Hon. Leyii Kwanee has implored Nigerian Journalists to engage in advocacy in order to accelerate development of the nation.
Speaking at the International Conference and book presentation in honour of Professor Sylvanus Ajana Ekwelie on the theme: “Advocacy Journalism and National Development, organized by the Department of Linguistics and Communication Studies of the University of Port Harcourt, the Deputy Speaker said that it was unfortunate that the present practice of Journalism is on sensationalism and muckraking including sex and violence.
The practice, he said was copied from western countries and advised journalists to engage in advocacy for peace particularly in this period of security challenges.
Represented by his Media Assistant, Mr. David Amusa,he urged them to also look at other areas of advocacy such as enduring democracy, poverty eradication, harmful cultural practices, good governance, health matters and qualitative education.
“Nigerian journalists should gear their practice towards development and de-emphasize on frivolities such as sex, homosexuality and violence which they imitate from their western counterpart and concentrate on our core values that are catalyst to national development”.
“In so doing journalism will take its pride of place in the contemporary Nigeria as they did in the past to help the nation gain independence and stamped military out of power, he stated”
Also speaking, Hon. Kwanee advised Nigerians to celebrate their great men while they are alive rather than when they are dead.
He said such honour will motivate the young generations to work hard to be great.
The Deputy Speaker decried the situation in Nigeria where material wealth is celebrated more than intellectual wealth pointing out that those who are celebrated for having material wealth end up being those who acquired wealth of filthy lucre.
He appealed to Nigerians to celebrate their great intellectuals as it is the practice in advanced countries of the world.
Hon. Kwanee commended the University of Port Harcourt and the Department of Linguistics and Communication Studies for honouring one of their own who has acquired intellectual wealth to the extent of being an international shinning star in the field of communication.
Furthermore, he urged the institution to organize conferences in honour of other of their great scholars pointing out that this would serve as tonic to the junior scholars and students in order to make the University unique as it is popularly called.
Earlier in his opening remarks, the Chairman of the Local Organizing Committee, Rev. Fr. Dr. Walter Ihejirika, said the honour was bestowed on Professor Ekwelie in recognition of his immense contributions to the development and growth of the department.
“The Department of Linguistics and Communication Studies strongly believes that Professor Ekwelie has earned his position of honour, having exhibited a high degree of honesty, fairness and integrity in his chosen field of work”.