From Msughshima Andrew, Makurdi
The Executive Secretary Teaching Service Board (TSB) Makurdi, Dr. Wilfred Uji, has tasked journalists to put national unity and development first in their reportage of issues in the country.
Uji, who was Guest Speaker at the NUJ 2019 Press Week, which held at NUJ House Makurdi, the Benue State capital said he views objective reportage as putting national cohesion, unity and development ahead of sensation.
He spoke on the week’s theme: “Ending Insecurity In Nigeria Via Objective And Accurate Reportage” with a call on journalists to be objective and factual at all times.
Dr. Uji, opined that objective reportage in ending insecurity means reporting the security challenges confronting Nigeria on the basis of facts, analysis and investigations.
Uji, who blamed the West for the precarious security situation in Africa and Nigeria in particular, urged journalists to be courageous, pan African and not further promote the ideology of the West in presenting the continent as a land of impossibilities.
“To me the important thing is not just reporting; it is about achieving national development, unity and cohesion, with ideological trust,” he said.
He however, said facts alone do not make news; rather it is the interraction between the journalist and his facts.
Balancing the facts with the environment, according to the TSB boss is what makes news objective, which will ultimately free the people from insecurity.
He identified six steps to achieving objective reportage to include establishing research centres for practicing journalists, establishment and application of ICT facilities in information sourcing, reporting from the pan Africanist perspective that is being positive about Africa.
He also said journalists must network with security agents, politicians and must learn to love and respect themselves and promote ethical standards to achieving objective and accurate reportage.
“Of course, journalists need help. However, the only way to be objective in the face of all of this is to reject certain offers. Love yourselves more, sit together and appreciate yourselves and you will do better and that way, you will maintain your self respect, dignity and also earn the teust of the people,” Uji said.
He nevertheless, admitted that “reporting on security issues is delicate and challenging. The only way to report is to be armed with facts,” adding that reporters must also arm themselves with the knowledge of who owns what, for who and for what purpose.
The event also witnessed the renaming of NUJ Hall as David Ukuma Hall, in memory of the deceaced, who died less than a year in office as NUJ Chairman Benue State Council.
And Benue North East Senator Dr. Gabriel Suswam, has appreciated the council for dedicating the hall in memoriam of one of his constituents, David Ukuma.
Suswam, who was represented by his Media Aide, Bede Bartholomew, acknowledged his cordial relationship with the erstwhile Chairman, while alife. He also thanked members of the council for the support he has been enjoying from them in the course of his service to the state and country.
The Ukum LGC Chairman Iberlogo TorTyolyaa, also spoke warmly of Ukuma, as a hardworking, dedicated professional who was committed to the dictates of his profession.
TorTyokyaa, who was represented by the immediate past President of Media intellectuals’ Union, Jerry Iorngaghem also thanked the council for honouring Ukuma.
Earlier in her remarks, the State Council Chairman of NUJ Victoria Asher, said the essense of the press week is to enable members of the union to unwind.
“It is also an opportunity to interract and share experiences,” the Chairman said, while urging Benue journalists to celebrate themselves because they “are the best.”