Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State has urged journalists across the country not to promote ethnicity in view of subtle campaigns ahead of the 2023 general electons.
He rather urged journalists to intensify efforts through their reportage in uniting an obvious divided nation along ethnic lines.
Governor Okowa gave the advice while declaring open the National Executive Council (NEC) of the Nigeria Union of Journalists held in Asaba, the state capital.
Represented by the state Commissioner for Information, Charles Aniagwu, Okowa tasked the union leadership to initiate reforms that would bring back dignity, intergrity, professionalism and discipline to the profession.
”I want to urge us as journalists to help to further unite the country. Our country is too divided. We have become too ethnocentric. When do we graduate to becoming patrotic?
“As we begin to think of who becomes our President in 2023, individuals are already thinking of ethnic group they know, as if President Buhari who is from Daura in Katsina has made the whole of Katsina to become heaven, as if when Jonathan became President, the whole of Bayelsa became heaven, as if when Obasajo was President, the whole of Ogun State became heaven.
“Why do we resort to this issue of he is from my place, instead of deciding on individual who has been able to show compentence over the years. It is unfortunate that journalists are joining in that circle of discourse.
“I don’t have any problem if Peter Obi or a northerner, or a person from other part of the country becomes the next President, not that I am campaigning for any.
“What we want is the President that would make the country to work, and that President that makes the country to work does not necessarily have to be your brother,” he said.
On insecurity plaguing the country, Governor Okowa challenged leadership of the union to take advantage of the gathering to proffer solution, saying that no part of the country is spared hundred per cent as the degree varies.
He stressed the need for the body to rid off quacks from the profession, and adhere strictly to the entry requirement.
President of NUJ, Chris Isiguzo said the NEC meeting provided a plaform for them to review activities of the union and chart the way forward.
Isiguzo hinted that issues of insecurity and COVID-19 pandemic would also be on the front burner.
In an address of welcome, chairman of NUJ, Delta State, Mike Ikeogwu commended the state government for its support for the conucil and sued for its sustenance.