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Media Must Not Abdicate Agenda-Setting Function To Politicians, Says NGE President

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President of the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE), Mr. Mustapha Isah, yesterday enjoined the Nigerian media not to relinquish its duty of setting agenda for the public to politicians in the country.

Speaking at a town hall meeting in Lagos, with the theme: ‘Agenda Setting for Sustainable Development’, the NGE helmsman explained that the press has the responsibility to hold the government to account as provided for by the constitution.

Isah posited that the meeting was expected to assess the performance of the Nigerian media and suggest ways for improvement, arguing that all aspects of good governance are facilitated by a strong and independent media.

According to him, “What is currently dominating headlines in the media on the 2023 general election is zoning or power rotation. This is the agenda of the politicians. Must the media allow these politicians to set the agenda for us? I think it should be the opposite.

“As the politicians talk about zoning, we, I mean the media, should remind them that we are more interested in the issues of development, education, insecurity, youth unemployment and the poverty ravaging the country.”

However, Isah stated that it is only when journalists are free to monitor, investigate and criticise public policies and actions that good governance can take place.

He said freedom of the media allows for the creation of a public space in which a wide range of debates and expression of variety of viewpoints can take place, maintaining that a free and critical press is essential for the growth and development of any democracy.

“The media as a watchdog of the society which owes it as a duty to monitor governance and hold public office holders accountable to the people who elected them,” Isah said.

He added: “Section 22 of the 1999 Constitution says the press-radio, television, and other agencies of the media-should at all times be free to uphold the responsibility and accountability of the government to the people.

“This section gives the media the enormous responsibility to hold the government accountable to the people.”

He explained that good governance is simply an essential framework which serves as a means of achieving wider goals, including security of life and property, which is the primary goal of the government.

The NGE boss said: “Now, let’s talk about the role of the media in setting agenda for sustainable democratic culture and deepening of the democratic space.

“One of the major roles of the media is agenda setting. The more stories the media does on a particular subject, the more importance the audience will attach to it.”

Quoting a research by Maxwell McCombs and Donaki Shaw in 1972 on the United States 1968 presidential election, Isah stated that the work concluded that editors played an important role in shaping political reality, saying the mass media determine the important issues for campaign.

“Can the media in Nigeria shape the political reality in the country? If the answer is yes, how then can this be achieved?” He asked.

Quoting another author, Stanley Baran’s 2002 work, Isah noted: “The media may not tell us what to think, but the media certainly can tell us what to think about.”

He called for feedback on the agenda-setting role of the media, adding that the press was open to suggestions on how it can improve on its performance.

Isah further thanked the US Government through its embassy in Nigeria for making the event possible.

“The Nigerian Guild of Editors is indeed very grateful for your support. This town

hall meeting is going to be taken round the six geo-political zones. The next one will hold in Kano in January 2022,” he noted.

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I Won’t Hesitate To Sign Death Sentence Against Hanifa Abubakar’s Killer If…, Ganduje Speaks

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Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje of Kano state has promised to abide by the constitutional provision and assent to death sentence once the court pass judgement over the gruesome murder of a five-year-old pupil Hanifa Abubakar Abba.

The governor stated this when he paid a condolence visit alongside his deputy, Dr Nasuru Yusuf Gawuna, Majority Leader, State House of Assembly, Labaran Abdul Madari, and other top government functionaries, at the family’s residence in Dakata/Kawaji, Nasarawa local government area of the state.

“We have good confirmation from the court handling the process that, justice would be done. No stone would be left unturned,” he said.

Ganduje said whoever found guilty of the heinous offence would also face death without wasting any time. He said the government has already started the process.

“Our constitution provides that, when a death sentence is passed, it is the constitutional power of the governor to assent for the execution of the culprit. I assure you all that, I will not waste even one second,” he said.

The governor also assured speedy dispensation of justice, and that the government would take good care of the family of late Hanifa.

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Idumota Crisis: NURTW Suspends Operations In Lagos After Kunle Poly’s Arrest

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Following the deadly clash in the Idumota area of Lagos Island, Lagos State, the National Union of Road Transport Workers says its operations has been suspended in Lagos State.

This is coming barely 24 hours after the arrest of two of its leaders in Lagos State, Kunle Poly and Sego in connection with the chaos at Idumota.

Recall that two persons were feared killed during a clash between two factional members of a transport union in the Idumota area of Lagos .

The two factions – Eyo boys, reportedly loyal to a union leader known as Kunle Poly, and Kosoko boys – have been at loggerheads over control of territory in the bustling commercial centre.

It was gathered that Eyo boys expected Kosoko boys collecting levies from commercial bus drivers on Idumota Bridge to make returns but the latter declined.

The growing tension reportedly erupted in a clash around 12pm on Thursday as hoodlums fired gunshots and brandished cutlasses.

One person was said to have been shot dead while another bled to death from machete cuts inflicted on him.



The violence forced traders in markets around the area to abruptly shut down their shops and run for dear life.

Videos of the clash went viral on Friday, with one of the clips showing a bloodied youth being carried away in a wheelbarrow as people ran helter-skelter.

On Monday, the Lagos State Rapid Response Squad arrested Kunle Poly and Sego.

The police said Kunle Poly and Sego are principal suspects in the recurring clashes in Idumota and its environs.

RRS said Kunle Poly and Sego have been transferred to Zone II, Onikan, Lagos.

Reacting, President of NURTW, Tajudeen Baruwa, condemned the killings and attacks among members of the union, and the unrest that lead to the death of people yet to be identified at Idumota axis of Lagos last week.

He said, “The NURTW has followed this incident that brought Lagos island to a chaotic situation, posing danger to life and properties and grounding business activities in the area. We hereby assure Lagosians, as the national body of NURTW, that something will be done to end such conduct. We cannot continue this way, putting a bad image on the entirety of the Union, this is unacceptable.

“We are using this medium to pass a strong message to the union’s members in Lagos at large, that state’s council executives and NURTW operations in the state entirely may be suspended indefinitely to allow investigation on the incident to be carried out diligently.

“However, consultations are ongoing with the state government, security agencies, and other stakeholders so as to reach an arrangement on next line of actions which would be determined by the outcome of the reached agreement.”

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Fuel Subsidy: NLC Suspends Thursday’s Nationwide Protest

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The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has called off the planned nationwide protest against the proposed removal of fuel subsidy.

Addressing journalists on Tuesday at the Labour House in Abuja, NLC president, Ayuba Wabba said that: ” Following the reversal and reapproach by government, the national Executive Council of NLC met this morning virtually to consider the new position of the government.

“The NEC after vigorous debates took a decision to suspend the planned nationwide protest scheduled for January 27 and the national protest scheduled for February 2nd”.



Details later…

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