‘Nigeria operating adulterated democracy’
A Mass Communication don from University of Lagos (UNILAG), Professor Ralph Akinfeleye, has joined those calling for urgent restructuring of Nigeria to true federalism before it is late.The don also said the media, as the ‘watchdog’ has a great role to play to drive the goal. He said if the country is restructured would go a long way in reducing the scourge of insecurity and other socio-economic and political challenges confronting it.
Speaking during the 54th annual General Meeting of the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) tagged: “Insecurity in Nigeria: search for lasting Solution,” in Lagos recently, Akinfeleye said it is necessary to decentralize the existing structure of governance in the country, which leaves excessive power at the centre.
According to him, “The country is operating an adulterated democracy. It is necessary for the media to be a mediating factor in democratic setting that could help in the reduction of cases of insecurity in the nation.
“The mass media are regarded as not only the fourth estate of the realm, but essentially societal forces that help to lubricate the engine room of democracy.“They do not only monitor governance and make government accountable to the people, but they are required to check and balance, watchdog and gate keep the doors for sustainable democracy in terms of information flow, direction and intensity and who shares its with whom, at what costs, and with what consequences.”
He added that when the fourth estate of the realm is infected with virus, it could metamorphose into the four estate of the wreck, saying, in democratic settings, the media are duty bound to uncover rather than cover-up corruption in governance, this he should be in accordance with true and unadulterated interpretations of what is in the national interest.
“Therefore, in a government of the people, by the people and for the people, the socio-political ideology of a national will should be reflective of the type of press system that operates in that society.
“This is to say that in a national that operates democratic system of government, it is assumed that its media systems will be free- they will be and ought to be moving towards the basic concept of liberty, freedom, nationality and open market of ideas in the interest of the nation,” he said.As part of measures to curb corruptions in the upper chamber, Akinfeleye said it would benefit the federal government if independent agencies monitor projects in the country instead of members of the National Assembly.
Also speaking on the issues of bogus pay of legislatures, he advised that each representative should be paid sitting allowances only.“Government should make Senate and House of Representatives members to work part-time and pay them sitting allowances according to their consistency level in sittings, hence no sitting, no payment
“ Reduce or remove the so called N13.5million (Senate) and N10.5million house of assembly running cost of the law makers. An independent agency and not the National Assembly people should do oversight monitoring of projects as this is a big source of corruption in the land.”He added that budget paddling at all levels should be eliminated and long time delay by legislative arm must reduce.
Akinfeleye also urged the Federal Government to diffuse power and apply rule of law and not law of the rule in all critical national matters. He stressed: “Government should encourage transparency and accountability in all its transactions. The lawmakers should continue to make laws and not break laws. Create strong institutions, the judiciary in particular.”He encouraged the press to continue to exhibit strong social responsibility in their practices and to also support strong, enduring, responsibility members of the fourth estate of the realms and not members of the fourth estate of the wreck.
President of the association, Dr. C Ogunbanjo said the theme was appropriate and topical against the backdrop of the current pathetic and devastating insecurity situation in the country.
“This is necessary to address the challenges of insecurity that the country is facing. The event is also channeled to address issues that affect other countries of the world where people are brutally killed, raped murdered, displaced and reduced to nothingness. Where landed properties and agricultural crops are not secured and cattle are rustled,” he said.
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