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Journalists charged to promote social accountability


Nigeria Union of Journalists

The purpose of journalism is to provide citizens with the information they need to make the best possible decisions about their lives, their communities, their societies, and their governments.”

This was the view of the leadership of the Centre for Information Technology and Development (CITAD), which has, in Gombe State, trained journalists and civil society organizations (CSOs) on education project reporting.

Charging journalists on the need to promote social accountability, a university teacher, Maude Rabiu Gwadabe, said they have the much-needed power to ensure citizens participation in decisions that affect them.

The Bayaro University lecturer who opined that social accountability can be used to “ increase efficiency”, tasked journalists to endeavour to convey relevant information and to go extra legitimate mile to “supervise the decision makers on behalf of the citizens.”

Emphasizing on “aggressive beat coverage to reveal as much as possible about what is really going on in every aspect of society,” Gwadabe also admonished media men on the need to dig into digital data as well as “ fact-checking political speech.”

He enjoined media practitioners to “eagerly adapt to new technologies and platforms, think about multiple audiences, work hard to create context for their audiences, smartly balance their time on story choices and audience interactions, Spend considerable time building relationships with sources, readers and build connections and teamwork.”

In his own submission, the CITAD Senior Programme Manager Kabiru S. Dakata, challenges both journalists and CSOs to rise up to the challenge by helping in tracking the education budget in the northeast.

Observing that the northeast is the worse educationally disadvantaged zone in the country, he stated that the need for both journalists and the CSOs to go extra legitimate miles to hold government accountable had become necessary for the growth of education in the region.

It is sad that male adult literacy “ rate is low with all states in the region having lower than national average rates” assisting in tracking education budget. He believed it would go a long way to compel those assigned with the responsibility of providing quality education to the people to carry out their responsibilities.

Another facilitator, Akibu Hamisu Garko, said for journalists and CSOs to effectively track education budget in the zone, they must endeavour to identify projects in the budget.

In achieving this onerous test, projects code, projects sub-sector, budgetary allocations, description and location among others, according to him, are vital information journalists and CSOs ought be armed with.

The two-day training which was organized by CITAD and supported by USAID and took place at the Flourish Hotel in Gombe with journalists and CSOs from the six states of the northeast geo-political zone participating.

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