Oloja condemns unmerited severance packages for ex-governors
A member of The Guardian Editorial Board, Martins Oloja, yesterday stated that the Nigerian media has an urgent responsibility to cover and draw attention to state laws that give jumbo packages to former governors.
Oloja argued that severance packages for governors have been too fat and that state correspondents of media outfits have been too quiet about the issue even during the general elections.He made the assertions at a lecture organised by the Association of Communication Scholars and Professionals of Nigeria (ACSPN) at Crescent University, Abeokuta, Ogun State.
His words: “In Kwara State, for instance, the state is still building more than N1 billion worth of houses for the former governor in Ilorin and another in Abuja.
“Most of the state governors have passed laws that would enable them have access to unfettered enjoyment after leaving office. “Where will the money to meet Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) come from when most governors and ministers travel abroad always? We failed the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) 2000-2015 despite huge allocations from Paris Club refund.
“We need to embrace and teach significant aspects of financial journalism: The money trail approach in holding our governments accountable for their Internally Generated Revenues (IGRs) and monthly allocations from Abuja.”
He stressed that media practitioners needed to hold the nation’s federal legislators accountable and to be more fiscally responsible, arguing that legislative reporters should practise financial journalism and ‘money trail’ to be able to expose all the financial transactions outside the country’s laws.
“The more you look at the so-called ‘quarterly running costs,’ the less you see. Photojournalists need to even report the Abuja estates, those of public and judicial officers. We need to see photographs of their mansions and compare the costs with their salaries,” he added. Oloja also charged the Nigerian media to go beyond praising some governors of Lagos, Akwa Ibom, Kano and Rivers states, among others for some good reported works, adding: “We should look into their finances, their IGR and what the projects they claim they are embarking on.”
Speaking on Nexus Between Civic Journalism And Stronger Democracies, he said: “A good practice of financial journalism could promote greater freedom and stronger democracies over time by pursuing the bucks.He also spoke on the Challenge of Reporting In a Multi-Ethnic, Multi-Religious Setting: The Case of Nigeria’s 2019 General Elections and highlighted eight items that the Nigeria media ought to have done but failed to do during the just concluded polls.
Oloja, a former Editor of The Guardian added: “I feel we have failed to provide adequate information on votes buying and seeling. Also speaking, Tunde Oladunjoye, insisted that mentoring, role-modeling and on-the-job-training were lacking in the Nigerian journalism, adding: “No profession progresses without these necessities; not the least, a calling that seeks to inform, educate, enlighten and entertain society.”
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