Opinion: Mr. Speaker, You Can’t Defeat The Press In Abia, You Are Not IDI AMIN.

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Opinion: Mr. Speaker, You Can’t Defeat The Press In Abia, You Are Not IDI AMIN.
Promise Uzoma Okoro and Hon. Emmanuel Emeruwa

Recently, the Speaker of the Abia State House of Assembly Rt. Hon. Emmanuel Emeruwa is presenting himself as an enemy of the Press. Such presentation is risky for a Public Officer who still has future (political) ambitions.

 

Emeruwa cannot defeat the Press no matter how he tries it and whom he employs, he will always regret fighting the Pen Profession.

Abia State Assembly Speaker
Rt. Hon. Emmanuel Emeruwa

Under Mr. Emeruwa as the 8th Speaker of the Abia State House of Assembly, the House has held two Press Conferences, one held two weeks ago where the Speaker disgraced himself before reasonable members of the public when he said that INNOSON Motors had been paid to supply official vehicles to members of the Abia State House of Assembly, only for the company to rubbish such claims.

 

One would have expected the Speaker to tender an unreserved apology to Abians, but instead the Speaker today Thursday 27th June 2024 walked out the Correspondent working for Enyimba FM Aba who were duly accredited by the Information Unit of the House of Assembly.

 

No Reasonable Speaker who wants to succeed will allow a Civil Servant pitch him against the Fourth Estate of the realm, it is risky, it is costly.

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Emeruwa cannot be the then Ugandan President-Dictator Idi Amin who was issuing a general warning to the populace: yes, you formally have your constitutional rights, which we cannot formally repeal because it looks bad; but if you try to exercise your rights – as we say in a legal notice – “the costs and consequences will be yours.”,

 

Although that is what he attempted to do today when he walked out a journalist from his Press Conference for allegedly demarketing him in Aba, the reason is laughable, infantile and provocative.

 

A Public Officer or Public Official is the person who derives his livelihood from the taxes paid by the public.

 

He holds the office in trust for the Public. Whatever he does in that office is generally for public interest so in a logical conclusion, the Speaker of the Abia State House of Assembly  Rt. Hon. Emmanuel Emeruwa who has accepted a Public office has lost a part of his right to Privacy, he has become a newsmaker for journalists and therefore must be monitored and be made accountable to the people at all times.

 

So, Mr. Speaker, Stop shying away  from scrutiny unless if you are incompetent, then resign for a more competent person to take over.

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Journalism is both a Profession and a Mission. A Journalist is a Professional who is on a mission to uphold accountability of the government to the governed, he is on a mission to better inform, educate, sensitize and mobilize the people for government programmes and activities.

 

By walking the Journalist out of his Press Conference, the Speaker has shown that he is an enemy to the Press in Abia State.

 

The Press does not exist for itself but for the society.

 

The press needs freedom so as to keep the masses informed about happenings around them.

 

The freedom is not relevant to the press alone but to the society at large, and that is why no Public officer can defeat a United Press, especially in Nigeria where the freedom of the Press is Guaranteed.

 

Imagine if the Speaker is the Executive Governor of Abia State, he would have ordered the demolition of the Premises of Enyimba FM in Aba for not giving him a ‘favourable reportage’.

 

Section 39(1)(2) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria provided that;

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(1) Every Perosn Shall Be entitled to freedom of expression, including freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart ideals and information without interference

 

(2) Without Prejudice to the generality of sub section (1) of this section, every Perosn shall be entitled to own ,establish and operate any medium for the dissemination of Information, ideals and Opinion.

 

Abians should be worried that a Speaker who is elected first as a Lawmaker representing his people ,and Second as a Speaker overseeing his colleagues is now violating the same Constitution he promised under oath to protect.

 

Rather than walking Journalist away from his Press Conferences, the Abia Assembly ought to have shown concerned about his Media Team, as it is glaring that he has none, because of type of backlash so far from his Two Press Conferences since June 13th 2023.

 

The Press is Mightier than the sword, no matter how the current Abia Assembly tries, he can never defeat members of the Fourt Estate.

 


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Promise Uzoma Okoro (Chairman, Abia Online Media Practitioners) writes from Umuahia, Abia State capital.

Promise Uzoma Okoro
Promise Uzoma Okoro

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