The Chairman, United Nigeria Airline, Professor Obiora Okonkwo, Thursday, enjoined the media to sensitise residents on the need to stop attacking political opponents or opposing political views.
Okonkwo gave the advice as a Guest Lecturer at the 2022 symposium organised by the Correspondents Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), under the theme, ‘The Role of Media in Guaranteeing the Sanctity of the Electoral Process in Nigeria.’
“Don’t attack anyone. You don’t have right to force anyone to support your candidates. You don’t insult or attack anyone that is opposing your political views. You can convince them to vote for your candidates. We all have equal rights to support any political party or candidate.
“This is a new phenomenon that the media should help us to educate people on. We need to educate our people to understand that politics of emotions or sentiments won’t help us in this region. Let it be one of the resolutions that people should reach here today,” he stated
He also dismissed the allegations that Ohanaeze Ndigbo apex sociocultural organisation endorsed the Presidential candidate of Labour Party (LP), Mr Peter Obi, adding that it must follow a due process even if it happened, as it was in the year 2019.
“Ohanaeze endorsed Atiku on 2019 in a meeting at Enugu. That meeting was well attended and widely reported by various media houses. But for now, they have not done that. So everyone has a choice and should be allowed to choose who to support. But even if they decide to do endorse someone tomorrow, minority can still express themselves. But majority will still have their way,” Okonkwo said.
On the topic, Okonkwo said, “The media play a key role in the success or otherwise of the political class, including the government. As media professionals, you have an enormous opportunity and responsibility to help sanitize our electoral process as well as change the current trajectory of governance in Nigeria.”
Other speakers at the event, including governor Chukwuma Soludo, represented by the Commissioner for Information, Mr Paul Nwosu; and the Chairman of the occasion, Professor Chinyere Okunna, represented by Professor Chinwe Uzochukwu of the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka.
They charged journalists to always maintain decorum and uphold ethics of the profession in their reportage.