Reputation management and communications specialist, Dr Jossy Nkwocha has urged journalists across the country to uphold the roles assigned to them in the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to engender sustainable peace and unity in the country.
Dr Nkwocha, a fellow of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR) was speàking as a keynote speaker at a two-day conference of the Association of Communications Scholars and Professionals of Nigeria (ACSPN) holding at the Rivers State University (RSU) in partnership with UNESCO.
Dr Nkwocha’s topic: The Role of the Mass Media in Accountable Governance and Sustainable Peace in Society dwelt extensively on their roles in helping to bring peace to “our dear country Nigeria”.
He said that journalists were the only professionals given a role in chapter 2 of the 1999 constitution to hold the government accountable to the people.
It states: “The press, radio television and other agencies of the mass media shall at all times be free to uphold the fundamental objectives contained in this chapter and uphold the responsibility and accountability of the Government to the people”.
According to Dr Nkwocha, the constitution went further to mention some of the fundamental objectives that the mass media should uphold and it includes Section 23 which states that the national ethics shall be discipline, integrity, the dignity of labour, social justice, religious tolerance, self-reliance and patriotism.
Section 14, sub-section 3, he indicates, states: “The composition of Government of the Federation or any of its agencies and the conduct of its affairs shall be carried out in such a manner as to reflect the federal character of Nigeria and the need to promote national unity, and also to command national loyalty, thereby ensuring that there shall be no predominance of persons from a few states or a few ethnic or other sectional groups in the Government or any of its agencies”.
Dr Nkwocha who is the group head of Corporate Communications at Indorama Eleme Petrochemicals and Fertiliser Ltd, Port Harcourt, recommended that journalists should be courageous enough to draw government attention to the fundamental objectives to reduce agitations of marginalisation and enhance peace in the country.
He also recommended that ACSPN and UNESCO should organise workshops or seminars for journalists. crisis reporting and peacebuilding reporting skills.
Commissioner for Information and Communications, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim, spoke on the need for all Nigerians to be part of Government and thereafter declared the conference open.
President of the Association. and Vice-Chancellor of. Federal University, Kashere, Gombe State, Prof Umaru Pate said the conference will come up with a communique to help build accountable governance and peace in Nigeria.