By Richard Ayinde, Osogbo
Former governor of the State of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola has said that the country will outlive all of her citizen, urging Nigerians to live the ethos of honouring their individual and collective consciences.
According to Aregbesola, the only duty to Nigeria at present time is to create unity for everybody to experience her joy.
Aregbesola spoke on Friday in Ibadan at his investiture as Grand Patron of Nigeria Union of Jounalists (NUJ), South-West zone, where he also received an Award of Excellence in Leadership.
The former governor of the State of Osun said: “Solution to our differences and problems arising from disunity will be found only in a conscious effort by all of us to make fundamentally ethical every moment of our Lives.”
Aregbesola said he was receiving the honour as ‘Aregbesola as a person, and not as Minister of Interior’.
He traced his love for the media to his days in students’ unionism at the Polytechnic, Ibadan when he was writing for campus journals with leftist orientation.
The minister dedicated his award and investiture to all media practitioners working tirelessly and uncompromisingly for the making of an informed society.
Aregbesola said: “My relationship with the media has been long, right from my students’ unionism days at The Polytechnic Ibadan, when I used to write for campus journals, especially those with leftist orientation.
Those were the days of ideological ferments when there was consciousness and, as fiery young men, we sought to change the world for good.
“Of course, we knew then that the written word is powerful as the tool of idea propagation and consciousness formation and shaping. Since then, as some of you already know, I have had sustained interest in some print and electronic media, running to two decades.
“My interest in the media stems from my belief that humans are intrinsically good and will be inclined to do the right thing if properly informed. Education indisputably is the bedrock of being learned but this must be reinforced daily on a good diet of information.
“An educated person without subsequent relevant information is not better than the uneducated but with current information.
Therefore, in an environment where the media conscientiously inform and educate the people, they will be well mobilised for their own development, to resist tyranny and extend the frontiers of liberty and freedom.
“This belief has sustained my interest in the media, not minding the huge cost in a challenging economy with zero prospect of profit. The cost is huge indeed, and many of you already know that the media, especially the traditional ones, are the least attractive for investment, if profit is the motive.
“However, I consider it an invaluable gain if the media helps to birth an informed society where the human condition is improved and tyranny rolled back and freedom keeps expanding. But it is a cost I am willing to bear, in light of the noble overall objective.
“This brings us to the challenges we face as a nation. From all studies I am familiar with, welding together a heterogenous people with disparate cultural and historical background is a long and tortuous process that can suffer colossal reversal at any time, irrespective of the progress already made, if the actors are not careful.
“The media has a historic duty, not only to put the government on its toes and censor it where it erred, but to also let the world know where dramatic improvements have been recorded.
“More importantly, the media should be in dexterous in reporting conflict and volatile matters such that while not blacking out news, it should not be exacerbated in a way that engenders conflicts, breeds national acrimony and promotes separatism.
“It is the very essence of corporate social responsibility, a major plank of which is that an organisation should ensure that its product does not in any way harm the users and the society at large.
“I must thank once again, the South West NUJ for the honour. I thank the national body of the association for its support. I thank also all the people of goodwill that love us and have continued to support us through thick and thin.
“I dedicate this honour to all media practitioners working tirelessly and uncompromisingly for the making of an informed society”.