As the Nigerian Press joins the rest of the World to mark this year’s Press Freedom Day, a Nigerian business mogul and philanthropist, Mr Valentine Ozigbo, has hailed the Nigerian press, describing it as critical in developing the country and Nigeria’s democracy.
In a statement issued in Awka, Anambra State Capital, 3rd May, 2021, to commemorate the Day l, Mr Ozigbo called for total press freedom in the country, while describing the media as “the defenders of the Nation’s democracy”.
Mr Ozigbo, an international finance expert, and the immediate Past President and Group CEO of Transcorp Plc, called for strategic institutional investment in the media, stressing the importance of the media in nation-building.
“Today, I celebrate the Nigerian press for their resilience and commitment to the professional and the development of Nigeria,” Ozigbo said.
“Our journalists operate under some of the harshest work conditions in the world, yet they continue to play their role in building Nigeria and growing our democracy.
“I commend the Nigerian press for staying strong, sticking to their commitment, and defending the nation while many other institutions in the country have caved.
“Any nation that wishes to progress must guarantee the free flow of information is essential that the threats and clampdown on journalists immediately stopped.
“Rather than censorship, governments should be entering into partnerships with the media by strategically investing in strengthening and equipping the press to carry out its responsibilities of informing, educating, and enlightening Nigerians,” the respected business leader said.
Ozigbo, who is widely regarded as the frontrunner in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the upcoming Anambra governorship elections, reiterated his belief in the power of the press and the need for open governments.
He called on the federal government to respect the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act and revealed his plan to send a Freedom of Information bill to his State House of Assembly if elected as the governor of Anambra State.
Mr Ozigbo further promised to set a new standard how governments should engage and partner with the press to advance society and deepen the democratic process, if elected governor of Anambra State.
“Open government is a major aspect of my Ka Anambra Chawapu Manifesto. I believe in expanding access to information for citizens and leveraging on technology to bring government closer to the people,” Ozigbo declared.
“If I am elected governor of Anambra, I will send a freedom of information bill to my state legislature for action. Information is power, and it is time our people are given access to power in a meaningful way,” he added.
Ozigbo also called on the Nigerian press to take proactive steps in improving standards of practice, upskilling journalists and media practitioners, and seeking private sector investment into the media space.
Valentine Ozigbo is an award-winning global CEO and one of a few global Kaizen champions. He is the Chairman of Feet’ N’ Tricks International, the most prominent promoter of freestyle football in Africa and the Founder of Valentine Chineto Ozigbo Foundation, a non-profit focused on youth empowerment and building future leaders.