Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State says freedom of the press in the country should be respected in spite of noticeable inadequacies.
Mr Fayemi made the assertion at a dinner organised by the Catholic Bishop of Ekiti Diocese, Felix Ajakaye.
The dinner was organised by Ajakaiye to honour members of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, Ekiti Council.
According to the governor, no matter the excesses being exhibited by the press, under no guise should its freedom be abridged or tinkered with.
Mr Fayemi said that the role of journalists in the struggle for independence and democracy could not be overemphasised.
He said: “In the fight for our independence and the sustained agitations against military for the journey to Nigeria’s democracy, journalists played prominent roles, even at the risk of their lives and jobs.
“The press stands for the people. It is the voice of the voiceless, though you may have some things that appear so terrifying now that we have the social media because of lack of control.
“But you still have to go to the mainstream journalism to confirm because they have control and gatekeepers, who can be held accountable.
“Even if there are excesses, the freedom of the press should not be restrained. We should look for other ways to correct these perceived inadequacies,” he added.
Mr Fayemi, who is also the Chairman of Nigeria Governors Forum, NGF, said governing Ekiti State had been challenging since 2018 owing to paucity of funds.
He, however, stated that he would continue to look for ways to seek understanding of Ekiti people about his policies and delivery “even while also maintaining prudence in the management of the state’s scarce resources”.
Mr Fayemi promised to set machinery in motion to ensure the NUJ in the state had a befitting press centre following a request of Mr Rotimi Ojomoyela, the Chairman of the state of council.
In his remarks, Mr Ajakaiye, charged the governor to look inwards and bring a successor that could sustain and consolidate the gains of democracy for Ekiti State citizens after his departure.
The cleric, who is also a journalist said: “Don’t leave politics for those who do things the old ways.
“Politics is not a dirty game but we have dirty people in it. I will call governor Fayemi and the wife, Erelu Bisi Fayemi, to come and face us after leaving office and I plead with them not to leave politics for those who love to do things the old ways.
“I have also told him to give us a good successor because success without a good successor is a failure in reality,” he added.
The Catholic Bishop stated that his vision is to raise the sum of N1 billion to fund education and health in the state, branding the two sectors as pivotal to the survival of Ekiti State.
Mr Ajakaye described the dinner attended by journalists, political appointees, heads of security formations and higher institutions in Ekiti State as a way of recognising newsmen for their roles in building a Nigerian society all could be proud of.
Responding, the NUJ Chairman applauded the Bishop for his immeasurable love for journalists operating in the state.
Mr Ojomoyela assured that his colleagues would continue to exhibit and promote those ideas that would add value to journalism practice.