Osun state Governor, Mr Adegboyega Oyetola, has said that there is no better option to democracy, saying it is a system that gives opportunity to the governed to choose who govern them.
The governor spoke in Osogbo on Wednesday at a public lecture organised by the Correspondents’ Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, Osun State Chapter to commemorate 20 years of uninterrupted democratic government in Nigeria.
Oyetola who was represented by the Head of Service, Dr. Adegboyega Oyebade, aka ‘Olowo’ described Nigeria democracy as a developing one, insisting that democracy should not be condemned.
His words: “Nigeria’s democracy can be said to be in tertiary institutions waiting for graduation. We should not assume that everything has failed.
Oyetola commended the Correspondents in Osun state for the role they played in the past elections, saying that his government welcome objective criticism
He however recommended amendment to Nigeria constitution to meet the demand of the moment.
The guest Speaker, Professor Anthony Kola-Olusanya who spoke on the theme: “Democracy @20: Analyzing Emerging Trends in Nigeria’s Democratic Journey,’’ urged journalists not to treat government with kid gloves.
He insisted that Journalists should be more critical in the appraisal of government and not depart from the major role of holding public officials accountable.
The Professor of Environment and Sustainability from Osun state University, expressed concern over what he described as fraternity with the government by the press that supposed to hold them accountable, warning that it is dangerous for democracy.
His words:, “Corruption has taken over everywhere. The press should go beyond just reporting. The press is beginning to move to the power and it means the democratic experience is in danger.
“The idea that press today is beginning to shift to the side of the government is dangerous. We hardly see critical criticism like we see in the military era.
“The essence of critical journalism is to help the government itself to know where the government is failing or likely to fail. We must not be seen to be against the government so that people will not see us as enemy of the government.”
Earlier in his welcome address, the Chairman of NUJ Correspondents’ Chapel, Mr. Olaniyi Ajibola, said the statutory obligation of newsmen as fourth estate of the realm necessitated the lecture.
“As newsmen, we observe, report, and regularly analyze, investigate and probe the pattern of democratic governance through the mirror of human capital development and physical growth. It is on that basis that we set agenda for public discourse and national conversation for the purpose of holding the political class accountable to the people.”