Debo Adeoye, Ibadan.
A socio-cultural group, Oyo Youths United for Greatness (OYYUG), based in Oyo town has lambasted the Special Assistant (Print Media) to Governor Seyi Makinde, Mr. Moses Alao for making reckless and unguided statement against Oyo State Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) for coming out strong against Oyo State government’s approach on Covid-19.
In a release signed by the Secretary of the group Miss Olufunmilayo Adeboye and made available to journalists shortly after emergency meeting of the group in Oyo Town on Tuesday, the group also called on Gov. Makinde to caution his aide against attacking the mouthpiece of the masses, whose said report was driven by public interest, not politics.
“Having gone through the release made yesterday by the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Oyo State Council, we discovered that the report only analysed the preparedness of the Oyo State Government to tackle the ravaging corona virus (COVID-19). Without being baised, NUJ’s action was basically driven by public interest not politics and most be commended.
“One would have expected Moses Alao to give a professional advice to his principal being a media personnel instead of attacking journalists like a lion that lost its canine teeth during an attack. In Alao’s statement, he asserted that the report was politically motivated and written by untrained journalists.
“Some statement in the release signed by Alao were made to put integrity of the journalists in the state in doubt and gave the issue political colouration. This we considered to be very insulting and unwarranted, and ought not to have been made against men of a noble profession whose interest is to offer all to protect the lives of every individual in our society during this tough period.
It said that the issue of COVID-19 was not a personal or political issue, but a general issue that put all citizens of the state including the governor as well as the masses at risk.
“The role of journalists as agenda setters can’t be jettisoned at this crucial time when the lives of all including that of the state governor, state executives and their family members are at risk,” the group stated.
Meanwhile the group commended the state government for noting the observations made by the NUJ and swinging into action immediately on the issue that put all citizens of the state at risk.
“It is good to note that the isolation centre claimed by government to be Jericho hospital now was never known to the public until yesterday after NUJ’s statement.
“But, we are happy that the 5-bed spaces at the Jericho Hospital designated as isolation centre shortly after the report according to the Commissioner for Health has now increased to 10-bed hospital.
“We thank the governor for this prompt action and increment which to some extent has assuage our fears. We hope to see more of this as we collectively tackle the ravaging virus,” the group said.
“Our advice to the state governor is to see the media as strong stakeholders in the project ‘Oyo State’ and work closely with them to realise his objective of promoting good governance. In addition, every observation raised by the NUJ should be holistically viewed from progressive point of view.