Former Information Commissioner To Council Chairmen: Stop Confusing Your Press Secretaries With Journalists

Kunle Adelabu

Hon. Kehinde Bamigbetan, former Lagos Commissioner for Information & Strategy.

The immediate past Commissioner for Information in Lagos State and an erstwhile Chief Press Secretary to the Governor of Lagos State, Hon. Kehinde Bamigbetan, has expressed his concern over the lack of understanding by the Council Chairmen of the constitutional roles bestowed on the journalists.

He said that the same 1999 constitution (as amended) that created the local government also empowered the press to make the government accountable.

Hon. Bamigbetan, who also served as two – term Chairman of the Ejigbo Local Council Development Area between October 2008 and October 2014, spoke in Ikorodu recently when he was the guest speaker at the panel session on, “Towards an effective local government administration”, organized by the Concerned Ikorodu Division Youths (CIDY).

“We have all decided to govern the country democratically. The same 1999 Constitution as amended, which created the executive offices of the chairmen and the legislative offices of the councillors, established the Press to make the government accountable to the citizens”, Bamigbetan said.

“It has been a matter of serious concern that the political class hardly factors the constitutional role of journalists into their conception of democracy. When they reluctantly do, they confuse their press secretaries with the Press.

The former Special Adviser on Communities and Communications to former Governor of Lagos State, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode, in his address, charged the political class to accept the reality that the media is still very much potent to make civil rule achieve its intended purposes.

He said that the operations of the community media have revealed that there is still much to be done about democratic rule.

“More than 20 years after we ushered in this democratic system, it is time for the political class to wake up to the reality that the same Press that fought for Nigeria independence in the 1920s, ’30s and ’40s, is still around to make democracy work in Nigeria today”, he said.

“The emergence of community media has added dimension to the landscape and showed that, like life, our democracy is still a work in progress”.

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