Gov. Rauf Aregbesola of Osun State has called on Nigeria journalists to rid their profession of quackery, extortion and unwholesome practices that have eroded its nobility.
Aregbesola gave this charge at the formal opening of the 2018 Press Week on Tuesday in Osogbo.
This is just as the state government announced the reversal of the two journalists, who were recently redeployed to secondary schools as a punitive measure.
The governor urged men of the pen profession to embrace quality control mechanism that will rid the noble profession of fake journalists.
Represented by his Senior Special Assistant on Media, Mr Yomi Obaditan, Aregbesola noted that though journalists are hard working, they encounter a lot of suffering largely due to low remuneration and poor condition of service.
He described journalists as the strong and dependable ally in nation building, urging them to appraise the society intelligently.
He said such appraisal should naturally translate to development framework for governments to work with at all levels.
Speaking on the theme of the event: “Budget Implementation: The Roles of the Media” the state Commissioner for Finance, Bola Oyebamiji noted that there could n0t have been a better time for the topic, considering the fact that many states were distressed, financially.
Acknowledging the roles of the media in the agitation for self-rule during the pre-independent Nigeria, Oyebamiji said the task of monitoring and evaluating the budget implementation also lie greatly on the media.
He charged journalists to put political office holders on their toes with a view to ensuring accountability and transparency in budget planning and implementation.
Oyebamiji, who was represented by Dr Olawole Tijani, the Senior Special Adviser, Finance identified creative and stable minded professionals as essential tools for national development.
The commissioner scored the state government high on budget preparation and implementation.
“It behoves journalists to be savvy in finance, budgeting, auditing and other relevant fields to be able to put the government on its toes so as to ensure that budget proposal is not just in line with the needs of the people but to be seen to be well implemented.
“Osun State followed the bottom-top approach religiously through the State’s Ministry of Budget and Planning led by a seasoned commissioner when preparing our budget.
“We have also made it a point of duty to make the state’s annual budget public online and offline on-demand.
“It may interest you to know that our 2017 budget recorded more than 42 per cent in performance and the 2018 budget will soon become law after rigorous scrutiny by the people’s parliament, Oyebamiji said.
Also speaking, representatives of Veteran Journalists in the state, Kayode Adedire and Justice Moshood Kunle Ajeigbe expressed worry over a situation where budgeting became overshadowed by uncanny political interests, leading to delay in budget passage.
Citing 2018 budget proposal as an example, the duo berated the National Assembly for delaying the passage of the budget to the middle of the year.
They alleged that the lawmakers have made a mockery of budgeting, making it impossible to operate the traditional January to December model.
Meanwhile, the state government has announced a reversal of the redeployment of two journalists in the employment of Osun State Broadcasting Service to secondary schools by the Chairman of OSBC Management Board.
The affected journalists are the Chairperson of the Nigeria Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ), Mrs Motunrayo Ayegbayo and the State Chairman of the Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN), Mr Adeyemi Aboderin.
The government claimed that the deployment was done in error and had subsequently been corrected.
By Adeyinka Aremu, Osogbo