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World Press Day: Ozigbo fetes Nigerian press, calls for total press freedom

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By Gabriel Chy Alonta

Valentine Ozigbo, aspirant in the forthcoming Anambra elections, from the umbrella of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), has lauded the Nigerian press as critical in developing the country and Nigeria’s democracy. 

In a statement marking World Press Day, issued from his office in Udoka Estate, Awka, the capital of Anambra state, on Monday, May 3, 2021, Mr. Ozigbo called for total press freedom in the country while describing the media as “the defenders of our democracy.” 

He called for strategic institutional investment in the media, stressing the importance of the media in nation-building.

“Today, I celebrate the Nigerian press for their resilience and commitment to the professional and the development of Nigeria,” Ozigbo said. 

“Our journalists operate under some of the harshest work conditions in the world, yet they continue to play their role in building Nigeria and growing our democracy. 

“I commend the Nigerian press for staying strong, sticking to their commitment, and defending the nation while many other institutions in the country have caved. 

“Any nation that wishes to progress must guarantee the free flow of information and it is essential that the threats and clampdown on journalists are immediately stopped. 

“Rather than censorship, governments should be entering into partnerships with the media by strategically investing in strengthening and equipping the press to carry out its responsibilities of informing, educating, and enlightening Nigerians,” the respected business leader said. 

Ozigbo, reiterated his belief in the power of the press and the need for open governments. 

He called on the federal government to respect the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act and revealed his plan to send a Freedom of Information bill to his State House of Assembly if elected as the governor of Anambra state.

The PDP faithful, promised that if elected, he would set a new standard for how governments should engage and partner with the press to advance society and deepen the democratic process. 

“If I am elected governor of Anambra, I will send a freedom of information bill to my state legislature for action. Information is power, and it is time our people are given access to power in a meaningful way,” he added. 

Ozigbo also called on the Nigerian press to take proactive steps in improving standards of practice, upskilling journalists and media practitioners, and seeking private sector investment into the media space.

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