With activities heighten ahead of the 2023 general elections, the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) has reaffirmed its neutrality on issues of politics and electioneering in particular.
Making its position known while receiving the acting Rivers State Publicity Secretary of All Progressives Congress (APC), Hon. Darlington Nwaulu in Port Harcourt on Thursday, the State Chairman of the NUJ, Comrade Stanley Job Stanley said rather than stand with any political party, the media stand on the side of the people.
He told the APC spokesperson, that journalists owe every member of the society, including political parties, a duty to defend and protect them at all times.
While commending the APC for appointing Hon. Nwaulu as acting spokesperson of the party in the state, the NUJ Chairman disclosed that he had known Nwaulu as a seasoned professional, even in personal capacity, and could attest to his capacity to deliver and launder the image of the APC in the state.
The NUJ Chairman said what the media wants to know from politicians is what they have for the people and not to call names and trade blames. He said: “There is nothing wrong in pointing out what this or that person has not done well. But such criticism should be constructive and in the best interest of the people. You could do that for others to take corrections”.
He told the APC team which also included one of the media officers, Mr. Ikechi Akpuh, that the NUJ would not support politics of blackmail, adding, “You don’t create falsehood just to gain cheap political points. Don’t do that; just tell the people what you will do for them, because today, the people are better informed.
“We are on the side of the people. That God that today, we have an electoral system that can be trusted to some extent. From what we have heard from other states where elections have been recently conducted, the system could be trusted to an extent. We are very happy that our votes will begin to count after all. But let it be known that NUJ is always on the side of the people”, he said, while stressing that the NUJ is available to serve any political party that is people-oriented.
Earlier, the acting state Publicity Secretary of the APC, Hon. Darlington Nwaulu said they were on the visit to seek the support of journalists in the state to, as he put it, ‘hear alternative voices, hear our manifesto and what we intend to do differently’.
Nwaulu said the APC is seeking for cooperation and understanding from the media, noting that his party is an opposition political party in the state. His words, “We may not have plenty of goodwill to dispense, however for the fact that the people of Rivers State deserves to hear alternative voices because constitutional democracy is all about pluralism of ideas. And so, they deserve to hear not only from the ruling party but from all fronts of the divide”.