The Nigeria Union of Journalists NUJ, Rivers State Council, has congratulated governor Siminialayi Fubara and his deputy, Prof Ngozi Ordu, for their successful inauguration, today.
Fubara has taken over the leadership of the state as the 16th Governor of Rivers State, following his declaration by the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC, as the winner of the March 11, 2023, governorship election.
NUJ in a statement by its Chairman, Stanley Job Stanley and Secretary, Ike Wigodo, also commended the people of the state for their peaceful disposition before, during and after the election in the State.
The statement urged the new Governor to see himself as a servant-leader and not as a lord, advising him further to place the security and wellbeing of the citizenry above every other consideration.
While calling on the people of the State, especially the opposition, to cooperate with the new administration to enable it discharge its constitutional responsibilities to the citizenry, the Union enjoined the new Governor to settle down for real governance and also treat everybody equally irrespective of their political or religious persuasions.
“As the new father of the State, it is imperative for the new governor to treat everybody in the State, irrespective of political or religious leaning, with equanimity and balance. The Governor should be magnanimous in victory and be inclusive in his administration. Election is over. The Governor and his cabinet should settle down for real governance and make judicious use of Rivers resources for the welfare and wellbeing of the citizenry.
“As a young man, former Permanent Secretary and Accountant General in the State, the Governor has the energy and the requisite experience in public service, to consolidate on the gains of his predecessors and also fill in the gaps left by previous administrations in the State”, the Union stated.
NUJ, however, noted with regret that journalists in the State did not enjoy the needed support and cooperation under the last administration led by Chief Nyesom Wike, and appealed to Sir Fubara to extend his hands of fellowship to members of the Fourth Estate of the Realm in the State.
The union decried the state of neglect suffered by the State-owned media under the Nyesom Wike administration and urged the new Governor to breathe new life into the State-owned newspaper, radio and television in the State.
According to NUJ, all the State-owned media organisations in the State are finding it difficult to breathe and exhale.
“It is a sad paradox that while the national media are enjoying high patronage of the Rivers State Government, The Tide newspaper which is the signature and identity of Rivers people is ebbing. Radio Rivers and Rivers State Television (RSTV) are suffocating, while Garden City FM is gasping for survival, no thanks to the total neglect and low patronage enjoyed by these State-owned media under Nyesom Wike’s administration.
“We, therefore, urge the new government under Sir Siminialayi Fubara to revive and revamp these media organisations for optimal performance.
“In the same manner, the last administration led by Chief Nyesom Wike did not extend its hands of fellowship to journalists in the State as it was under previous administrations. While the Legislature and the Judiciary were well taken care of by his government, the Fourth Estate of the Realm was completely neglected and treated with leprous hand. This was not good enough for the government that daily made use of the mass media for eight years!
“We, therefore, appeal to Governor Siminialayi Fubara to see NUJ as a partner in progress, reconnect and re-establish a good relationship that hitherto existed between the Rivers NUJ and the Rivers State Government”, NUJ stated.
The Union expressed its readiness to work with the Fubara administration and make its sincere contributions to the political and socio-economic growth of Rivers State.
“This we will do through constructive engagements, healthy criticisms, sound advice and suggestions on how best to achieve system cohesion and comprehensive progress for the State”, the statement added.
NUJ also enjoined the new administration to give attention to manpower development in the State by prioritizing the welfare of civil servants in the State who were denied promotion and increments for eight years by the last administration, as well as create jobs for unemployed youths in the State.
The statement noted that despite successes recorded by the Wike administration in the area of infrastructure, his government neglected the State civil service.
It, therefore, enjoined the new governor to revive the State civil service by implementing workers’ promotion, ensuring prompt payment of gratuities and pensions to retirees, as well as provide good and conducive working environment for public servants in the State.
“We are delighted that the new governor, Sir Siminialayi Fubara, being a former civil servant himself, is more of a technocrat than a politician, and therefore, would understand the language of the civil service better. It, therefore, behooves him to turn things around for civil servants in the State”, the Union said.
NUJ further prayed for peace, progress and development of Rivers State and also prayed to God to give Governor Fubara and his deputy, Professor Ngozi Odu, the wisdom and guidance to steer the ship of governance in the State.