The federal government has immortalised former Chief Press Secretary to President Muhammadu Buhari, Alhaji Wada Maida, by renaming the headquarters of News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) after him.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said yesterday that the government approved the proposal to immortalise the late Maida in recognition of the role he played in making NAN the respectable agency it is today in his lifetime.
He described the deceased as a colossus of journalism and a national icon, who deserved the honour being bestowed given his immense contribution to the development of journalism.
The minister noted that the late Maida’s accomplishment was not restricted to NAN alone as he was a former President of the Nigerian Guild of Editors, a distinguished member of the Newspaper Proprietors’ Association of Nigeria and a one-time Executive Director of the International Press Institute.
He said the brand of journalism he practised was developmental as he believed that journalism serves a higher purpose, which includes ensuring the development, peace and unity of a nation.
“It may seem obvious and trite, but for any professional, including a journalist, in Nigeria to be able to carry out his or her responsibility at all, the nation must first exist, in peace.
“In other words, if the country goes down, all professionals and everybody go down. It is that stark, and this is why I want to use this platform to appeal to our media to put Nigeria first,” Mohammed said.
The minister also poured encomiums on the military. He said the military deserved plaudits for earnestly tackling the security challenges in the North-West, North-East, South-East, South-West and the South-South.
He scorned the media for not reflecting the security challenges confronting the country, describing it as not only unfair and unpatriotic, especially to those who were sacrificing their lives to keep the country safe.
He also attributed whatever image deficit the country was suffering to media unflattering portrayal of the country, saying even when some media organisations report fake news, they never have the decency to retract such stories and apologise, as they behave as if nothing has happened.
“We are not saying the media should not report on the security challenges we face. All we are saying is: be fair and report accurately the efforts being made by the state and federal governments to tackle the challenges.
“Even if you don’t want to encourage the men and women in uniform fighting to keep us safe, please don’t discourage them with negative reporting.
“The security challenges we face today will be successfully tackled and Nigeria will not cease to exist, despite the antics of naysayers,” he added.