by crossriverwatch admin
Barrister Mike Igini, the Cross River State Resident Electoral Commissioner REC has said that the media is critical to the development of democracy and citizen participation in government.
He made this assertion at the 1st Anniversary Lecture of CrossRiverWatch which held recently at the Transcorp Metro Hotel in Calabar.
Barrister Igini who was the Chairman of the occasion said in his opening remarks that the lecture will throw more light upon how democracy can be strengthened by the provision of a platform that engages all the stakeholders to meet the expectations of democracy while admonishing participants to take away some enduring lessons that will enhance how they individually participate in the different spheres to deliver on the promises of democracy.
Below is the full text of Barrister Igini’s remarks:
Being a Text of the Remarks of Barrister Mike Igini, REC Cross River State on the Occasion of the 1st Annivasary of The Cross River Watch Lecture titled: The Role of Community Journalism in Strengthening Democracy:
Your Excellency; Governor Liyel Imoke ( Governor of Cross River State)
Members of the Legislature here present
All protocols duly observed,
I esteem it a privilege to be asked to chair this very important occasion.
While many say that democracy is the government of the people, for the people and by the people, others provided different definitions of democracy, which are all contested, but the central notion informing the concept assumes that everyone in a community or nation is equally represented or has a say in deciding how they or their interests are represented, to ensure development which provides them opportunities for prosperity through secure, economic, social, mental and physical well-being.
Underpinning that assumption in practical terms, therefore, is the need to allow free and considerable participation of everyone in the processes of governance, either directly or through representatives that were chosen through free unfettered competition to confer legitimacy to their representation of the different shades of society’s interest
To ensure that this representation is actually meeting the mandate of electors (voters) a continuous process and platform is provided for the engagement, interfacing and interaction between, the key players in governance, namely the government sphere, the markets, the civil society and the community, that platform is the media constitutionally provided in section 22 of the 1999 constitution.
The media provides, enlarges and extends the platforms for citizens to participate in government either as members of political party in power or as members of opposition to ensure the reality of government by discuss which is what democracy is all about in the final analysis. Platforms of public information and education like CrossRiverWatch performs the constitutional responsibility of holding government accountable to the people in the fulfillment of the fundamental objectives and Directive Principles of state policies and thus ensure the key ingredient of participation which is necessary for development.
As I said the definitions of democracy are contested, there are those who believe that it merely provides a decision making process for selecting the representatives of the people, others like the minimalist school of democracy argues that the outcomes of democracy should not rely on the selection process alone but on many issues outside leadership, whereas the maximalist insist that democracy must also meet the goals of social justice, egalitarianism and the other promises of welfare for the people who select leaders to represent their interests.
Whichever school of democracy we subscribe to, this lecture will throw more light upon how democracy can be strengthened by the provision of a continuous platform that engages all the stakeholders to meet the expectations of democracy, as we listen, we hope to take away some enduring lessons that will enhance how we individually participate in the different spheres to deliver on the promises of democracy.
That promise, equal opportunities for development should constantly guide all role players in the democratic project, because the success of democracy is best judged not by how equal people are in a society, but by the equality of opportunities for development provided to all in a society, How has the CrossRiverWatch project helped to keep this goal in our consciousness over the last one year?
Today we will find out how this has been achieved and what can be done to enhance it further.
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