By Archibong Jeremiah, House Of Assembly Correspondent
Exactly three months since Hon. John Gaul Lebo, Speaker Cross River State House of Assembly (CRSHA) announced the opening of the first ever media center for the Cross River House of Assembly Correspondents, the Chairman Cross River chapter of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Pastor Ndoma Akpet, has expressed concern about the delay in setting it up considering the urgency with which the project was conceived.
The NUJ Chairman barred his mind recently when he led a delegation to the Speaker’s office to intimate the number three citizen of the forthcoming Press Week in the state.
Akpet said, “The House has drawn itself closer to the media especially when you conceived the idea of a media center, we thought the media center will be something of urgency given the heat as at the time it was conceived.
“And we thought we would be able to play an active role in suggesting how it could look like but, so far we have not heard from you, so we don’t know whether the idea is still going on or is kept in view”.
According to the Pastor, the media center project will go a long way in adding value to the democratic and governance process in the state because the media is just not an outlet to inform people but it also serve as a memory bank, he added.
The NUJ Chairman who was accompanied by some of his exco members and members of Congress Planning Committee (CPC) informed the Speaker that the theme of this year’s press week, “will be centered on urgent issues bothering our national life, the trying times presented by the economy on the change mantra”.
While soliciting the support of the Assembly for the press in the State, Pastor Ndoma ended by urging the House to pass a legislation that will carve out a stipend for the Union from the Government to sustain media houses, citing the example of Akwa Ibom and Benue State where media organization enjoy such subvention from government. He disclosed that all efforts by the union to actualize that plan with the last administration did not work.
Responding, the Speaker revealed that the delay in actualizing the media center is because they want to make sure it is well equipped urging journalists to bear with them.
After commending his visitors he assured the union of the support of the Assembly in ensuring that the Press Week is memorable.
He emphasized the critical role of the press in the growth of any society which he said is dependent on the level of awareness of its populace with the media as the conveyor belt of information.
The Speaker urged the organizers to include as part of the program, a lecture centered on the role of information to the legislature.
Earlier, the Chairman of the Congress Planning Committee, Judex Okoro who doubles as the Correspondents Chapel Chairman said the Press Week will commence on the 22nd – 28th November, 2015.
According to him the proposed activities for the week include “Keynote Lecture by Senator Godswill Akpabio, Garba Mohammed, former NUJ President who is now the Chief Press Secretary to the Kano State Governor will be Guest Lecturer, media walk, novelty match between Assembly wives and National Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ), scrabble, tennis, football and draft” competitions.
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