A call has been made for reciprocity on a diplomatic level, following xenophobic attacks against Nigerians and other Africans in South Africa.
Rising from its 2017 quarterly standing committee meeting in the South-Western state of Osogbo, the Osun State capital, the Nigerian Guild of Editors, NGE asked government to, as a matter of national interest, apply the country’s foreign policy of reciprocity.
Condemning the continuous xenophobic attacks on Nigerians and other African nationals in South Africa, the editors expressed dismay at the conspiratorial silence of senior South African nationalists who were fully aware of the enormous contributions of Nigeria to the liberation of South Africa from the apartheid regime.
NGE President, Funke Egbemode remarked that South Africans were in Nigeria running successful businesses and warned that the violent actions of South Africans could push Nigerians to retaliate.
“Just as Nigerians are passionate about protecting their South African friends, they can also be passionate in protecting their own nationals,” he said.
Egbemode noted that the South African Institute of International Affairs recorded that Nigeria spent a whopping $61bn between 1960 and 1995 in the fight against apartheid.
The Guild, however appealed to Nigerians resident in South Africa to remain calm, law-abiding and go about their legitimate businesses even in the face of provocation.
Speaking after she led the NGE Standing Committee members on an inspection of some state projects in Osogbo, Egbemode described Mr Rauf Aregbesola as a visionary governor who has not only opened Osun to the entire world but has also set the state on the right pedestal of development.
She also commended him for putting in place, projects that have a direct bearing on the lives of people in the state.
Some of the projects visited by the NGE team include the 18 kilometre Oba Adesoji Aderemi East By-Pass; 3,000 students capacity Ataoja Government High School, Osogbo Government High School, Nelson Mandela Freedom Park and Atewogbeja Fountain as well as the rehabilitated Nigeria Railway Terminus and park, among others.
Egbemode, who is also the Managing Director of the New Telegraph Newspaper attributed the development and progress of Osun to the atmosphere of peace and security being enjoyed in the state.
“However ambitious any chief executive of a state is, he can only achieve little without peace and security. It is obvious that something has changed in Osun and there has been a significant improvement in terms of infrastructures in the state since the present administration came on board,” she said.
“It is gratifying to note that the state of Osun, especially the state capital is now looking cleaner,developed and beautiful. The state has moved forward tremendously under Aregbesola, I am always impressed by any government that is passionately working to leave the state better than it met it,” she said.
The President of the Guild of Editors also commended the governor for attracting businesses and investors to the state through its various masses-friendly programmes, such as the Osun school feeding programme, O’Meal; Osun Youth Empowerment Scheme, O’yes among others.
Advice to media professionals
The elated Governor Rauf Aregbesola expressed happiness with the pass mark he received from the senior pen pushers and promised to do more.
In his advice, Aregbesola urged media professionals to be mindful of the impact of what they write about the society.
“Criticism is an elixir of life. If you want to get far in life you must be willing to accept criticisms. But then journalists must also be conscious of what they push to the public and be mindful of its repercussion,” he said.
“We should not put out things that will cause crisis because when there is crisis there is no discrimination about who is to be a victim. We all will stand the risk of being victims of any crisis situation. Thus journalists must always exercise caution in the way and manner they report events,” the governor advised.
The Governor remarked that more than 70 percent of the nation’s oil resources goes to less than one percent of the total population, leaving a large number of the populace living below poverty line.
The Governor attributed the nation’s economic problem and the poverty ravaging millions of people to lack of productivity.
“If we have ever paused to ask why we are; how we are in this nation, we will discover that lack of productivity is at the root of our economic problems.
Therefore, for as long as we don’t work for this wealth, it will lead to lack of productivity. Work must be the major attraction for all of us rather than our heavy reliance of rent seeking oil economy at present,” he said.