By Ibrahim Kegbegbe

The Head of News and Current Affairs, Raypower Lagos, Abiola Aberuagba, has urged journalists; other Nigerian media professionals to be critical of the government and stay away from any political engagement to strengthen their respect and integrity in the country.

The renowned journalist, who was one of the judges in the 2023 student debate organized by the Nigerian Institute of Journalism Student Representative Council on Wednesday, gave the advice while addressing the students.

Aberuagba said that the topic of the debate, “The role of the media in political dispensation”, is relevant and critical at this time when Nigerians are going to the polls, adding that journalists should always be updated to inform the public. precisely so that citizens always make informed decisions.

“The issue has been genuinely addressed by the participants in the debate and I congratulate you all for the audacity you have shown, but the bottom line is that the ethics of journalism must be upheld at all times.”

“Most politicians’ campaigns are not issue-based, but it’s up to us to ask questions. In security, what are you doing for us? What are your educational plans? This is what we should be asking for to set the agenda for the public,” he said.

Another judge at the event, Lagos State Television (LTV) Head of News, Mr. Omololu Rosanwo, said the contestants had done well but needed to keep in mind the use of grammar.

A multifaceted politician and businesswoman, Ms. Yetunde Adedayo, said that journalism is an important tool to positively integrate the country, stressing that it should be used fairly.

He went further to say that he noticed some of the debaters were biased, as he felt they were logically supporting a political party rather than being neutral, adding that it reflected in their points even an unwary listener could understand.

“Well, you’ve done a great job, but you always need to show emotional intelligence in your report to get accurate and balanced reporting,” he said.

To balance the report, our reporter then called the candidate for governor under the platform of the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP) in Ogun State, Olufemi Ajadi, who is also an NIJ student, asking for his views on the matter.

Responding to some of the questions raised, Ajadi said that the media should go about their daily business making sure that all the candidates are well interviewed in their agenda for the people of Nigeria.

He went further to say that in this period of a political campaign, the media should keep records of the good or bad results of politicians for the sake of the future.

“The media must publish the electoral promises of all the candidates so that they are held accountable if they do not fulfill their promises,” he said.

Six of the twelve debaters spoke in favor of the issue and the other six spoke against it.

After the first; second and third rounds, Oluwaseun Muhammed came in first and received a Lenovo laptop. Oluwatobi Olawale, who came in second, received a Samsung Galaxy Tab, while Benita Mabawonku received a Samsung Galaxy phone as a prize for third place.