As politicians across the country prepare  for  2011 general elections, Rivers State Governor, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, has called on Nigerians to reject  political parties or politicians who have nothing to show for being in power in the forthcoming elections.

Rotimi Amaechi, River State Governor.

Governor Amaechi stated this today in his keynote address at  the Sixth All Nigerian Editors Conference in Port Harcourt which has as its theme Oil and Gas, Post-Amnesty and the Nigerian Editor.

Amaechi said: “Nigerians should insist on knowing what politicians or political parties, who want their votes to remain in power,  have done for the people. PDP, AC, PPA, ANPP and others should tell Nigerians what they have done for them before they ask for their votes. Hypocritical politicians who seek power for personal aggrandizement should be rejected and they should stop deceiving us.” On the freedom of Information Bill before the National Assembly, he said he supports the bill as long as it has a provision for criminal libel against any media practitioner that deliberately published what is incorrect.

The governor, who highlighted the advantages of a responsible media culture, urged media practitioners to be accountable to the public through factual reportage of events, emphasizing that it was the same way elected officers could be held accountable to the people that elected them.

He remarked that Nigeria stands on the threshold of history towards the 2011 elections and charged the media practitioners to play their roles through their editorials in the various media organizations.

The governor explained that the political parties must be prepared to show the electorate what they have done to seek for election, emphasizing that votes should count, for politicians to be more responsible.

The state chief executive noted that God has blessed Nigeria with natural resources in various parts of the country and enjoined the Nigerian Guild of Editors to push for fiscal federalism as a way of enhancing the development of the nation.  According to him, “oil and gas seem to have crippled the inherent but readily available mental capacity of our nation to engage itself fully with the lure of easy petro-dollar”, noting that the discovery of oil has ushered in misery to the Niger Delta people even as the Federal Government has not done any project in the state for the past 20 years.

Governor Amaechi, who highlighted his efforts in the establishment of the social rehabilitation institute to reform misguided youths, said the Federal Government needs to move fast in its Post Amnesty Programme to enable the ex-militants reintegrate into society.

At the event,  the Minister of Information and Communications, Prof. Dora Akunyili urged the Nigerian Guild of Editors to celebrate Nigeria as part of efforts of rebranding Nigeria.

She said time has come for the editors to believe in themselves and highlight some positive things that are happening in Nigeria in their publications.

On her part, the Rivers State Commissioner for Information and Communications, Mrs Ibim Semenitari thanked the Nigerian Guild of Editors for choosing Port Harcourt for their conference, and enjoined them to thank Governor Chibuike Amaechi for picking one of their members to serve in the State Executive Council.

The President, Nigerian Guild of Editors, Mr. Gbenga Adefaye described the conference as an opportunity to refocus as elections are approaching, adding that editors need to put public policies on the agenda while politicians play their game.

Amaechi, who also conducted the delegates round some projects executed by the state government, had earlier received the Nigerian Guild of Editors on a courtesy call at Government House, Port Harcourt, where he charged them to be responsible in the discharge of their duties to the society.

—Okafor Ofiebor/Port Harcourt