Immediate past Governor of Delta state, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, has urged leaders at all levels to be careful of their actions and utterances, in view of the way of the new medium, social media, disseminate stories.
Uduaghan gave the warning Tuesday, in Asaba, at a lecture organised to mark the 2017 Press Week of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), with the title, “Good governance, journalists and social media.”
He described social media as a leveller, in the sense that everybody has access to it, irrespective of social-economic and political status.
“Because of the access, it gives us the opportunity to air our minds, including the good, the bad and the ugly. The other good thing is that it is very fast. It has the advantage of being fast, but that speed also has disadvantages. If a wrong message is passed, it sticks,no matter how you try to correct it,” he said.
The former Governor who made reference to a story in the social media which alleged that he left a huge debt of N700bn to the administration of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, said operators of social media must be careful not to feed the public with the wrong information.
“They initially said the debt was N700bn, then N300bn and now they said N200bn.
“But leaders are being kept on their toes, they must be very careful. Before now, it used to be on the papers which many people have access to. The era of social media has made leaders to be accountabke. The ear of social media has made leaders to be more accountable to the people they lead,” he said.
While noting that whistle blowing, blackmail and petition writing have become lucrative businesses in the country, Uduaghan however noted that most of the petitions written to security agencies have no basis.
“The number of whistle blowers and petitions have increased. Unfortunately, most of these petitions have no basis. Your duties as journalists is to take the story from the blackmailers, help to reduce the benefits that blackmailers are getting,” he said.
He however appealed to the government to help check the activities of blackmailers, noting that their activities could become detrimental to the security of the state.
Uduaghan noted that good governance is possible and achievable through the journalists and the social media.
In his speech, the South-South Vice President of the NUJ, Mr. Edward Akpati-Ogude, who represented Mr. Waheed Ogunsile, President of the NUJ, said the Union will continue to partner with the government “to ensure that we report with firmness and fairness.”