Ibim Semenitari, a former commissioner for information in Rivers, says Nigerians must understand how much power they have to demand good governance from leaders.
Speaking on Wednesday at TheCable Colloquium, the former commissioner said investigative journalism must serve as the catalyst to ignite the “anger” in the people for the demand of good governance.
Semenitari, who was a former acting managing director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NCDC), said investigation journalism must be deployed to monitor government programmes and policies in a bid to hold leaders accountable.
“The first thing, quite frankly, the citizens need to understand how much power they actually have. That is why the journalists are very important and the stories an investigative journalist does,” she said.
“For us as investigative reporters, we are actually the catalyst that will ignite the people-led demands. How? It is in our ability to keep our eyes on the story.
“So, if the government comes and I say ‘I promise you that by the end of year, this budget can deliver xyz’, investigative reporting enables us to stay on that matter until it is done.
“The first thing for us as investigative reporters is to ignite the anger. When we have ignited the anger, we must again collaborate, as I keep talking about.
“As citizens, we must begin to form coalitions where we demand the things that are due to us. It is by the way a government of the people by the people for the people.
“We must begin to allow those at the other side (referring to leaders) understand that they owe to us to deliver on education. So, if you tell us you are giving 30 percent to education, the news report must show whether 30 percent was spent and the people must demand that that 30 percent is spent.
“That is where the citizens come. The citizens are going to be propelled by us (referring to investigative journalists).”
Source: Policy Radar