The gubernatorial aspirant of the National Conscience Party in Ogun State for the 2007 election, Ogbeni Lanre Banjo, has commended Channels Television for its in-depth documentary on the state of the Police College, Ikeja, Lagos. Banjo said Channels Television should be commended for exposing the rot in the police training institution.

In a statement on Tuesday, Banjo said: “As a chief purveyor of information and opinion about public affairs, Channels has fully demonstrated to be a true watchdog on government, enabling people to make informed decisions on the issues of the time. The Television Station exercised its unalienable rights to expose the ills in that police college where our fellow citizens are trained to protect us. The organization deserves encomium, and not condemnation. President Jonathan must acknowledge the role of Channels as an essential one for our democracy to function well. If we want to pass on a country that is safe, respected and admired around the world, journalists must be encouraged to emulate Channels TV.”


Banjo praised President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan for visiting the college to get first hand information on happenings there. He, however, faulted the statements made by Jonathan during the visit. While Ogbeni Banjo commended the President’s unscheduled visit, he profoundly denounced the his comments against Channels. “The president was elected to focus on jobs and the Channels TV has helped to direct his attention to the job, the president’s role is to applaud Channels, reward it and not to wonder how they got into the Police College.

“The President must understand that the role of citizens in our democracy does not end with our votes. “It continues after elections by keeping vigil over the performance of those in government and how our budgets at various levels are executed. It’s about what can be done by us together through the hard and frustrating, but necessary work of self-government. That’s the principle of democracy that Channels exhibited.

The deed of Channels Television is about our shared destiny. Our country can only work and be the envy of other nations when we accept certain obligations to one another and to future generations. Mr. President must realize that the freedom which so many Nigerians fought and died for come with responsibilities as well as rights. Among those duties are love, charity, duty and patriotism as exhibited by Channels, and the President must applaud it. The action of Channels TV is what will give us hope that Nigeria will be great. You as the President must give the citizens the reason to sustain that hope.

“When I talk about hope, I am not talking about blind optimism, the kind of hope that just ignores the enormity of the tasks ahead or the roadblocks that stand in our path or where we will pay lip services to reports that will not be executed. Here I refer to KPMG and Nuhu Ribadu reports which indicted some Nigerians of corrupt practices on the payments of oil subsidies and on which the President has refused to act. Therefore, I am not talking about the wishful idealism that allows us to just sit on the sidelines or shirk from a fight. This is how to affirm the promise of democracy, Mr. President.
“For your information, the rot is not confined to Police College, the new Airport built in Lagos, is already decaying. Even if the President and his ministers lack initiatives, they travel around the globe. They do not see any where women will be stationed at men’s toilets for the purpose of supplying toilet papers. Immigration and Customs are not exceptions to the deterioration. One just has to travel around Nigeria to see offices erected by palm leaves. This is a national shame.”

Ogbeni Banjo thus recommended: “Since the President wondered how the appropriations of the yester-years were spent and no one in the National Assembly has thought it fit to make a law that will require each institution of the government to conduct a stand alone annual forensic audit, the President should send a bill to the National Assembly requiring an audit that will be conducted by independent auditors. I am also disappointed by the leadership of the Institute of Chartered Accountants who had failed the nation by its delinquency in not stimulating and influencing public policy that will create businesses for its members and sanitize the society. This is how to create jobs, reduce corruption and the amounts of money being stolen by government officials.

“Mr. President, together, we can resolve to be a great nation that will care for the vulnerable, and protect its people from life’s worst hazards and misfortune. The media is not supposed to relinquish the citizens’ skepticism of central authority, nor should the citizens succumb to the fiction that all society’s ills can be cured through government alone. This is what Channels has demonstrated. We ask our citizens to recite National Pledge and Channels demonstrated the pledge; the President complained. What kind of signals is the President sending to other citizens?”


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