The Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives, Rt Hon. Benjamin Kalu has called on the Online Media Practitioners Association of Nigeria(OMPAN) and other media practitioners in the country to work closely with the government at all levels to help build the South East zone and the nation at large.

RT. Hon Kalu also added that, as the watchdog of the society, OMPAN members and journalists at large should point the right direction for people to follow by selling Nigeria positively to the world.

The Deputy Speaker who made this disclosure while interacting with the members of Online Media Practitioners Association of Nigeria who paid him a courtesy visit in Umuahia on Saturday said media practitioners as critical stakeholders play important role in the development of every nation,while inviting members of OMPAN and other media practitioners in the country to join hands with him to sell Abia State, South East zone and Nigeria positively to the world.

Continuing, he urged journalists to help put the political leaders on their toes by engaging them constructively to ensure accountability and transparency through investigative journalism and well-researched information, advising them to avoid making hasty conclusion leading to churning out piece of information to the public which is capable of destroying not only South East zone but Nigeria.

In his words: “You are nation Builders I said so because you put leaders like us on our toes. Make sure as watch dog of the society that you point to the right direction on what is needed to be done, and I beg of you, do so constructively to avoid churning out piece of information that can lead to the underdevelopment of the country.

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” So, I urge you to learn how to use your job appropriately, criticize constructively and use it for nation building. Put some effort into what you are doing.

“A good journalist should be interested in investigative journalism and invest in research than hasty conclusion which temporarily you will embrace incentives but in the long run people will not take you seriously.

” My desire is to work closely with you so that we can sell the South East positively and Nigeria to the world. Stop looking for bad news to get traffic, the more you publish the bad news, the more you scare away the investors.

” Sell the State ,sell the nation, talk about good things and project them, sell the good aspect of our leaders and do not create fear, panic that is what I noticed journalists are doing these days.
Please play it down because the more you do it, the more you put fear in people. You have a role to play as Journalists, as nation builders.

“We need your help when it comes to peace in the South East.The entire South East has for the first time come together because people are in pursuit of peace, security, unity and you have a role to play to ensure that peace.

” It is not politics, It has to do with healing the hearts.What government thinks before is that kinetic approach can achieve peace,but we are taking bold steps on how we can build peace using non-kinetic approach.

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” We want to embark on various interventions to heal the wounded hearts in the South East and we started by lobbying for the South East Development Bill,in which we will use the Federal Government fund to rebuild the South East and the damage caused by the war.

“Guns cannot fix our broken hearts , barrels of guns cannot rebuild the damage infrastructure.Peace in the South East Project (PISE-P) is lobbying for a bigger portion that will bring a bigger picture. Join hands with us and be an advocate of peace in South East ” he pleaded.

Kalu who promised to support and partner with OMPAN, urged members to upgrade their knowledge on the new media space, he also noted that it is becoming highly competitive,especially with the emergency of Artificial Intelligence.

Earlier, the Chairman of Online Media Practitioners Association of Nigeria and leader of the delegation Chief Promise Uzoma Okoro said they came to pay a courtesy visit to the Deputy Speaker House of Representatives to congratulate him on his elevation as the Deputy Speaker as well as to interface with him on the area of information and communication.

In his closing remarks,the National president of OMPAN, Mr James Emeh expressed appreciation to the Deputy Speaker for the audience giving to the association as well as his promise to partner with the Online Media Practitioners Association of Nigeria.

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