Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on Saturday urged the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) to ensure training and re-training of reporters to curb quackery and fake news.
Sanwo-Olu made the call at the inauguration of the remodelled Lagos NUJ Secretariat and conferment of Grand Matron Award on Rev. Mother Esther Ajayi, Founder, Love of Christ Generation Church C&S.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Ajayi was honoured for moving in her construction workers to take over the remodeled secretariat project from 30 per cent and building it to completion.
Sanwo-Olu, represented by the Commissioner for Information, Gbenga Omotosho, stressed the need to go back to the basics to sustain the journalism profession.
“All of us have to go back to the drawing board,” he said.
The governor expressed worry at the infiltration of the media profession by untrained practitioners dominating the social media and running commentaries as columnists, thereby increasing misinformation and disinformation.
Sanwo-Olu called for training and retraining of journalists to ensure good reporting of news and events in the nation and congratulated Lagos journalists on the remodeling of the edifice.
The President of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Chief Chris Isiguzo, also urged journalists to use their reportage to promote development and unity of the nation during the 2023 general elections and beyond.
Isiguzo thanked former Lagos NUJ council Chairperson, Funke Fadugba, immediate past Chairman, Dr Quasim Akinreti, and the incumbent, Adeleye Ajayi, for their contributions in purchase and remodeling of the secretariat.
He also thanked the government of Lagos State for financial support towards the project and commended Rev. Mother Esther Ajayi for her generosity of taking over construction from 30 per cent to completion.
“We have decided to name the conference hall of Ladi Lawal Press Centre after you,” he said.
The president, while conferring Grand Matron Award on the reverend mother, said that the union, in the past, usually relied on government and its agencies for support, but she had changed the narrative.
He said that she had given journalists the befitting edifice to give them “a unique sense of identity”.
The NUJ Lagos Council Chairman, Adeleye Ajayi, in his opening speech, also thanked the cleric and her husband, Dr Ademuyiwa Ajayi, who motivated her to support and complete the project.
He also thanked veteran journalist and former Ogun governor, Chief Olusegun Osoba, who inaugurated the first ever construction of the secretariat about 20 years ago and was again present to inaugurate the remodeled secretariat.
Ajayi reeled out achievements of his administration in the Lagos council, including capacity building and welfare programmes for journalists, and bold steps in realising visions of the union’s estate.
A former Chairman of the NUJ Lagos council, Fadugba, while giving a goodwill message, said she never knew when she bought the property 20 years ago that she was sowing a great seed.
She thanked Dr Quasim Akinreti, who had the vision for expansion, and Adeleye Ajayi who furthered the vision and completed the project.
Chief Olusegun Osoba led the gathering to sing songs of thanksgiving to God for the opportunity to be alive to see another inauguration of the remodeled secretariat he inaugurated 20 years ago after its purchase.
“Today is a day of joy,” he said, commending Rev. Mother Ajayi for completion of the project.
He thanked the council chairman for his tenacity and Isiguzo for ensuring more journalists got national honours.
Rev. Mother Esther Ajayi, who inaugurated the building and led dignitaries on a tour of the three- storey secretariat, urged residents to go out massively to vote new leaders in the forthcoming election.
She said beyond prayers, Nigerians must take physical step of going out to vote.
Rev. Mother Ajayi commended Sanwo-Olu’s administration, saying he was doing well and deserved a second term in office.
She said that residents were enjoying Lagos and expressed delight with the Blue line Rail Project.