Northern Broadcast Media Owners Association (NBMOA) has urged the media not to renege on its agenda setting role, especially with the 2023 general elections around the corner.
Alhaji Abdullahi Yelwa, Acting Chairnan of the organisation gave the charge at a news conference on Tuesday in Abuja.
He said the media was critical to the education of the electorate to make informed choices and elect desirable political leaders in every country.
He noted that one of the most important functions of the media was the power and responsibility of setting agenda for nations.
According to Yelwa, the goal is to focus public attention and political resources on a few, but critical policy issues for the development of the nation.
“Not only do the citizenry acquire factual information about public affairs from news media.
“They also know how much importance to attach to a policy area on the basis of the emphasis placed on it in the news.
“So, the agenda setting role of the media is critical to the education of the electorate to make informed choices and elect desirable political leaders,” he said.
He added that it was more expedient and desirable as we prepared for the 2023 general elections.
Yelwa said the end of President Muhammadu Buhari’s tenure would mark the end of an epoch and an important turning for Nigerian politics.
According to him, the administration that succeeds Buhari must therefore of necessity, have a clear agenda for the governance of the country.
He added that as part of its agenda setting responsibilities, the media must therefore invite all political leaders, especially aspirants or candidates seeking political office to come up with clear policies
This, he said, should include prescriptions for addressing the challenges facing the country, adding that the North for instance was being confronted by a unique set of existential challenges.
This, he said, included the scourge of banditry, terrorism, Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), drug abuse, rural poverty, out of school children, youth unemployment, begging and threat of hunger among others.
Yelwa said these had become epidemic that had defied solutions, stressing that they were issues that should therefore be at the centre of political discuss.
“The attention of any political leader seeking the votes of the Northern electorate should therefore be focused on these issues.The North experience the larger percentage of these myriad of existential challenges.
“Unfortunately, however, political discuss appears to overlook these important concerns of the North,”he said.
He added that it was unfortunate that efforts of our political leaders were centered on political brinkmanship and peripheral issues.
He further stressed that we were yet to see a clear manifesto from any party or political aspirant clearly spelling out remedies for salvaging the country.
He said a recent opinion survey conducted by the association, revealed a thorough lack of knowledge by the electorate on the policy positions of even the leading political aspirants.
This, he said, was especially on how to tackle terrorism and other ills bedeviling the country.
Yalwa, therefore, urged aspirants, especially presidential, governorship and National Assembly aspirants to avail themselves of the association’s various platforms to market their political agenda to the people of the North and the country generally.
“NBMOA has over 100 radio and television stations, spread across the North, broadcasting in English, Hausa, Yoruba, Fulfulde, Kanuri, Pidgin, Tiv, Idoma, Nupe, Angas.
“This include other major languages widely spoken in the North, we enjoy an audience of over 65 million listeners, there is therefore no better medium of reaching the North.
“This is therefore a call for a partnership for the political development of our region and nation.
“We shall engage more robustly with political parties and political office aspirants to educate the electorate to make informed choices about the future of their country,” he assumed.(newsatlarge.ng)