Professor Pat Utomi, the founder of centre for leadership and values has said that the reason development in Nigeria is at a slow pace is because the media which is a cardinal driver of development was very underfunded and so cannot perform optimally.
Utomi who was in Awka to present a lecture to mark the 30th anniversary of the Anambra Broadcasting Service(ABS), Television and Radio said for Nigeria to develop, the media must be equipped to discharge its function, which includes acting as watchdog of the society.
Speaking on the topic; Media, Politics and Nation Building, Utomi said that President Obama of the USA was right when he declared in Ghana that what Africa needs is not strong people but strong institutions, saying that the media is one of such strong institutions which if strengthened will bring about faster development.
“The media houses in Nigeria are underfunded, they can not provide the necessary tools for their staff, so when the staffs go out there they mess themselves and the company up. That is why the media can not carry out its task effectively.
“Media has influence in the society and to ignore it is to ignore growth and development. Politicians take advantage of their being underfunded and destroy the media by corrupting it. So, if we must make progress, we must support the media and fund it properly,” Utomi said.
Anambra State governor, Chief Willie Obiano who was the special guest at the occasion in his remark said that his government understands the importance of the media and has since the inception of his administration consulted experts on how to strengthen the state government owned media houses.
He said the event is special to him as it is coming at a time when he is warming up to celebrate his one year in office, and that he is happy that under him, the ABS has been greatly empowered to do their job and also showcase the rich culture of the state.
“The giant strides we have made in the state since I came on board can not be known to the people without the media. My government is very friendly to the media, and we seek to support it in any way that we can.
“That is why we have resolved to build ABS to be strong enough. The digital equipments which we spent a lot of money to purchase have arrived, and we have been talking with experts on how we can build the station into a world class station, and they have assured me about that.”
Obiano said that in less than six weeks, the equipments will be installed, and that he has charged the media experts working with his government to turn things around in the station and make it the CNN of Nigeria.
He said he is aware that just purchasing equipments wont do the magic, so he has made adequate plans to train and retrain the staffs of the organization to meet the needs of the just arrived equipments and he is hopeful that the problem of funding for the station would have been over.