By Emmanuel Mogbede
The All Progressives Congress (APC) National Stakeholders Forum has commended the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) for being objective and neutral in news dissemination.
Retired Col. Abdulmumini Aminu, the leader of the forum said this when he led a delegation of the forum on a visit to Mr Buki Ponle, the NAN Managing Director on Wednesday in Abuja.
He said the visit was to appreciate the agency ahead of the May 29 inauguration of Sen. Bola Tinubu, the President-elect.
He said the programmes included a prayer session and recognition of some state governors that played vital role by standing with the APC and its presidential candidate leading to victory at the Feb. 25 presidential election.
He said that if the governors did not take the bold step they took ahead of the election, the situation would have been different.
Aminu added that the visit was also to express gratitude to NAN for its commitment to national development.
“We want to thank you as a media organisation that played a major role to ensure the success of 2023 general elections by remaining neutral while educating Nigerians on the electoral processes.
“We have come to thank you for the role you played especially during the campaign period and for being the mother of other news outfits in this country, because we know they are all under NAN.
“If you did not play that fantastic role, may be the scenario may have changed, so we are very grateful to NAN,’’ Aminu said.
He said that the forum was not only interested in the development of the APC, as it was also interested in the development and unity of the country.
Aminu, a former military governor of Borno, added that there was no way Nigeria can develop as a country without peace.
He stressed the need for Nigerians to come together to support the in-coming government of Tinubu, saying he was a committed Nigerian.
“Most of us have known him over the years, he is a man with great pedigree, he is a committed true Nigerian who believes in human capital development and the development of this country,’’ he said.
He described the former two-term Lagos State governor as a very brilliant, sharp and alert individual that should be supported by all to enable him replicate what he did in Lagos for the whole country.
He expressed optimism that Tinubu would assemble the right caliber of people in his cabinet to work with, adding that he should be supported by all in the interest of the country.
He said that the country lacked unity, saying there was need to change the narrative for the country to move forward.
“Division in the country is too much, we only think about religion and tribe, and that is why we are lagging behind, this can never take us anywhere,’’ he said.
He said there was need to sensitise Nigerians on the need to come together to work towards building a united country and achieving a common goal.
“Nigeria is great, but we must realise that Nigeria is greater than any individual, group or section; I am not apportioning blame on one particular section of the country.
“But I think it is high time we come together and realise that we must think together and alike in the country`s interest because we cannot continue to be left behind,’’ he said.
Responding, Ponle, thanked the forum for the recognition and assured of NAN’s continued cooperation.
He lauded the group for starting its programme with prayers which he said was essential in every human existence.
”Whatever we do in life, irrespective of our religious leanings, prayer is the answer as it is only God that can make everything work,” he said.
Ponle commended the group for recognising individuals who made positive impact on the country`s development.
“Nigeria is a great country, but we can make it greater through our deeds, actions, associations and pronouncement.
“We can make it greater than the so called great countries of the world, because they do not have anything that we do not have.
“All we need, is leadership, prayers, direction and focus,’’ he said, adding that Nigeria would be great again because it had everything to achieve it.
He stressed the need for unity of purpose in the country, saying that the APC won the 2023 presidential election because it had unity of purpose.
“They did not allow frivolities, rumblings, greed, selfishness and inconsideration becloud their sense of focus,’ he said.
While congratulating the APC for the victory at the poll, the NAN MD urged the party to remain united, adding that unity within the party, would translate to national unity since it was the party in government.
He said that the negative narration about Nigeria was only a perception.
”With unity, we could achieve greatness in the country.
“I believe that in a matter of time, Nigeria will regain that seemingly lost glory that is just around the door step.
“But we need everybody to work hard, greatness cannot be attained without hard work, unity and planning; we have planned, and we are getting to that part of progress, so I urge you all to carry Nigeria in high esteem.
“On our part, we shall continue to be what we are, objectivity has always been our focus, we report objectively right from inception, and we have not deviated from that,’’ Ponle said.
He said the agency could not afford to make a mistake because it was serving not just Nigeria, but the entire world, making Africa as a centre piece.
He added that the agency was poised for positive reportage in the interest of the country, Africa and the world generally.
“NAN is a creation of the Federal Government, we are to serve the government, to defend the unity and uphold the integrity of the country just like the Armed Forces too.
“But we will not sacrifice objectivity on the altar of any other thing, we will remain objective in our course,’’ he said.
He thanked the forum for appreciating the agency, saying it would ginger it to do more. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Abubakar Ahmed