A chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and former Niger state Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism, Mr Jonathan Vatsa, has attacked the National Assembly over the media bill, which he said will die a natural death.
He described the bill as faceless, saying it is meant to cage the media ahead of 2023 general election.
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Reacting to the media bill which the red chamber of the National Assembly seems to have dissociated itself from it, in Minna on Wednesday, Vatsa said those behind the media are “living in the past”.
He said Nigerians are more sophisticated in their reasoning.
Vatsa noted that there is no amount of antics or maneuvering that can stop Nigerians from separating the good from the bad in 2023, adding that “any attempt to gag the media will end in futility.
“Unpopular media bill that will die a natural death the same way that the ‘unpopular hate speech bill’ died, you don’t bite a finger that fed you”.
“It is on record that the Nigerian media contributed to about 60 percent to the success of this government in 2014. We used the media, we enjoyed the patronage of the media in the run up to 2015 election, and for the same government now to want to gag the media is morally wrong.”
Vatsa recalled that as a publicity secretary of the ruling party in Niger state in 2014, he enjoyed support from the media.
“The media stood firmly for us and I can testify to that so why do we now want to cage the same media?
“Nigerians are wiser than they were before 2015, they can separate the good from the bad. So, with the media or without the media, everybody will answer his or her father’s name in 2023.
“Nigerians do not need the media to tell them that there is hunger and high level of poverty now in the country, that the price of food stuff and every other things have gone higher above the roof. Nigerians do not need the media to tell them that the level of insecurity in the country today is the highest since independent.
“Nigerians do not need the media to remind them that the Banditry activities across the country has changed their lifestyles, they can no longer travel freely, can not go to their farms and boarding schools are all closed.”
Vatsa, who is the Coordinator, public affairs to Governor Abubakar Sani Bello of Niger State, advised those behind the media bill to quietly withdraw it and throw it into the bin.
“The media is not the problem, and caging them will not solve the problem, there is no midway between success and failure. If we think we have failed then let us beg Nigerians for forgiveness but if we think that we have done well then let us wait till 2023 let Nigerians decide,” he said.