Mr. John Bray, the United States Consul General to Nigeria has said Nigeria has a key role to play on world stage as the leader of Africa. He made this statement during the celebration of the 2018 World Press Freedom Day held at Radisson Blue Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos on Thursday May 3, 2018.
This year’s celebration with the theme “Media and the Transparency of the 2019 Election” was put together by the US Mission in Nigeria as part of its contribution to having free and fair elections in Nigeria.
According to the Consul General, the United States values freedom of the press as a key component of democratic governance.
Bray who have been in Nigeria for nearly six years, CG since 2015, visited each of the 17 states in southern Nigeria, almost all of them on multiple locations, spoken with hundreds, perhaps thousands of Nigerians about democracy, elections, and the history of Nigeria, was of the firm conviction that Nigeria has a vibrant democracy.
“Democratic societies are not infallible but they are accountable, and the exchange of ideas is the foundation for accountable governance.
“Peaceful and credible elections are essential to Nigeria’s continued economic, political, and social development so I am interested in your discussion today on media and the transparence of the 2019 election.
Bray said Nigeria has a vital role to play on the world stage and “as the largest economy in sub-Saharan Africa, Nigeria’s stability is crucial to the security and economic prosperity of the rest of the continent”.
Nigeria’s future is full of promise and opportunity.
Bray, who was a journalist before joining the US Department of State, said the U.S. government is dedicated to supporting Nigerians in ensuring that the 2019 elections will be transparent, credible, and peaceful.
He said reporters and editors have an important role to play in the electoral process by fostering active debate, providing investigative reporting, and serving as a forum to express different point of view. “The people of Nigeria rely on your unbiased and accurate coverage of the campaign season and the elections. That is why your role is so important”.
Bray disclosed that the U.S. Mission will be supporting Nigerian journalists in their efforts to provide objective and balanced reporting to the Nigerian people, as the 2019 election draws near. To this end, the Public Affairs team here in Lagos led by Darcy Zotter will be putting together an election reporting training for 100 political reporters and editors which will be held in four cities across southern Nigeria, and will be co-facilitated by Voice of America’s Director of International Media Training and a renowned Nigerian journalism professor.
“This support is designed to help the media further appreciate their huge responsibility of reporting accurately on elections and electoral processes” Bray said.