By Ikechukwu Okaforadi and Christiana Ekpa
The Senate yesterday said the Presidency should not use the broadcast agencies including the Nigeria Television Authority (NTA), Voice of Nigeria (VON), Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN), News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), among others for political agenda.
Speaking during the budget defence of the parastatals under the Ministry of Information, the chairman of Senate Committee on Information, Solomon Adokwe (Nasarawa North), said the purpose of creating agencies is primarily for service to Nigerians and not for the party in power.
He said the staff of the news agencies are being paid with money which collectively belong to Nigerians, adding that as such, their service should be to Nigerians first.
He said that during the government of ex President Goodluck Jonathan, the NTA and others were accused of being one sided, lamenting that today, the government of President Mohamnadu Buhari is doing the same thing it had condemned.
“In other climes, the broadcast industry is in the interest of the country and not for commercial or for the interest of the party in power. Nigerians pay them not the government, and their services should be to the nation.
“That is why the BBC can be against the government of that country sometimes. The country should decide if they want the outfits to be”, he said, adding that one thing that has been lacking is the political will of the President to allow them operate freely.
Speaking later with journalists on the letter which ex Predident Olusegun Obasanjo wrote to President Mohammadu Buhari concerning 2019 election, Adokwe said what Obasanjo said is his personal opinion.
He however differed from Obj by insisting that the PDP is a very viable option to APC, adding that the PDP is waiting for the third force to come on board.
He said the key politicians in Nigeria belongs to either PDP or APC, explaining that usually when people are in power, they are usually blindfolded, but see better after they leave office.
On if Buhari should re contest in 2019, he said he will want Buhari to contest because that will make it easier for PDP to defeat APC, but if Nigerians or his party tells him to step down, that will make it better for him.
Meanwhile, while speaking on the 2018 budget of the agencies, the chairman said the emphasis is to collect the collectible, even as he expressed hope that the 2018 will be better than what happened in the past year.