Following the battle between the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Delta state commissioner for finance, Olorogun David Edevbie, on Monday, said that as Nigerians move towards the 2019 general elections, the maturity of the nation’s burgeoning democracy is being tested.
He said: “The period we are at the moment is the period where democracies are made or destroyed. And I’m hoping that you will see this test very soon come 2019 general elections. We have gone through the period where the opposition PDP in 2015 lost the election and peacefully handed over to the incoming party, the APC.”
Edevbie, who was in the government of James Ibori and a gubernatorial aspirant in the run off to the 2015 general elections in Delta state, said following the signs of the times, there is a high possibility of the PDP winning the presidential election but it is a big test to see the willingness of the present ruling APC to hand over power peacefully if it loses to the PDP.
He, however, said following the outcome of the Osun and Ekiti elections, the signs are not very encouraging, insisting, though, that those two elections were isolated cases as they could not be used as parameters to judge the outcome of a general election where almost all states will be involved.
He noted that it is what happens in the general elections that could be used to determine whether elections will be peaceful or not as it will be the criterion for testing how matured “our democracy has become in Nigeria and whether it will reflect the wishes of the people of Nigeria.”
Olorogun Edevbie spoke when members of Online Media Practitioners Association of Nigeria (OMPAN) Delta state chapter visited him in his office on Monday, October 8, 2018.
Reviewing the development in the nation and the need for proper and accurate information dissemination, Edevbie called on online media practitioners to give accurate reportage as the outcome of reports given and the democratic system in the nation have effect on both the media practitioners and the generality of Nigerians.
The commissioner, who said journalists should report fearlessly as issues break, said both good and bad occurrences should be reported as that will help to build a virile and decent society for the good of all Nigerians.
Edevbie said the media industry is speedily moving from the mainstream to the digital media, adding that on a daily basis, the digital media is gaining more relevance globally and in the nation.
He further said: “That is why online journalists are becoming more and more relevant every day. I have friends who no longer buy newspapers. They told me that they get their news online, so why spend money on newspapers.
“And the truth of the matter is that if you look at newspaper circulation in this country, I haven’t checked recently but the last time I checked before the elections of Yar’Adua in 2007, I was shocked by the poor level of newspaper circulation.
“Even if you multiply it by 10 to take into account those that stand by newspaper vendors and just read the papers, or those that actually buy the newspaper, after reading it they pass it on to others, the result was abysmally poor.
“I will not be surprised today if more people in this country significantly get more information from the digital media more than the mainstream newspapers, it won’t surprise me at all. And so that is a reflection of the importance of the work you are doing.”
He said as far as the media industry is concerned, the online media is the cusp of history in Nigeria, noting that online media practitioners are the forerunners, breaking developing stories, consequently he urged digital media practitioners to take that responsibility with all seriousness.
“You are probably in an area where development happens a lot faster than in days when we deal exclusively with the mainstream media. The more information that is disseminated out to people, the better for all of us,” he said, adding that as speedy information carriers, there is need for patronage and partnership with power brokers.
He said anybody in the present day Nigeria who does not understand that online patronage is the trending media to patronize does so at his or her own peril.
He said: “Everything globally is getting online, all businesses are going online. In fact, it is being taken into logical conclusion that government itself may soon be online. In the UK, there are so many things that you do not physically see people do anymore.
“If you want a passport, there is no passport office to talk to anybody. It is done online. If you want to pay certain taxes, it is done online. It may sound funny but that is where we are heading. So, where you are already is where everybody is coming into.”