Don wants commensurate salaries for journalists

By Chidinma Ewunonu-Aluko, Ibadan

A University Don, Dr Bayonle Busari, has called on the government and the Nigeria Union Of Journalists (NUJ) to ensure that all journalists are paid commensurate remuneration by their employers.

This, Busari said, might require putting in place an appropriate legal framework to give life to this proposal.

The Don, Co-ordinator, Postgraduate Programme, Department of Mass Communication, Lead City University, Ibadan, made the call on Monday at the 2023 Press Week of Correspondents’ Chapel of Oyo State NUJ, held in Ibadan.

The programme has its theme as “Evaluation Of 2023 Campaign Promises: The Role Of The Media”.

Busari stressed the need to have an insurance scheme for journalists in order to mitigate the hardship and risk which they are prone to by the nature of their calling.

He also implored the leadership of the NUJ to set up a welfare scheme from where indigent journalists could benefit to reduce the effect of the precarious situations facing them.

These situations make them willing tools in the hands of politicians and political parties.

“There is a need for us to shun all tendencies that will expose us to political patronages and make us to compromise our integrity.

“I doubt if we have any journalist today who is not a graduate either from the university or polytechnic. This presupposes that we need to work on our self-esteem.

“The way politicians describe us, sometimes, behind us, is better imagined! They see us as an item that can be sourced at a given prize and disposed off at will.

“This situation is unfortunate, and should be unacceptable. We should stop making ourselves available to the political class as disposable materials,” he said.

The Don urged journalists to constantly put elected leaders on the spot in the most honest and objective way possible.

“We should be able to speak truth to power. I know we can do it,” he said.

Earlier, the Oyo State NUJ Chairman, Mr Ademola Babalola, remarked that the theme is apt because journalists must continue to remind politicians of their campaign promises as a link between them and the masses.

Babalola urged the government to prioritise infrastructural development of the country and look at ways to mitigate the hardship in the country.

The Oyo State NUJ Chairman emphasised that journalists should be seen as partners in progress in the country and not to be dehumanised or brutalised.

He commended the executive members of the chapel for organising the programme and improving the state of the chapel since their assumption of office.

Also, the chairman of the Correspondents’ Chapel, Mr Raji Adebayo said journalists, as the voice of the voiceless and watchdog for the masses, have major tasks of making the political office holders accountable to the electorate.

Adebayo urged politicians, particularly the political office holders from the local government level, the State and the Federal level to deliver on their campaign promises, because this is the only way the dividends of democracy can get to the masses.

According to him, the policy of giving palliatives to the people, is a political statement which is not really serving the need of the general populace.

“I will prefer that funds that are being made available for palliatives should be channelled towards infrastructural development such as roads, hospitals, schools and others that will be of benefit to all irrespective of our status.

“We all need good roads, health facilities, security, education for our children and other social amenities, but palliatives will only end up in the hands of the few party members and political jobbers,” he said. (NAN)

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