By Haruna Salami
A lawmaker, Kwamoti Bitrus Laori representing Numan/ Demsa/Lamurde Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives has called on the Federal Government to make maximum use of the social media to explain its policies and programmes to the people for peaceful coexistence and rapid development.
The former Speaker of Adamawa State Hiuse of Assembly who described social media practitioners as agents of change believes the government is underutilising the social media, especially in the area of reportage.
“If the government has been up and doing and optimizing your work properly, there are lots of government policies and programmes that can easily be sent to the people and people will be well informed. For instance, this era of Covid-19 pandemic where there are conflicting reports and sceptism about the disease and even the vaccine, I think this is the area the government needs to utilize the expertise and professional prowess online media to the fullest to achieve the desired results.
The lawmaker stated this in Abuja Tuesday where he was honoured with an award of “Icon of Transformation” by National Assembly New Media Forum (forum of Online Journalists).
He said the online journalists, in doing their work as watchdog of society, have put him on a radar that he cannot rest on his oars as he paddles the murky waters and ensure that he even increases the speed as he goes.
“I know that you people are doing onerous task which sometimes is not much appreciated, but I’m telling you today that you are agents of change; you are the social drivers.
“We are in this digital age now where the social media is the in thing and most of the young people today hardly go in to pick any document or paper to read. They find it very easy in the palm of their hands, they can use their handset, palm top, laptop to access all the information they need in the world.
“Being agents of social drive, I will plead with you that you have to maintain the tempo and ensure that the negative toga that is being thrown at social media is done away with. I so much believe being the watchdog of society and the fourth estate of the realm, you have a big responsibility to keep the society informed and also get feedback from the society so that the government can listen.
He said the award will really spur him to do more and that his office was open at any time for the media to either “ask questions, for clarifications or there areas you think I should improve, and I will be willing and ready to listen”.
“In this business, if you don’t have an open mind and you cannot take criticism, you don’t need to come in here because you won’t go far. It will be the proverbial living in a glass house. You cannot throw stones without receiving some knocks as well.
“I hope we will be partners in progress for the development of our country. I assure you, all my performance will now have to double because I now believe that I’m now on a radar and know that whatever in doing now somebody is watching me from behind.
Earlier, the Chairman of National Assembly New Media Forum, NMF, Yemi Itodo, while presenting the award to Honourable Kwamoti said the Online media in Nigeria are capable of changing the negative narratives about the country and projecting her image in a positive light to the international communities.
“One way of doing that is by recognising those who have stood out and made the country proud in their respective endeavours such as the efforts Hon. Kwamoti and his colleagues at the 9th House of Representatives are putting into people-oriented legislation”, Itodo said.