The Vice President, Senator Kashim Shettima, has urged broadcast media organisations in the country to prioritise national unity in addressing the critical challenges facing northern Nigeria.
He gave the charge on Wednesday when the Arewa Broadcast Media Practitioners Forum paid him a courtesy visit at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Specifically, VP Shettima identified poverty, insecurity and inclusivity as the major concerns demanding attention.
“These are more germane issues,” the Vice President pointed out, even as he also highlighted issues bordering on drug abuse and maternal mortality.
Painting a picture of a region facing multifaceted challenges, Shettima said, “The nation is gradually being bifurcated into a prosperous south and a north that is in the news for the wrong reasons,” he warned. “We need to unite as a people and address our common challenges.”
The Vice President also expressed gratitude to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, noting the President’s appreciation of the north and his history of sacrifice for the nation’s good.
He urged fairness and a deeper understanding of Tinubu’s contributions to the region, citing the Pulako initiative, a programme designed to address most of the challenges in the region as an example.
Quoting Martin Luther King Jr, VP Shettima said, “The North must either learn to live together as brothers, or we are going to die together as fools.”
On his part, Chairman of the Arewa Broadcast Media Practitioners Forum, Abdullahi Umar Yelwa, stressed the need for collaboration between government and citizens to engender participatory democracy.
He stressed the importance of “synergy in the collective efforts to move the country forward,” offering the forum’s partnership.
Yelwa highlighted the vast reach of the region’s broadcasters, transmitting in various local languages like Hausa, Fulfulde, Nupe, Pidgin, and Kanuri.
He expressed concern about the industry’s post-pandemic struggles, stating: “The current state of the broadcast industry portends danger. Since COVID-19, many stations have not recovered from the shortfall in advertisements.”
He added that the broadcast industry is the largest and most important industry in managing the citizen’s perception of the government, arguing that the trust deficit between the government and the governed can only be bridged through partnership with them.
Other members of the delegation included Abba Abdulkadir Kaka, Medina Dauda Nadabo, Mohammed Mustapha, Ben Adam Shemang, Professor Ladi Adamu and Talib Yelwa.