Why we gave Nigerians Freedom of Information Act – Maku

From Esther Akaa, Lafia

A former Minister of Information, Mr Labaran Maku says the Freedom of Information Act is one of the many legacies which Nigerians will remember the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan.

Maku stated this on Thursday during a media dialogue organised by the Nasarawa State Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) campaign council held in  Karu Local Government Area of the state.

According to him, the signing of the Freedom of Information Act by the PDP under the leadership of President Jonathan, opened ways for democracy to thrive in Nigeria.

He explained that PDP birthed the Freedom of Information Act because the party believes in open governance, adding that the gesture was a testimony of  sincerity of purpose of former President Jonathan.

The former information minister, who is the Director General of the Atiku Abubakar and David Ombugadu campaign council in the state, said the media has never been free under any government since 1960 as it was during President Jonathan’s reign.

“Not only did he tolerate all manner of unfair criticism by columnists, commentators and politicians, he never took them personal nor put anyone in jail. The media is so free today that the Nigerian media is the freest in Africa and the world,” he said.

He expressed optimism that PDP would return to power at the centre and Nasarawa State in 2023, following the abysmal performance of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) within the last seven and half years.

He said that since campaign was a key democratic tenets, the PDP will win the forthcoming elections through issues-based campaigns.

Also speaking, the Chairman of the party in the state, Mr Francis Orogu vowed to retire the incumbent Governor, Abdullahi Sule to Saudi Arabia in 2023.

“The APC by all indices has failed our people, the coming election is therefore, just a walkover for the PDP. By 2023 we will relocate him to Saudi Arabia,” he said.

Mr Orogu chided Governor Sule for allegedly vowing to crush anyone standing between him and the governorship seat ahead of the 2023 elections, noting that PDP is not afraid of the APC and its machinations.

He said that the opposition party will resist any intimidation by the ruling party through all legitimate means available, while urging the electorates to ensure that their votes count during the polls.

On his part, PDP’s governorship candidate in the state, Dr David Ombugadu, urged leaders to avoid stroking the embers of discord and exacerbate tension because of their ambition.

Ombugadu said the PDP was on a  rescue mission to save the country and the state from APC’s misrule, adding that as an economist, he has what it takes to steer the state on the path of development and growth.

He said the PDP will not descend to the APC’s level by preaching violence, adding that the party will dwell on how it will move the country and state forward when it takes the reins in 2023.

The Voice recalls that the  Freedom of Information Act was passed by the National Assembly on May 24, 2011 and assented by President Jonathan on May 28, 2011.

The act supersedes the Official Secrets Act (OSA), originally enacted in 1911, which forbade the unauthorized transmission, obtaining, reproduction, or retention of any classified matter.

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