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Golden Pen By Austin Okoro

Covid 19! Why Imo Journalists Should Be Given Relief Materials

It has become obvious that the government of Imo State led by His Excellency, Distinguished Senator Hope Uzodinma has deliberately decided to ignore the Imo State Journalists in the distribution of its relief materials. Here and there, Imo journalists have been covering events leading to the sharing of relief materials to so-called vulnerable members of the society without getting anything as palliatives. It is quite unfortunate.

It is pertinent to note that since the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic, Imo journalists have been taking the risk of covering the programmes relating to Covid 19, and undermining the risk inherent in it. It is good to note that one journalist in the North has contracted the disease in the cause of his job. While the media are not deterred by the danger of infecting this virus, I think it is necessary for wealthy members of the society to consider them in the sharing of the palliatives. Good enough no Coronavirus case has been discovered yet in Imo, but the dangers are hovering all of the world.

In Imo State, 95 percent of Journalists are in private practice or are operating as freelancers,  while very few are under government employ. So, you can imagine the risk involved in trying to survive in this period of the pandemic as a private man. You will definitely ensure you deliver to your clients in spite of the risk. And as a matter of fact, Media men are at the forefront of this fight to contain the spread of this virus. The Print, the electronics and the online media are working hard to curb the spread of the pandemic especially in our home state, Imo. I think the media men are most vulnerable in this period and should be given more relief materials to operate. They have families both immediate and extended ones to take care of this period.

As the Governor of Imo State, His Excellency, Distinguished Senator Hope Uzodinma is celebrating his hundred days in office which I think he has tried, but his attempt or initiative to send relief materials and other palliatives to Imo journalists will boost his achievements so far. The shared prosperity governor should know that Journalists are partners in the business of governance. They are known as the fourth estate of the realm, meaning the fourth arm of government. That is the executive, the legislature, the Judiciary, and the Press. As the fourth estate of the realm, I think the government should consider them in this lockdown. Well-meaning individuals should also follow suit. This will boost their morale in the fight against the spread of the Covid 19. It will as reduce the pressure being given to them by their families and enable them to concentrate.

But meanwhile, our shared prosperity governor has done very well in this his hundred days in office. In the area of security, fight against COVID 19, payment of salaries,  continuing the projects started by his predecessors.  In these few and important things,  the governor has done very well. His cordial relationship with other arms government in Imo State is also an area he handles perfectly.

However,  he needs to improve on his achievements so far. The governor should ensure that the road projects are completed before the coming of the rainy season. He should ensure regular payment of salaries and pensions. He should revive all moribund economic sectors in the state to boost the Internally Generated Revenue IGR of the state. And finally, he must listen to the voice of opposition, this is very important. Imo State must be better.

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