A former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof. Attahiru Jega, on Wednesday told Nigerian leaders and citizens not to allow themselves to be held hostage by the recklessness and maladministration of the past.

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Jega, who spoke on “Broadcasting, Democratisation and the Challenge of the New Nigeria” in a keynote address at the National Broadcasting Commission’s Second Annual Lecture Series in Abuja, also called on President Muhammadu Buhari to reform the nation’s public broadcasting.

The former INEC boss said although the country had passed through so much that could mar many African countries, there was no reason to be held up in the past. He urged Nigerians to look to a brighter future and work hard towards it.

Jega  said, “The enormity of the challenges which Nigeria has faced and yet remained intact would have, arguably, dismembered and scattered any other African country. In spite of reckless misrule and profound centripetal tendencies, it still stands and ambles along.

“The persistence of many of these challenges provides some Nigerians with grounds for despondency and disillusionment, but provides many others with sufficient motivation to optimistically keep looking for opportunities to stabilise, consolidate and expand the gains.

“We must not be hostages to our reckless and unwholesome past. We must look to the future with determination and optimism. We should see the Nigerian federation as akin to a Catholic marriage – not necessarily a perfect union, but till death do us part – and strive to do anything humanly possible to find accommodation and live peacefully, and to prevent its annulment.”

Jega said the All Progressives Congress and Buhari which suffered acclaimed disadvantage, media wise, in the build up to the 2015 general elections had the opportunity to reform public broadcasting in Nigeria now that the table had turned around.

He said, “The Buhari government has a responsibility, under the mantra of change for a new Nigeria, to contribute to the reform and repositioning of broadcasting, so that it can play remarkably improved role in Nigeria’s democratic development.”

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