The Vice president of Nigeria, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, has said the debates over the country’s future will always be intense and passionate but they need not be toxic or polarizing.

Osinbajo made the statement at a joint event by the Newspaper Proprietors Association of Nigeria (NPAN), the Guild of Editors (NGE), the Nigerian Union of Journalist (NUJ) and the Broadcasting Organisation of Nigerian (BON) to honour recently departed media gurus.

The departed media leaders who were honoured were Alhaji Lateef Jakande, former governor of Lagos state and pioneer president of NGE and NPAN; Malam Ismaila Isa Funtua, Life patron of NPAN; Prince Tony Momoh, former Trustee NGE and former Minister of Information; Malam Wada Maida, past president of NGE.

Others include Chief Gbolabo Ogunsanwo, former Editor Sunday Times; Mr Bisi Lawrence, Former General Manager, Lagos State Broadcasting Corporation; Mr Eddie Aderinnokun, former Editor Daily Express; and Mr Sam Nda-Isaiah, former Publisher Leadership Newspaper.

Osinbajo said journalism operates in a social context and therefore cannot be value-neutral, adding that the media has the responsibility to exercise discernment in the deployment of its power.

The vice president calls on media professionals to demonstrate responsibility and reject the temptation to fractionalize the society.

Osibanjo said: “The Nigerian press has deep roots going back about 150 years, adding that the Nigerian press came into existence before Nigeria itself and the press was instrumental to the birthing of the nation”.

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