President Tinubu Honours Journalists’ Role in Nigeria’s Democratic Journey


Tinubu Ransom

In a poignant tribute during his Democracy Day speech on Wednesday, President Bola Tinubu acknowledged the instrumental role of Nigerian journalists in the country’s transition from military dictatorship to democracy. He recognized their courage and sacrifice in standing up against oppression, often at great personal risk.

Tinubu specifically highlighted prominent media establishments, such as The Punch, Guardian, and TELL Magazines, which were proscribed by the military authorities and had their journalists jailed for advocating for free speech and civil liberties. Despite these challenges, the journalists persisted, playing a crucial role in bringing down the “walls of dictatorship.”

The President’s speech underscored the power of the people and the importance of a free press in a democratic society. He noted that Nigeria’s transition to democracy in 1999 marked a significant milestone, making it the largest democracy in Africa and a beacon of hope for the black race.

The speech reads in part, “We could not have won the battle against military dictatorship without the irrepressible Nigerian journalists who mounted the barricades along with the pro-democracy activists. We celebrate them today, along with their media establishments such as The Punch, Guardian, National Concord, Tribune, The News/Tempo, and TELL Magazines. Military authorities proscribed these media establishments and jailed their journalists for standing for free speech and civil liberties.

“Despite the lethal might of the military government, what appeared to be high and unyielding walls of dictatorship came tumbling down. The dismal fortress exists no longer.

“The power of an idea, the power of the people proved more potent than all the guns and munitions, and the threats of the strongmen.

“The nation exited the yoke of military rule in 1999 to become the most populous democracy on African soil, the beacon of democratic self-determination for the black race and one of the largest democracies in the world.”

Tinubu’s tribute serves as a reminder of the essential role journalists play in holding those in power accountable and ensuring that the voices of the people are heard. His recognition of their contributions to Nigeria’s democratic journey is a testament to the enduring power of a free press in shaping the country’s history.


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