Ibikunle Amosun, governor of Ogun state, says some politicians are causing disunity in the country for selfish reasons.
Speaking at a media workshop organised for the state house press corps in Abeokuta, the state capital, Amosun called on the media to project more of the things that unite the nation.
He said there is no nation without challenges, but projecting inflammatory remarks would hamper progress.
Amosun appealed to the media to play down issues that could threaten the peace and stability of the nation.
“You are the people who see the entire Nigeria. These are trying times really, these are challenging times and is good to see people who are still doing their jobs professionally,” he said.
“I want to challenge you to do more. I like the theme of your workspace but after deliberations share the outcomes with others, so that they also can learn. Share your thoughts with us, use your platforms to tell us the truth.
“Write what you see because for me criticism is part of what a leader needs once it is in good fate. For me when you say it the way it is, even though sometimes we may not like it, we can look at it and see how we can do it better. I believe if we all do that, Nigeria will be better for it.
“There is no nation without its challenges, is the way we manage our challenges really. When we have issues, we should not come out and say what will inflame the country or through writeups and comments, I think we should talk more on those things that unite us.
“When you look at us as a nation, I hope I will not be roasted for saying this, it is we the elites or politicians that are more often than not for selfish reasons that try and bring those things that will divide us. An average Nigerian either from the north, south, east, west l is his brother’s keeper really. But when people want to be mischievous they now bring dichotomy, ethnicity, religion and all of those.
“I think where we are as a nation we should be above board. When things are not going well we should be bold enough to say we should do these things differently but when we are speaking we should measure our words. That’s not a sign of weakness really but sign of strength if we do those things that unite us as a nation. And I think that is the issue.”
Clarifying his position, Amosun said he had nothing against the media telling the truth to power.
“I’m not saying don’t write about it, write it but it must be measured. Is like getting to an accident scene and you see pictures of people dying even for the families of those affected, it will not be good,” he said.
“Yes, we can still report but we can still manage to get the message across without necessarily fanning the ember of things that will split us.
“I have always argued that there is no way the part will be bigger than the whole if the whole is well put together and that is where our strength lies as a nation really.
“Our diversity and population is our strength, this should strengthen not weaken us.
Amosun described his state as the religious capital of the country.
He said Ogun had been benefitting from its proximity to Lagos, explaining that the 7.2 million population of the state rises to 10 million during religious activities in the state.
“We are 7.2 million but the population increases to about 10 million during religious activities in the state. We see challenges as avenue for opportunities that is why we are leveraging on our proximity to Lagos,” he said.
“As a matter of fact, we are the religious capital of Nigeria because when they are having Shiloh by Winners Chapel, Holy Ghost Congress by The Redeemed Christian Church, Power Must Change Hands by Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries (MFM), Deeper Life, Foursquare Church, NAFSAT, so we benefit from prayers as well as from the necessary payments they are making to the state.”