Why we gave Nigerians Freedom of Information Act ― Labaran Maku
• Says PDP’ll crush bad governance, corruption, others
A former Minister of Information, Mr. Labaran Maku, has identified the Freedom of Information Act as prime among the many profound legacies for which the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan will be remembered.
He said the signing of the FoI Act by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) under the leadership of President Jonathan opened democracy to Nigerians.
According to him, PDP birthed the FoI Act because the party believes in open governance, adding that the gesture was a testimony of the sincerity of purpose of former President Jonathan.
He spoke during a media dialogue organised by the PDP campaign council in Karu, Nasarawa State, on Thursday.
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The Freedom of Information Act, which was intended to give persons, groups and organisations the right to access information from government agencies, private and public sector organisations providing public services, was passed by the National Assembly on 24th May 2011 and assented by President Jonathan on 28th May, 2011.
The Act supersedes the Official Secrets Act (OSA), originally enacted in 1911, which forbade the unauthorised transmission, obtaining, reproduction, or retention of any classified matter.
Maku, who is also the Director-General of the Atiku Abubakar and David Ombugadu Campaign Council for the state, said the media has never been free under any government since 1960 as it was during President Jonathan’s reign.
“Not only did he tolerate all manners of unfair criticism by columnists, commentators and politicians, he never took them personal nor put anyone in jail. The media is so free today that the Nigerian media is the freest in Africa and the world,” he noted.
He vowed that PDP would return to power at the center and Nasarawa State in 2023.
He said in a normal clime, the PDP going by the abysmal performance of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) within the last seven and half years, is not supposed to campaign before it is reelected back to power in 2023.
He, however, said that since campaign is a key democratic tenets, the PDP will win the forthcoming elections through issues-based campaigns.
He noted that the PDP will challenge and interrogate the record of the incumbents both at the federal level and the state through democratic channels.
“We want to win on issues not violence, character assassination and gangsterism. We will interrogate and challenge their records, bare same to the public, through which the electorates will vote them out in 2023,” he noted.