Vs Christ Embassy(Saint Azuh: Anatomy of smear campaign)

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Editor's note:
There is nothing especially novel in noticing that Saint Azuh displayed an eager lack of interest in the substantive facts of the Christ Embassy story as we have reported. I would suppose that, in the case of Christ Embassy and its embattled Pastors Ken & Chris, Mr. Azur might have figured that if we required any lessons on professionalism and the ethics of responsible journalism, this was not up to him to deliver. Nor was it his obligation to remind us that we need to improve the quality of our product. We would imagine that from Mr. Azuh's perspective, with his notion of " media analyst vast on reportage- investigative, development and even mischief," there was not much point in spelling out every last nuance to the professional journalist, especially since, in his rejoinder, he has already done so.

Some things may be ambiguous, but nothing is secret. It appears Mr. Azuh adopted the same unethical attitude while writing his rejoinder as he did not spare any word from the dictionary of critical epithets to pour invectives and cast banal aspersions against and its publisher. As a member of the Christ Embassy church, his opinion has obviously some weight. However, the reality bites. For the benefit of the public, we would like to place on record some of the reported facts as follows:

1-That on September 11, 2007, Kenneth Imo Obome Oyakhilome, a.k.a Pastor Ken was convicted of fraud; fined R20,000.00 and received a two-year suspended sentence for three years with choice of imprisonment. The conviction, according to court records was in connection with a 2003 bank forgery charge perpetrated by Pastor Ken, and for which he was found guilty.

2- That the transfer of Pastor Ken from South Africa to Houston, Texas, USA where he currently serves as Pastor of the Christ Embassy Church was a well contrived move by his elder brother, Pastor Chris, (founder of the Christ embassy Ministry) to avert imminent exposure and a public relations disaster for the Christ Embassy church.

Huhuonline and its publisher might have been “guilty” of breaking the story, but I am sure we did not concoct the facts we reported about Pastor Ken's flamboyant profligacy and lack of moral character. We therefore find it curious that in his rejoinder; Mr. Saint Azuh did not challenge, or dispute any of the facts we reported about Pastor Ken and the Christ embassy church in South Africa. His garrulous posturing against and its publisher are baseless and entirely without merit.

We consider Mr. Azuh's feeble-minded resort to tribal solidarity (fellow Nigerian from the same south-south region) cheap blackmail and condescending. We have no recollection of either Mr. Azuh or his church playing a role in the release of publisher Emmanuel Emeke Asiwe; during his arrest in Nigeria and find the animus put forth by Mr. Azuh in this regard astounding. Just for the records, he was released at the instructions of a Court Judge and we are surprised Mr. Azuh wants undue recognition as a champion of press freedom.

We cannot speak for the National Mirror Newspaper but we remain unapologetic and make no bones about the fact that we hold Pastor Ken in very low esteem because his criminal conviction has eroded his moral authority to minister spiritual guidance to his congregation because to all intents and purpose, Pastor Ken is a moral leper. We owe no apologies to Mr. Saint Azuh or other detractors. We will neither cower nor cringe in the face of empty grand-standing and such belated attempts to distract us from our mission of presenting well researched and balanced reporting on issues relating to Nigeria that can stand up to public scrutiny. It is up to the readers to judge us from our product.

The question that needed to be answered by Mr. Azuh the writer of the rejoinder was why he failed to address the substantive issues in our reporting. The reader must excuse the style of our response because it is dictated by our understanding that Mr. Azuh perhaps knows only this kind of language. We are not angry about Mr. Azuh's criticism of our reporting on his church. Rather, we're disappointed with his chuckleheaded antagonism, and we suggest that when he's sober, he should present evidence to counter the facts in our reporting, rather than blowing hot air like a pompous wind bag.


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