PUNCH NEWSPAPER; AN INCIDENCE OF BECLOUDED OBJECTIVITY.
Kelechi Deca once disclosed the objectivity concept of journalism taught in the school of journalism does not exist in real life. If this admittance from Deca who is in himself a media guru is compared to the life of penury most journalists live, one may be excused to understand why recently, the Punch Newspapers appear to have discarded professionalism, objectivity, decency and professionalism from their code of conduct. As the day goes by, it is becoming more difficult for me and normal Nigerians to ascertain who is more reliable in reporting news between Punch Newspapers and an 18th century village town crier.
Punch Newspapers is not the only media organization guilty of this grave crime of lying to Nigerians with intent to deceive them but I shall overlook other tabloids that are equally guilty. Few days ago, Nigerians were suffered to imagine that a whopping 2 trillion was spent by the Peoples’ Democratic Party to execute it presidential campaign in the just concluded general elections. To say I was irritated by that report would be to tell a wild lie in the category of the kind often told on the social media by fast aging Kayode Ogundamisi whom I understand tweets (against identified targets) for politicians in exchange for a fee and Sunday ‘Soni’ Akonji an essential member of the propaganda team of the All Progressives’ Congress. These guys will tell a lie against their destinies for free.
To start with, the Punch Newspapers is one of Nigeria’s biggest brands in the print media industry. It wears the rank with The Guardian (my favorite tabloid), Thisday Newspapers (Nduka Obaigbena’s baby), The Sun (largely tilted eastwards) and Leadership (I would have voted the APC had Uncle Sam emerged their presidential candidate). An implication of this status is that it imposes an obligation on it bearer that demands that factual information and news be investigated and disseminated in a fair manner. Another implication of this status is that it bars the bearer from engaging in any-where-belle-face journalism propelled by an appetite to earn income by any means.
The issue of reporting the funding and costs incurred during political campaign is one which should be treated with accurate tact and precision. It is a sensitive matter and should be accorded the seriousness it deserves. Our electoral laws clearly spelled out the categories of political offices alongside the maximum amount of funds that should be spent by persons or groups aspiring to occupy such offices. As I write, while there is no tangible proof to show that anyone or group have erred by overshooting the funding ceiling, it is clear to even the daftest of Nigerians that as far as the 2015 presidential election is concerned, both the All Progressives’ Congress and the Peoples’ Democratic Party gave one another a run for their financial resources. For the Punch Newspapers to suddenly crop out the Peoples’ Democratic Party for questioning is morally repugnant and can at best be described as a classic display of subjectivity and stupidity which is an insult on the collective intelligence of Nigerians party affiliation notwithstanding.
When that mischief first broke out, an acquaintance reached me to find out what my reaction would be. I simply replied that elections in Nigeria are capital intensive projects. The cost of seeking to be governor in some mega states like Lagos, Rivers, Akwa-Ibom, Kaduna and even my home state Anambra is so huge that it will require to be broken into thousands of tranches of N5M before they can be transferred using the NIBSS External Funds Transfer (NEFT) Platform.
If this is a known fact, why then would an individual or organization attempt to sell Nigerians a dummy that while a contestant to the office of the president spent trillions of Naira pursuing his ambition, his rival ran on credit and the combination of charisma and goodwill. Abeg, does goodwill and charisma fuel private jets and helicopters? Does goodwill and charisma translate for payment for presidential suites in 5-star hotels? Does charisma and goodwill translate to availability of brand new Toyota Hiace and Coaster buses? Does charisma and goodwill translate to sacks of grains and tones of fabrics bearing the logo and symbol of political parties? Does charisma and goodwill translate to payments for party adverts on digital bill boards some of which cost as high as N45M per annum? Does charisma and good will translate to payment for airtime for party adverts on frontline TV stations like ChannelsTV, the AIT and TVC?
These are about the most mundane activities into which political parties commit huge resources during elections periods. Olisa Metuh of the Peoples’ Democratic Party cannot claim ignorance of these. Defending these activities on the part of the All Progressives’ Congress is beyond Lai Mohammed. Even the hands of our electoral laws are tied in this aspect and the pronouncements of the laws under reference can be best described as an academic exercise. This is the true state of the Nigerian system as it relates to funding of elections; any attempt to distort it or magnify the spending of one party over the other is an effort in futility; stone dead on arrival.
ONE MORE THING - PDP’s lose of the Presidency – Dr. Donald Duke’s Perspective:
In an interview on Simon Kolawoles’ TheCable internet newspaper, ex-governor of Cross River State Dr. Donald Duke disclosed some factors that cost the PDP the presidency to include arrogance and the proliferation of private jets. These attributes he said amounted to an insult on the sensibilities of Nigerians. This is one truth I suffered to tell in secret several times in the past and I hereby declare that I am strongly at one with the view of Dr. Duke on this matter.
As if vindicated, it was brought to my notice (with pictorial evidence) earlier this week that the Director of Media & Publicity of the PDP Presidential Campaign Council, Chief Femi-Fani Kayode have acquired for his yellow pawpaw “GIRLFRIEND” the latest edition of the RANGE ROVER sport SUV available in the Nigerian market just like I was informed on my last trip to Abuja that Jude Imagwe, the Special Adviser to the President on Students & Youth Matters acquired a property worth nearly N300M in the FCT and relocated his family to Canada throughout the periods the general elections lasted.
Just when votes were needed, some Nigerians were evacuated to the America’s who should ordinarily have stayed back to vote.
The insults have obviously not reduced………..
Ezeani, Chukwunonso Elvis is the Shadow National Youth Leader of the Peoples’ Democratic Party. He can be reached via @NonsoEzeani1.