The All Progressives Congress, APC, Presidential Campaign Council, PCC, has berated ThisDay newspaper and Arise TV for accusing Asiwaju Bola Tinubu of attempting to silence independent media and bullying the press ahead of next year’s general election.
In a statement authored by the Director of Media and Publicity, Mr. Bayo Onanuga, and Adviser, Media and Communication, Mr. Dele Alake, the campaign council described the accusation as baseless.
The campaign council said it was laughable that the chairman and Editor-in-Chief of ThisDay and Arise Television, Mr. Nduka Obaigbena, had the temerity “to pretend to be a guardian of public morality in contemporary Nigerian media practice.”
According to the council, Obaigbena had allegedly “done tremendous damage to the journalism profession in the country,” hence not fit to accuse Tinubu of attempting to silence independent media.
The statement reads in part: “The statement published on the front page of THISDAY is illustrative of the penchant of the two media houses under Obaigbena’s corrupting influence to peddle falsehood and engage in brazen political partisanship, contrary to the ethics of journalism practice.
“It is instructive that Obaigbena’s media group is isolated in making this frivolous allegation against the duo. Not only does THISDAY newspaper publish unfounded rumours masquerading as truth, many of its columnists substitute vile and vulgar abuse for sound logic and informed analyses while its television anchors heckle and harass their guests, particularly those of the APC in their jaundiced, flagrantly unprofessional programmes.
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“We recall that both THISDAY and ARISE Television sought to bully and compel the APC presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, into attending its Town Hall meetings with presidential candidates, despite the media team’s explanation that it would not attend such programmes organised in a haphazard and uncoordinated manner by individual media houses.
Each candidate’s campaign team has the right to adopt its own strategies for reaching out to and interacting with Nigerians. As we have repeatedly said, the Tinubu campaign will not succumb to the blackmail, intimidation and harassment of Obaigbena and his media group.
“THISDAY’s attempt in the said statement to justify its false news report on the purported death of one Mueez Adegboyega Akande and the attempt to insinuate mischievously that he died in suspicious circumstances failed abysmally. Rather than apologise for this professional lapse, it resorts to tendentious rationalisations. Its futile attempt to link Asiwaju Tinubu to a drug case in the United States, even when as far back as 2003, the United States government had categorically stated that the candidate has no criminal records in that country, shows the depths of mischief the newspaper is willing to descend in its bid to bring down the APC candidate at all costs. This campaign of calumny is doomed to fail as it always has.
“Our candidate is focused and will not be distracted by this diversionary tactics to throw mud at him simply because he is the obvious front runner in this race and some believe that the only way to stop him is to peddle falsehood against him.”