It seems that the President-elect is on a determined mission to get his pound of flesh from all those who opposed him during the just concluded elections in the country. The whole electioneering process was a matter of ‘whose side are you on?’ and many who made “wrong choices” may live to regret their choices now.
It is already established beyond reasonable doubts that General Muhammadu Buhari will steer the affairs of this nation for the next four years (if not, eight years), thanks to the peaceful concession of defeat by the current president, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan. But the victory at the polls for the general seem now to be the undoing of some people who stood against him in the elections.
According to latest reports, the President-elect, Muhammadu Buhari has barred the African Independent Television (AIT) from covering his activities henceforth. This was made known when the security operatives of the General on Monday asked the television crew of the AIT to leave a function in which the Cuban ambassador and his delegation was supposed to meet with the president-elect.
Director of Press of the All Progressives Congress Presidential Campaign Organisation (APCPCO), Mallam Garba Shehu, who confirmed the report in a statement said:
“AIT has been asked to stay aside based on security and family concerns. In addition, General Buhari has decided that they will have to resolve some issues relating to issues of standard and ethics.
“We will be talking with them to try and resolve the matter but for now, the station has been asked to stay aside because, like I said, there are some family and security concerns.
“They have been asked to step down their coverage until we resolve the matter with them on ethics and standards,” he said.
It should be recalled that during the campaigns building up the presidential election, AIT seemed to have pitched their tent with the incumbent president’s camp. They aired documentaries that seemed to dissuade Nigerians from casting their votes for Gen. Muhammadu Buhari.
If this trend continues, how safe will the nation be for notably, the supporters of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the coming years?
The All Progressives Congress (APC) has reacted to the ban of African Independent Television (AIT) from covering the activities of the president-elect, saying that all media houses that have accreditation can cover Muhammadu Buhari’s activities including the AIT.
A statement issued by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, on Tuesday, read thus:
“The All Progressives Congress (APC) has said that all accredited media organizations in the country, including the African Independent Television (AIT), are free to cover the activities of the President-elect, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari.
”There is a Code of Ethics guiding the practice of journalism in Nigeria, and this demands every journalist to ensure a strict adherence to the highest levels of ethics and professionalism in carrying out their duties.
”There must be repercussions, within the realms of the law, for media organizations which have wantonly breached the Code of Ethics of the journalism profession and turned themselves to partisans instead of professionals. But such repercussions will not include barring any accredited media organization from covering the activities of the President-elect,” the party said.
Meanwhile, Daar Communications PLC boss, Raymond Dokpesi, has reacted to Buhari’s decision to bar one of its subsidiaries, Africa Independent Television (AIT), from covering his activities henceforth. He said it was an attempt by the former military head of state to bring back the era of Decree 4, which he promulgated during his time as military head of state of the country.
“I am sure that the President-elect needs to be reminded of Decree 4, and he should be clearly reminded that section 32 of the constitution makes it mandatory for the media to hold public officials accountable to the people. He said that he does not want to be covered by AIT, but AIT has a responsibility to the Nigerian public to report the things that are happening.
“There are three national networks available for national coverage in Nigeria, the NTA, AIT and Silverbirds. You cannot stop a foremost private station from reporting in Nigeria, it brings us back to Decree 4 era.
“The ban on AIT is as a result of the documentaries we ran during the election campaign for PDP. If they (APC) had produced their own documentary to say this is what we want and AIT did not publish it, then that is another matter. What is obviously very clear is the fact that AIT believes that the historical information about the President elect that were ran, were factually correct. Nothing was done to defame him or impinge on his character or integrity.
“We take responsibility for the running of these items and I as an individual is satisfied because due diligence was followed in ensuring that the things that are contained were factually right,” he said.