December 9, 2022

EDITORIAL POSITION ON ZAMFARA POLITICAL CRISIS BY LEADERSHIP NEWSPAPER: THE MISSING FACTS AND SHOW OF POLITICAL PARTISANSHIP

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I am compelled to write and respond to the Editorial Opinion by the Leadership Newspaper regarding the political developments in Zamfara state. The position in my opinion has exposed the suspicion of partisanship of some media organizations in fuelling the Zamfara political crises.

In my candid opinion, the Editorial Opinion of Leadership newspaper is handicapped and clearly demonstrated the ignorance of the Editorial Team on matters related to the recent political developments in Zamfara state.

Let me first of all react to some of the statements captured in the Editorial of Leadership of Wednesday the 19th of October 2022 and clearly finger-point where they get things wrong:

The newspaper said “This newspaper is compelled to remind the Governor that in compliance with the Electoral Act, political activities including Campaign Rallies by candidates have officially commenced, which means that the PDP candidate in question acted within the Law to have held the Rally and the media in the performance of their statutory roles of informing, educating, enlightening and entertaining the people were well within their rights as provided by Law to cover such political gathering”.

I think there is nowhere the state government of Zamfara contradicted the reality of the fact that, campaign had started or political parties or their candidates are allowed by Law to begin their campaigns but the Leadership newspaper should have clearly captured the position of the state government on what exactly was the reason behind the temporary or Interim suspension of the campaign in Zamfara, since last week Thursday.

Secondly, regarding the fact that the PDP candidate acted within Law by embarking on the campaign, I think Leadership Newspaper should have understood the difference between exercising the right of Political association by individuals or groups as provided for by Section (40) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended as well conditions that can override such a right.

Leadership Newspaper needs not to be told that issue of severe insecurity which has direct negative effects on the lives and properties of the people can override the right to Political association and indeed any other right.

When a Governor is confronted with a severe security challenge like that of Zamfara, it is within the Constitutional Powers vested in him by virtue of Section 5(2), 176(2) and 315(2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended to take decisive measures that can help reverse the situation and restore the peace and confidence of the people under his control.

So,Leadership newspaper needs to be guided that there is a limit to the way citizens of Nigeria can exercise their rights including Right of Political association as provided for by the Constitution.

Again,I will be bold enough to say that, Leadership newspaper cannot deny the fact that for two weeks now, Zamfara has been under intensive security attacks by some suspected armed bandits. It was on record that, more than forty people have been kidnapped along Funtua-Zaria Road within two weeks.

More worrisome was the fact that one of the freed victims of Kaduna Train Attack was brutally murdered by these heartless bandits on his way back home after spending six months in captivity. His driver is now also abducted. This is different from significant number of soldiers’ shot by the bandits along the same Highway within the time under review. Again, several communities under Bukkuyum, Anka and Gummi had been severely under the bandit attacks with thousands of innocent people displaced to the streets of their respective local government headquarters.

It will be inhuman for the Leadership newspaper to be defending the Right of Political association of a single Gubernatorial candidate when the lives of five million people are at stake.Moreover, we expected the newspaper to be able to write and have sympathy with Zamfara state government and indeed five million people not to defend the right of one single Gubernatorial candidate.

Regarding the alleged closure of some Media Houses by the Zamfara State government, the Leadership newspaper needs not to be told that the objective of Mass media in promoting democracy is built on the rationale of promoting peace, stability and justice to all.

The Media houses are under obligation to review decisions between money making by way sponsorship of campaigns and beholding to the decisions of the State Security Council which was binding by an “Executive Order” No: 10 which was signed by the Governor on the advice of his Security Chiefs

The government may be going too extreme to order for the closure of these media organizations but if that is what will guarantee their safety in the interim what is wrong with that?. What if the people became aggressive and reacted to the decisions of the Media houses angrily will that not be another catastrophic scenario that will be left at the mercy of state government?. God forbid if that shall happen the same Media platforms like Leadership newspaper will make a front page headlines castigating the state government for not providing security to these same Media organizations.

Significantly also, I wish to ask the Leadership newspaper if genuinely it is also part of the Rights of the PDP Gubernatorial candidate of Zamfara to allow hired political thugs to be gunning down innocent people in the name of campaign? I think Leadership newspaper should tell the citizens of Zamfara why it has not found it as a corporate responsibility to sympathise with the people of Zamfara over the murderous shootings of innocent persons by the suspected PDP supporters last Saturday which resulted to killing of one person.

And I will like to challenge the Leadership newspaper to please tell Nigerians why it refused to write editorials against the decision to postpone elections in some frontline areas in the North East during the 2019 elections? Was the security situation in Zamfara presently not as bad as that of 2019? This question is fundamental because without providing answer to it, we could suspect the spirit of political partisanship by this reputable newspaper expected to have objective approach to serious issues like the one in Zamfara incident of last week.

The editorial opinion in my opinion is again too sentimental and economical with the truth. The newspaper needs to engage active Media practitioner to conduct a genuine mapping of the security situation in Zamfara and to be able to separate politics and political rights of individuals and groups as well as powers to ensure security and safety of the citizens which is bestowed on the Governor by Chapter(11) and section 14 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended.

The news paper also added that:

“At the peak of the insecurity, the governor threw caution to the wind and wasted state resources that could have been deployed to serve the security needs of the people in buying limousines for traditional rulers.”

It was also in the same state that, a wanted terrorist was recognized publicly and revered traditional title conferred on him. The terrorist comrades in crimes were all present, the state government and its agencies looked the other way and only half heartedly acted when public rose in uproar”.

Bringing the issue of procurement of Limousines to traditional rulers and also the award of the chieftaincy title to Ado Aleiru in my own opinion is a deliberate act of mischief and alleged sponsored political campaign of calumny and propaganda to ridicule the conscience of the good people of Zamfara state. I don’t know at which point it has become a crime for the Governor to honor the Royal fathers by giving them state- of -the art vehicles for their mobility.

For the Leadership newspaper to act so low and bring the issue of procurement of vehicles for the Emirs shows they are only a community for the sake of pleasing a certain political interest. We have seen how Emirs in some states are riding sophisticated vehicles that even their Governors are riding.

Coming to the idea of turbanning of one of the bandit leaders Ado Aleru as a parameter to ridicule the government Leadership newspaper cannot deny the fact that the decision was a “community based one”. It was taken based on the declaration of the “Doctrine of Self defense”. The community of ‘Yandoton Daji had explained in a very loud and clear voice that the decision to honor Alieru with a traditional title was done as part of their deliberate effort to bring Alieru back to the community to help restore peace in the area.

The decision taken by the government against the consideration of awarding Ado Alieru a title was in the public domain. The Governor suspended the Emir and set up an Investigative Panel to look into the circumstances surrounding the whole scenario.

For me, based on my understanding of the content of the editorial decisions of the Leadership newspaper of 19th October 2022, it was made out to deliberately please Dr Dauda Lawal and his party may be for commercial business reasons.

The media houses are under obligation to review decisions between money making by way sponsorship of campaigns and beholding to the decisions of the State Security Council which was binding by an “Executive Order” No: 10 which was signed by the Governor on the advice of his Security Chiefs

The government may be going too extreme to order for the closure of these media organizations but if that is what will guarantee their safety on the interim what is wrong with that?. What if the people became aggressive and reacted to the decisions of the media houses angrily will that not be another catastrophic scenario that will be left at the mercy of state government?. God forbid if that shall happen the same media platforms like Leadership newspaper will be making a front page headlines castigating the state government for not providing security to these same media organizations.

Significantly also, I wish to ask the Leadership newspaper if genuinely it is also part of the Rights of the PDP Gubernatorial candidate of Zamfara to allow hired political thugs to be gunning down innocent people in the name of campaign? I think Leadership newspaper should tell the citizens of Zamfara why it has not found it as a corporate responsibility to sympathise with the people of Zamfara over the murderous shootings of innocent persons by the suspected PDP supporters last Saturday which resulted to killing of one person.

And I will like to challenge the Leadership newspaper to please tell Nigerians why it refused to write editorials against the decision to postpone elections in some frontline areas in the North East during the 2019 elections? Was the security situation in Zamfara presently not as bad as that of 2019? This question is fundamental because without providing answer to it we could suspect the spirit of political partisanship by this reputable newspaper expected to have objective approach to serious issues like the one in Zamfara incident of last week.
The editorial opinion in my opinion is again too sentimental and economical with the truth. The newspaper needs to engage active media practitioner to conduct a genuine mapping of the security situation in Zamfara and to be able to separate politics and political rights of individuals and groups as well as powers to ensure security and safety of the citizens which is bestowed on the Governor by Chapter(11) and section 14 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended.

The news paper also added that:

“At the peak of the insecurity, the governor threw caution to the wind and wasted state resources that could have been deployed to serve the security needs of the people in buying limousines for traditional rulers.”

It was also in the same state that, a wanted terrorist was recognized publicly and revered traditional title conferred on him. The terrorist comrades in crimes were all present, the state government and its agencies looked the other way and only half heartedly acted when public rose in uproar”.

Bringing issue of procurement of limousines to traditional rulers and also the award of the chieftaincy title to Ado Aleiru in my own opinion is a deliberate act of mischief and alleged sponsored political campaign of calumny and propaganda to ridicule the conscience of the good people of Zamfara state. I don’t know at which point has it become a crime for the Governor to honor the Royal fathers by giving them state- of -the art vehicles for their mobility.

For the Leadership newspaper to act so low and bring the issue of procurement of vehicles for the Emirs it shows they are only a community for the sake of pleasing a certain political interest. We have seen how Emirs in some other states are riding sophisticated vehicles that even their Governors are riding.

Coming to the idea of turbanning of one of the bandit leaders Ado Aleru as a parameter to ridicule the government Leadership newspaper cannot deny the fact that the decision was a “community based one”. It was taken based on the declaration of the “Doctrine of Self defense”. The community of ‘Yandoton Daji had explained in a very loud and clear voice that the decision to honor Alieru with a traditional title was done as part of their deliberate effort to bring Alieru back to the community to help restore peace in the area.

The decision taken by the government against the consideration of awarding Ado Alieru a title was in the public domain. The Governor suspended the Emir and set up an Investigative Panel to look into the circumstances surrounding the whole scenario.

For me, based on my understanding of the content of the editorial decisions of the Leadership newspaper of 19th October 2022, it was made out to deliberately please Dr Dauda Lawal and his party may be for commercial reasons.

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