Saturday, August 15, 2020

Presidency attacks Punch for calling Buhari Major General

Must read

Anambra: PDP endorses Nwobu led-state working committee

The National Working Committee (NWC) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Friday upheld the elections of Sir Ndubisi Nwobu-led State Working Committee ...

Four killed in small plane crash in eastern DR Congo – Governor

A small plane has crashed in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, killing all the four people on board, the governor...

WASSCE: School leaders in Ibadan express views

No fewer than two leaders of secondary schools in Oyo State have expressed concern about the conditions of classrooms in the schools for the...

Edo governorship election: INEC trains visually impaired on use of braille ballot guide

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Edo, on Friday trained visually impaired persons on the use of braille ballot guide to vote in...




In its second reaction within a few hours to an editorial by Punch newspaper, the presidency has attacked the newspaper, accusing it of playing to the gallery and causing confusion.

Punch Newspaper in its editorial published on Wednesday criticized the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari for its disobedience to court orders.

In an editorial titled ‘Buhari’s lawlessness: Our stand,’ Punch said it would henceforth refer to the president by his last military title when he ruled Nigeria as a military dictator.

“As a symbolic demonstration of our protest against autocracy and military-style repression, PUNCH (all our print newspapers, The PUNCH, Saturday PUNCH, Sunday PUNCH, PUNCH Sports Extra, and digital platforms, most especially Punchng.com) will henceforth prefix Buhari’s name with his rank as a military dictator in the 80s, Major General, and refer to his administration as a regime, until they purge themselves of their insufferable contempt for the rule of law,” it wrote.

Presidential spokesperson, Femi Adesina, earlier on Wednesday reacted to the newspaper, one of the most read in Nigeria.

Mr Adesina’s reaction suggested the presidency was unperturbed by the editorial.

“Rather than being pejorative, addressing President Buhari by his military rank is another testimony to free speech and freedom of the press, which this administration (or regime, if anyone prefers: it is a matter of semantics) has pledged to uphold and preserve,” he wrote.

Hours later, however, another presidential spokesperson, Garba Shehu, released a more lengthy statement attacking the newspaper.

“Punch Newspaper’s double standards in cuddling some of our past dictators and their open contempt for President Buhari clearly show that the paper has sinister motives for its current curious editorial judgment. Its personal hatred for and animus towards President Buhari should not be allowed to becloud its good judgment,” Mr Shehu wrote.

Read Mr Shehu’s full statement below.

The reported new editorial policy of the Punch Newspapers to address President Muhammadu Buhari as Major General in his official title and refer to his government as a regime instead of administration, comes to us as totally curious and utterly incredible.

The paper claimed that it is changing President Buhari’s official title to General because of his government’s alleged disregard for the rule of law.

Major General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd), for that is his title, and he was indeed a Major General, but today retired from that position and now twice democratically elected president of Nigeria – is not the choice of Punch Newspaper’s editors and owners, that is clear.

He is, however, the two-time electoral choice of the voters of Nigeria, those very people who Punch Newspapers described this morning as “lethargic”: a disdaining epithet apportioned to decent, hard-working, everyday Nigerians for not agreeing with, and for not having voted in line with their publication’s editorial and political opinions.

Punch’s editorial today is, however, entirely in line with holding and exercising the right of free speech and freedom of the press, as my friend and colleague, Femi Adesina said earlier today.

Femi, Special Adviser, Media and Publicity said the fact the Punch can insult the President in a front page editorial and they go home to sleep, peacefully, is the best testimony to the prevalence of the freedom of the press and of expression in the country.

To quote him, “rather than being pejorative, addressing President Buhari by his military rank is another testimony to free speech and freedom of the press, which this administration (or regime, if anyone prefers: it is a matter of semantics) has pledged to uphold and preserve.”

In countries around the world where this right does not exist, newspapers do not publish articles such as the one Punch did today; nor do they get to express political opinions contrary to that of government. The exact freedoms Punch claims are missing are self-evident here – in print, on the internet – for all Nigerians and the whole world to see.

There is nothing wrong with expressing contrary opinions to this government – nor being in opposition to the president: this is the right of very Nigerian.

However, calling for the armed overthrow of the democratically elected administration is a different matter entirely: this Punch has in no way done – but others who they seek to defend, have.

There is the difference. Punch: oppose the government as much as you want to.

We welcome your contribution to the debate. But we ask you not to throw insults at the good voters of Nigeria for not agreeing to your choice at the last election.

Oppose in good humour: for that is the mark of the true democrat – that which you purport to be.

It is not within the power or rights of a newspaper to unilaterally and whimsically change the formal official title or the designation of the country’s President as it pleases.

It is unprecedented and absurd in our recent political history. The Punch never changed President Olusegun Obasanjo’s title from the President to General Obasanjo, despite the latter’s refusal to comply with Supreme Court judgment, ordering him to release N30 billion of Lagos State local councils funds.

When General Ibrahim Babangida who wasn’t democratically elected assumed the title of President, why didn’t the Punch challenge him or address him by any title it so desired?

In fact, IBB closed media houses for several months and years, including Punch.

But the paper didn’t stop addressing him as President, despite the fact that he wasn’t elected.

It is obvious that the Punch newspapers are playing partisan opposition politics which has nothing to do with journalism.

The Constitution of Nigeria recognises the President as the formal official title of the occupant of that office. Can the Punch newspapers, in their hubris address the President as Prime Minister as it pleases?

Is it within the paper’s responsibility or power to change the official title of the man who occupies the office of the President? Does that mean any newspaper is free to address the Comptroller General of Customs a Colonel rather than his official title?

The Punch newspaper should separate journalism from partisan politics. What it is embarking upon is purely political and it is designed to play to the gallery and cause confusion.

Punch Newspaper’s double standards in cuddling some of our past dictators and their open contempt for President Buhari clearly show that the paper has sinister motives for its current curious editorial judgment. Its personal hatred for and animus towards President Buhari should not be allowed to becloud its good judgment.

  




Contact: info@fellowpress.com

The Ebonyi Government has ordered members of the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) in the state, to immediately suspended their industrial action or...
Journalist, Dele Momodu, has slammed members of the Buhari Media Organization over the recent attacks launched on his person. Momodu in a statement released...
A Russian powerlifting champion has fractured both of his knees while attempting to squat 400kg (880lb). Defending champion, Alexander Sedykh was competing in the World...
President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed sadness over the demise of former United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Walter Carrington, describing him as a “long time...

More articles

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

The Ebonyi Government has ordered members of the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) in the state, to immediately suspended their industrial action or...
The Federal Government has called for social dialogue between the employers and the employees in the Aviation industry to prevent job losses. Sen. Chris Ngige,...
The National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB) has seized and destroyed pornographic and other unapproved films and video works worth N3.5 billion in...
Some yet-to-be-identified gunmen have killed a member of the Bauchi State House of Assembly representing Baraza Dass constituency, Honourable Musa Mante. Confirming the incident, the...

Must Read

Anambra: PDP endorses Nwobu led-state working committee

The National Working Committee (NWC) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Friday upheld the elections of Sir Ndubisi Nwobu-led State Working Committee ...

Four killed in small plane crash in eastern DR Congo – Governor

A small plane has crashed in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, killing all the four people on board, the governor...

WASSCE: School leaders in Ibadan express views

No fewer than two leaders of secondary schools in Oyo State have expressed concern about the conditions of classrooms in the schools for the...

Edo governorship election: INEC trains visually impaired on use of braille ballot guide

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Edo, on Friday trained visually impaired persons on the use of braille ballot guide to vote in...

NGO trains journalists virtually on TB reportage

Breakthrough Action Nigeria (BAN), an NGO, has trained journalists virtually across the country on how to report tuberculosis (TB)-related diseases. The training, which featured journalists...

Ogun SUBEB to understudy BESDA implementation in Oyo State

The Ogun State Universal Basic Education Board (Ogun SUBEB) says it will understudy the implementation of Better Service Delivery For All (BESDA) in Oyo...

Nightlife shut down in Italy’s Calabria as coronavirus numbers rise

Clubs and beach party locations have closed in the Italian region of Calabria due to a rising number of coronavirus infections. Dancefloors indoors and outdoors...

COVID-19: NCDC, ICRC to train 25 Anambra doctors on infection prevention, control

The Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) plan to train 25 doctors in Anambra on Infection...

Philippines Govt. orders face shield, in addition to face mask at work, in transport

The Philippine government has ordered people to wear face shields in addition to masks at work and on public transport in order to help...

Ebonyi Govt threatens to sack striking judiciary workers

The Ebonyi Government has ordered members of the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) in the state, to immediately suspended their industrial action or...