By Sunday Omoniyi
The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has described yesterday’s editorial of the Nigeria Tribune as a poorly-executed hatchet job.
It said the newspaper put on the garb of a partisan and made no pretences to professionalism while castigating the ACN.
Nigeria Tribunewrote an editorial in which it castigated ACN on alleged imposition of candidates at the party’s primaries.Former Lagos State Governor Bola Tinubu has described the Nigerian Tribune editorial of yesterday which attacked him over the conduct of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) primaries as the height of editorial irresponsibility and the climax of editorial rascality.
‘’It is common knowledge that the Tribune’s fortunes have taken a nosedive in recent years, but the newspaper hit a new low yesterday by throwing all pretences to the wind to act as a front for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP),’’ ACN’s National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said in a statement in Ilorin, Kwara State.
The party said: “Even if the PDP had written that editorial, it could not have been so recklessly partisan, so undisguisedly biased and so devoid of any professionalism. Simply put, the so-called editorial fails to meet the attributes of objectivity, balance and fairness.’’
ACN said even though the editorial was supposedly on the party’s primaries, the Tribune could not hide its real reason for writing it. ACN noted that Tribune veered into the party’s recovery, through the courts, of its stolen mandates in Osun and Ekiti states, what the paper thinks the party’s fortunes will be in the forthcoming elections and unrestrained personal attacks against the party’s leadership.
‘’This has shown us that the real reason Tribune threw caution to the wind is that it has lost its two cash cows in Osun and Ekiti, in the form of dwindling advertisement revenue from the patronage offered the paper by the usurper governors who were eventually sent packing.
‘’But we hasten to say that the worst is yet to come. When Oyo and Ogun fall to the camp of the progressives in April through the peoples’ votes, Tribune may have to look elsewhere for patronage, since there will be no more room for cash and carry editorials, and fully-paid for front page stories,’’ the party said.
ACN said contrary to Tribune’s assertions, the party held primaries to pick its candidates for April’s general elections, adding that it (ACN) remains the most transparent and democratic party in Nigeria today.
‘’Yes, the primaries may not have been perfect, but this whole process remains a learning curve, meaning things can only get better with time. At least we did not resort to bare-faced stealing of votes like it happened during the PDP presidential primary in Abuja and was attested to by no less a PDP stalwart as Senator Joseph Waku. It is common knowledge that governors coaxed delegates with dirty money and chaperoned them to the polling booths!’’ it said.It is height of irresponsibility, says Tinubu
In a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Olakunle Abimbola, the former governor said: “Our attention has been drawn to the the Nigerian Tribune editorial of January 27, in which the paper launched a blistering attack on the person of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, under the guise of critiquing the alleged mishandling of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) primary elections.
“First, on the technical level, it is really a thing of shame that Tribune, which used to boast excellent and incisive editorials during the era of Alhaji Lateef Jakande, has cascaded to such depth that it made bare-faced hatred and condemnable bias the basis of its editorial, when editorials are anchored on logic and not emotions. That is the only reasonable way the scurrilous attacks on Asiwaju Tinubu, and the professionally outrageous manner the editorial was written, could be interpreted. If the oldest newspaper in Nigeria has to be taught the basics in editorial writing, then the house that Awo built is in great danger and it needs urgent rescue.
“Besides, if the editorial is the most sacred voice of a newspaper, every newspaper must be wary of profaning that voice with old wives’ tales; hence it is a matter of time before it totally destroys itself, the path of perdition that Tribune has already embarked upon by devoting all its energy to reactionary causes.
“The paper claimed that Governor Babatunde Fashola, SAN was humiliated for months before he was endorsed for second term. It also lamented that the ACN dropped Princess Sarah Sosan as Fashola’s running mate. But when did naming a party’s gubernatorial candidate and dropping a deputy become the business of a newspaper? Is that evidence of editorial idleness? Besides, what sort of newspaper would serve creative speculation as hard evidence and go on to put such in its leader article?
“But by far the editorial’s most dangerous insinuation was that ACN folks were crying wolf on fears about Asiwaju Tinubu’s personal safety, given the murderous desperation of his political opponents in the Tribune’s beloved Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). And the wild claim that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has questioned Asiwaju Tinubu’s source of wealth – but how so?
“Might it be said Tribune’s editors do not again understand simple English? As to the lazy attempt to dismiss fears about Asiwaju Tinubu’s safety as hoax, even a first time visitor from Mars, if he is told the long list of unresolved political assassinations in this clime, would learn not to be smug about any conspiratorial alert. But then, Tribune we fear, is too far gone!
If the Tribune editorial had kept to criticising political party primaries, and kept to facts and trend, it would still have had legitimate rights, no matter how adverse its judgement had been on any party. Everyone after all, has an opinion on things.
“But hiding behind the primaries to attack the integrity of a private citizen, simply because the Tribune harbours partisan sympathies against that citizen, is the height of editorial irresponsibility and the climax of editorial rascality.
“Such rascality does grave injury to the memory of the great Chief Obafemi Awolowo, who founded the Tribune and whose name this newspaper is dragging in the mud by its reckless partisanship.”The party said accusing it of nepotism is to turn the meaning of the word upside down, adding: ‘’Since when did it become a sign of nepotism to give everyone a chance to seek an elective post on the platform of a party? Does being a former governor’s child bar any qualified person from contesting election?
‘’On Mrs Oluremi Tinubu, she is more than qualified to run for the Senatorial seat she is seeking, using whatever criteria there are.
“She has paid her dues and made sacrifices for the democracy that has given some hack writers to say whatever catches their fancy today. For five years, she was in exile with her husband. Later, her New Era Foundation gave her the much-needed platform to touch many lives. Unless of course Tribune is arguing that being Tinubu’s wife disqualifies her from seeking any elective post.
‘’And we make bold to say that if Grace Bent from Osun State can contest Senatorial election in Adamawa, the Ogun-born Mrs. Oluremi Tinubu can represent Lagos State in the Senate,’’ the party said.
It also accused Tribune of publishing half truths by saying Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti dissolved the local government councils in the state without following the law, when indeed the governor dissolved the councils in accordance with the law promulgated when the PDP held sway in the state.
‘’For Governor Rauf Aregbesola of Osun State, it was the right thing to do by waiting for the pronouncement of the Supreme Court, that the local government elections conducted by the usurper Olagunsoye Oyinlola administration violated Osun State’s electoral laws, before dissolving the councils,’’ ACN said.
The party wondered why a paper that sees nothing wrong in a PDP stalwart openly and crudely casting aspersion on the integrity of Court of Appeal Justices will resort to writing the kind of balderdash that was foisted on hapless readers as an editorial.
‘’But we are aware that this kind of editorial can help to lay the groundwork for rigging in the forthcoming elections. However, we dare anyone to rig the next elections and see whether he or she will live to tell the story’’, ACN said.