‘Blame Media For Rivers Crisis’
In what appears to be
an inquest into the role of the media in politics, veteran newspaperman and one-time Editor of the defunct Sunday Tide, Chief Wofuru Okparaolu says the media must take the blame for the lingering political crisis in Rivers State.
He spoke at a recent media round-table on Rivers State Political Crisis: Issues on Media Ethics and Practices, held at the auditorium of the Rivers State Ministry of Justice, Port Harcourt.
Okparaolu, a former Commissioner in the Rivers State Local Government Service Commission, noted that, “the Rivers State political crisis would not have been blown out of proportion if the media were objective in reporting and analysing political events in the state.”
Insisting that the media’s adversarial reportorial approach helped to polarise the polity and escalate the crisis. Okparaolu, currently the President of League of Veteran Journalists, Rivers State Chapter, regretted that the Nigerian media are no longer effective mediating institutions that once spoke for the numerous disadvantaged masses in Nigeria.”
From all indications, he lamented that the media now appears to speak less reliably on behalf of the oppressed while pandering to the rich. “As an institution it (media) has gravitated towards elite interests, converging with the powerful few who already dominate the social, economic and political arena.”
Warning that should the media fail in strictly abiding by ethics of journalism, especially in upholding objectivity, fairness and accuracy, it “will continue to fan the embers of national discord and ferment crisis that is capable of distabilising the polity as it has succeeded in doing in Rivers State.
… Vote Buyers Attack EFCC Operatives In Kaduna
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) says its operatives were attacked in Kaduna on Saturday during the governorship and state houses of assembly elections held across the country.
In a statement on Saturday by Wilson Uwujaren, EFCC spokesperson, the commission said the operatives came under attack at School Road in Unguwan Rimi, Kaduna, while attempting to arrest a suspected vote buyer identified as Kabiru Musa.
Uwujaren said the suspect was seen in a video inducing voters by using his phone to transfer money into their accounts after they cast their votes.
“Immediately he was accosted by the operatives, Musa became unruly and screamed to attract the attention of his syndicate members, who descended on the operatives, using all manner of weapons that left some of them injured. It took great restraints for the operatives to ignore the unprovoked attack but insisted on arresting the suspect,” the statement reads.
“As the team drove away with the suspect, their vehicle was pelted with stones and other dangerous objects that damaged the windshield and three operatives suffered varying degrees of injuries in the process.
“The injured operatives are currently receiving medical attention at the Medical Centre of the Kaduna Zonal Command, while the suspect is in custody, pending conclusion of the investigation.
“It will be recalled that EFCC teams were similarly attacked during the presidential and national assembly elections, leaving some of its vehicles badly damaged.”
Reacting to the incident, Abdulrasheed Bawa, EFCC chairperson, commended the operatives for exercising restraint under extreme provocation.
He, however, appealed to the public to desist from attacking officers of the commission as it would no longer be tolerated.
Gov’ship/State Assembly Polls: EFCC Arrests 65 Suspects Over Vote Buying
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) says its operatives arrested 65 persons across the country over alleged voter inducement.
EFCC spokesperson, Wilson Uwujaren, announced the development on Saturday in a statement on the commission’s monitoring activities of the governorship and state houses of assembly elections across the country.
He said 20 of the suspects were arrested in Kwara, while 13 suspects were arrested in Kaduna state.
He added that 12 suspects were arrested in Rivers; four each in Akwa Ibom and Cross River, while others were apprehended in Gombe, Sokoto, Kebbi, and Niger states.
“Those arrested in Kaduna State were 10 males and three females. They were apprehended by EFCC operatives either working on intelligence reports or were chanced upon during monitoring,” the statement read.
“A suspect allegedly involved in vote buying was nabbed at School Road, Unguwan Rimi in Kaduna. The suspect, who initially resisted arrest, is however in custody pending the conclusion of investigation.
“Also in Kaduna, a team arrested a suspect with voter coupons, which he confessed would be used to trace and pay those who voted for his party”, the statement added.
The EFCC also said its team monitoring voting around Local Education Authority School, Kabala Doki in Kaduna, arrested two suspects for vote buying, while the sum of N67,500, a list containing names of voters and bank account details were recovered from the suspects.
“Some of the items recovered from the suspects were voter cards, monies, lists containing names and account details of voters, and telephone recharge cards,” he added.
Alleged Party Name Omission, NNPP Candidate Threatens Suit Against INEC
Olufemi Ajadi, the governorship candidate of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) in Ogun State, says the party will sue the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) over the “omission of the party’s name from ballot papers”.
Ajadi spoke with journalists on Saturday after casting his vote at Ofada, Obafemi Owode LGA of Ogun state.
The NNPP candidate said he was “disappointed” over the conduct of the governorship and house of assembly elections in the state.
Ajadi said the party had earlier written a letter to INEC to ensure the inclusion of his party’s name on the ballot paper, instead of only the logo.
“As you can see, we cannot see security everywhere. In my polling unit, where I cast my vote, the APC gathered hoodlums to attack me,” he said.
“I’m so disappointed in this country. I’m so disappointed about the leaders that we have. People can’t move around freely to the extent that they were dragging guns with my security. Can you imagine? No, this is not an election.
“On the ballot paper, I can’t see my party, the NNPP. After writing to INEC, to make amendment before the election and today is an election, we can’t find the name, only the logo.
“By the grace of God, we are going to court to challenge INEC on reasons why they failed to put our name on the ballot paper. I’m disappointed in INEC”, he lamented.
When The Tide source checked the list of political parties on INEC website, it was observed that the name of the party was not inscribed on the party’s logo.
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