The Unfairness Of TVC’s Journalists Hangout On The Sacking Of NHIS Boss And The Governing Board Of The Scheme, By Maiwada Dammallam

I monitored today’s edition of TVC’s Journalist Hangout and I was horrified by the callous and flagrant abuse of the most basic ethic of journalism — fairness.

Babajide’s submission on Prof. Usman Yusuf on Journalist Hangout today was unfair, biased and utterly disgusting. Without saying the committee’s findings or why the President sacked Prof. Yusuf,  Babajide went ahead to hang him in the most callous manner imaginable. Worse, without any basis for his conclusions.

Prof. Usman Yusuf was sacked by the President who has the discretion to do so even without reason. Ain’t we jumping the gun when we conclude that Prof. Yusuf was sacked for corruption and not for other possible reasons the President might have considered to exercise his discretion? President Buhari probably sacked the ES and the Governing board just to bring peace to NHIS in a “no victor na vanquish” manner that’s an acceptable conflict resolution technique. Without description of the decision processes that culminated with the sack, it’s unfair and unjust to declare he was sacked for corruption. Even more unjust, when he’s picked alone for the damaging verdict. TVC was biased no doubt about that.

To prove bias, there were two sides of the NHIS conflict. On one hand was Prof. Yusuf, the Executive Secretary and on the other, the Governing Council. Even without going into the details of the conflict, many will agree with me that to be fair to both sides, both sides must be seen to be given a fair hearing (in this case, fair review). That’s not the case with the review by Babajide on TVC’s Journalist Hangout.

Where the TVC forum was all out to hang Prof. Yusuf, it conspiratorially silent about why the President sacked the entire Governing Council of the NHIS including the Chairman that arbitrarily sacked Prof. Yusuf twice on phantom charges of corruption while lacking the powers to do so.


Was the Council also sacked for corruption like Prof. Yusuf as declared by Babajide? Babajide didn’t say while making it obvious he was simply being lenient to the other side of the conflict while scandalizing the other side. Given that the whole NHIS saga was based on one fundamental issue — theft of the scheme’s funds — which was kickstarted by Prof. Usman when he accused HMOs of fleecing the NHIS in total disregard of their contractual obligations.

The Governing Council fired the second salvo when it accused Prof. Yusuf of sundry corruption charges that refused to hold before EFCC and committees of the National Assembly — charges that were totally irrelevant to the allegations he made against the HMOs and which were left hanging by the Governing Council to pursue the charges against Prof. Yusuf. Now that both Prof. Yusuf and the entire Governing Council were sacked by the President and TVC chose review the saga, one will love to know what informed TVC’s eerie silence on the fate of the Governing Council where it was loud in condemning and convicting Prof. Yusuf?

I’m yet to read the details of the decision but even the most acerbic report, SR’s report, only has it he was sacked and gave only a scanty explanation. According to SR, “Prof. Yusuf was sacked because he was undermining the board.” So, why was he sacked along with the “upright” board he was undermining and why was Babajide quick to conclude Prof. Yusuf was sacked for corruption and not for a lesser offence of “undermining the board?” Was it to avoid discussing why the board was sacked along with Prof. Yusuf? This is quite below the standards of TVC’s Journalists Hangout and especially the standards of Babajide.

It’s truly time to break the monopoly of information dissemination in Nigeria. The Lagos/Ibadan axis press is sure having a ball building and destroying names as they deem suitable to their sentiments.


Disclaimer: This article is entirely the opinion of the writer and does not represent the views of The Whistler.


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