Tinubu Asks NBC To Sanction Channels TV
In what may be seen as attack on the free media, the President-Elect, Bola Tinubu, has written to the National Broadcasting Commission, NBC, demanding immediate sanction of Channels Television, accusing it of breaching the Nigerian Broadcasting Code.
Tinubu said the TV outfit broke section 14.0.1, when it hosted the vice presidential running mate of the Labour Party Datti Baba-Ahmed last week, who he said made several incendiary comments impugning the integrity of the 25 February presidential election in the country.
He pointed out in the petition signed by the Director, Media and Publicity, Bayo Onanuga on behalf of the Special Adviser, Media, Public Affairs and Communications, APC Presidential Campaign Council, that, “In line with Section 14.0.1 of the Nigerian Broadcasting Code 6th edition stating the duty of the National Broadcasting Commission to accept complaints from aggrieved persons, bodies or members of the public and investigate as well as apply sanctions where necessary, the All Progressives Congress Presidential Campaign Council hereby petitions the Commission on what it considers breaches by CHANNELS TV last week on its programme ‘Politics Today’ which airs daily at 7pm on weekdays.”
He accused the running mate of Peter Obi of saying that, “The Labour Party won the elections. This is a fallacy and not correct.
“According to the Code, a Broadcaster is liable when his guest is allowed to make a wild statement that is inaccurate and not based on fact.
“The only factual figures empirically collated as the final result is the one released by the Independent National Electoral Commission which placed Labour Party as third.
“The guest on the programme in question Datti Baba -Ahmed said the President of the country, Muhammadu Buhari, should not swear in the President -elect because he did not score 25% vote in the FCT, being one of the prerequisites for being declared winner.
“This is a subversive statement since the matter is before the tribunal and is among the issues submitted in their petition to the courts for adjudication.
“Therefore until and unless the court rules otherwise, the status quo is the INEC position as declared in the final results
“The guest Datti Baba Ahmed’s comments about Labour Party winning the presidential vote undermines constituted authority given to INEC in the 1999 Constitution as the body vested with the powers to conduct and announce the results of national general elections in Nigeria.
“Any other figures will have to be certified by the tribunal as the authentic one
“Therefore Mr Datti’s comments that the INEC certificate of return issued to the President-elect is a “dud cheque” and is null and void is not only divisive, subversive but also inciting and inflammatory,” the petition read.
He further cited that, “The Code states in Section 3.8.1(b) that ‘A Broadcaster shall ensure that no programme contains anything which amounts to subversion of constituted authority or compromises the unity or corporate existence of Nigeria as a Sovereign state’.
“The statement by Mr Datti Baba-Ahmed later on the same programme that if ‘President Buhari should hand over to the President-elect Bola Ahmed Tinubu by May 29, that would be the end of democracy’ is another case of unguarded utterance.
“This is in breach of Section 5.3.3(b) which states that – ‘A Broadcaster shall avoid inflammatory and divisive matters in its provocative form in using political material’.
“Furthermore, Section 22.214.171.124 states that- ‘No Broadcaster shall encourage or incite to crime, lead to public disorder or hate, or repugnant to public feelings’ materials that cause disaffection,” his petition said.
He argued that, “By denying the authenticity of the INEC Presidential election results Mr Datti is at liberty to seek for the voiding of the results, but until the court or tribunal upturns those results they remain the authentic results. Channels TV cannot encourage him to use its platform to create anarchy by disputing results on air without corroborating his facts.
“In asking the President not to swear in the President-elect he is subverting the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC’s constitutionally guaranteed authority.
“In using words like ‘handing over to the President-elect Bola Ahmed Tinubu will be the end of democracy’ he is not only promoting a threat but instigating a call to rebellion against the state. This is antithetical to the use of the media for social harmony and peace.
“It is our considered opinion that the guest Datti Baba-Ahmed was not only provocative but also inciting the public and the Labour Party followers to delegitimise the outcome of the elections but also propagate resistance against the incoming dully elected administration. of Bola Ahmed-Tinubu and Kashim Shettima.
“We therefore urge the Commission to invoke the necessary sanctions on Channels TV for the breaches enumerated above”.
This is coming a few months after his battle with Arise TV over similar broadcast on the 2023 general elections.
The former Lagos State Governor’s camp led by Onanuga had a long drawn out battle with the Arise TV, accusing the TV outfit of “unfair coverage, damaging reports and subjectivity” when he faced repeated calls for TV interviews and full declaration of his age, health status and education background.