PREMIUM TIMES : THE CRUEL TWIST OF NARRATIVE AGAINST AKPABIO

 

By Joe Iniodu

Yesterday brought the assertion captured in the above caption to a sordid and sore point. The matter filed at a Federal High Court in Abuja by DIG Udom Ekpoudom (rtd) against INEC and APC demanding that his name be submitted by the party and published by INEC respectively in respect to an “unapproved” senatorial primary held on May 27, 2022 instead of the scheduled date of May 28, 2022 as approved by the NEC of the party and adhered to by APC all over the country came up for hearing on Wednesday without Akpabio joined in the suit but attracting screaming headlines by an online publication that should know better.

Even though Akpabio was not overtly joined in the matter , the litigation has more than a remote relationship to him being the nominated candidate of APC which Ekpoudom is disputing albeit via a defective process. Because of the saliency of Akpabio to the matter, his lawyers and supporters were in court to listen to the proceedings which commenced yesterday. Most people who were there are therefore shocked at the fallacious report of Premium Times which constitutes such gross violation of ethical stardard to merit its description as yellow journalism.

According to a report by Premium Times, the Judge in response to a motion filed by Ekpoudom, had asked that INEC provides certified true copies of the report of May 27 primary election for Akwa Ibom North West Senatorial District. It also ordered INEC to produce a letter or form from APC in which APC submitted the name of its candidate for Akwa Ibom North West Senatorial District. It also demanded for INEC calendar of political parties’ primaries. These are genuine requests that would give clear insight and assist the Judge take a decision that is fair, just and in consonance with the provisions of the law. So how has Akpabio’s senatorial ambition suffered a set back in the face of these demands. The appeals of APC and Akpabio’s lawyer that the motion be thrown out is a known court procedure since the matter tends to lack substance having ab initio been predicated on a faulty foundation and therefore wanting in facts and evidence.

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Premium Times has fallen short of ethical/standard reportage which should guide its professional operations. Reports of the judiciary require delicateness to avoid falling foul of the law. When reporting an ongoing matter in court, one must be mindful not to commit subjudice . What Premium Times has done through its report on the matter is to preempt the judge by infusing emotions into the narrative and correspondingly misleading the people. The online publication went to the ridiculous extent of crossing its border by veering into stating legal positions, interpreting them and manufacturing judgements. For instance, according to Premium Times ” The Electoral Act 2022 empowers INEC to reject candidates that emerge from party primaries that it did not monitor”. The provision as quoted here is strange and must be known only to Premium Times.

The neutrality of Premium Times in this report is suspect and can not pass the test of ethics and unbiased reporting. This is seen even in the way Akpabio is given negative prominence and the narrative tweaked to look unfavorable for a man who was not even joined in the matter. We are all victims of our own emotions. A journalist should aspire to be an unbiased reporter. Reports are expected to be the chronicling of events, not the advertisement of biases and prejudice which inexorably lead to defective and distorted reports.

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