According to Robert Charles Lee, “the real partisan attitudes in the media industry reside in the depths of those who control the journalists — not the senior editors (although they are not blameless), but the media directors and ‘business-side’ managers who run the companies that the journalists work for. And those people are NOT journalists by background or inclination.”
It means that those who press the button behind and therefore determine editorial opinion of an average newspaper most times are political and business managers of the companies operating media houses, and these people are the ones compromising one of the essential ethics of the media profession which is objectivity.
Allegations have continued to pile up that a particular pro-north newspaper has deliberately aligned with the opposition both at the state and national levels to malign and denigrate the current Gombe State government and the person of Governor Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo in order to put them in bad light before the people of the State and Nigerians in general. If these allegations are true, that is not a good development and should concern all well meaning citizens of Nigeria.
According to those that hold this view (and they are many), the particular newspaper sees nothing good to write or publish about the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)-led government of Gombe State in spite of the well known fact that Dankwambo’s administration is on the first row seat among performing states in Nigeria today.
They say that the paper has continued to fabricate unsubstantiated allegations and outright barefaced lies to mislead the people of Gombe State and Nigerians in general aimed at diminishing or tarnishing the image of Governor Dankwambo and his government.
While press freedom is very crucial to the development of any nation and the society, we think that the media, because of the enormous power it has and the massive influence it can engender, should be fair and neutral especially when politics is concerned.
There is the need for the media to learn from what happened in the United States during the 2016 presidential election when the current President Donald Trump consistently alleged bias and partisanship against the popular CNN because of the ways and manners CNN correspondents reported issues affecting the election.
As at today, many CNN watchers across the world are still faced with the reality that their favourite news source is seen largely as ‘Fake News CNN’ as Donald Trump and his supporters labelled the international media channel.
Although we are aware of the popular old cliché that ‘He who pays the piper dictates his tunes,’ credible media outlets that have worked very hard over the years to earn credibility and respect among their readers should not allow politics and politicians derail or erode their vision for which they have stood out among the crowd, especially because the tide can always change.
According to Wakilu Mukaila Idris who spoke on the disturbing partisanship of the newspaper and its attempts to pull Dankwambo and his government down, “The deliberate and wicked efforts are being made to present Dankwambo in bad light because of the love and admiration he enjoys in Gombe State as well as permutations
that the governor is favoured to fly the flag of his party for the 2019 presidential election due to his track records of achievements and especially because there has never been any allegation of corruption against him, in spite of the fact that he has held several high profile positions at the state and Federal levels before becoming governor of the state.
“His Excellency, Governor Ibrahim Hassan Damkwanbo is very popular here in Gombe State. He is the Talban Gombe for his enviable track records of achievements. But the opposition is not happy that Dankwambo has achieved so much in the state.
They are not happy that his name resonates all over Gombe State, across the 36 states of the federation and the Federal capital territory Abuja. What pains the opposition the most is that in spite of the many positions he has occupied in the past both in Gombe State and the national level including serving as the Accountant General of the Federation, his records are clean and transparent.
“They are therefore scared that if the PDP decides to field him as their presidential candidate for the 2019 presidential election, his performances at all levels, his integrity and accountability will combine to make him the candidate to beat at the polls.
That is why the opposition has recruited this particular newspaper to continue to dish out lies, bogus allegations that can never be proved as well as deployment of editorial opinions that breach all known professional ethics to mislead the public and present the governor in bad light,” he said.
Apart from serial ill-motivated reports that are laced with innuendos constantly filed by their reporters and published on daily basis, the management of the paper is equally not neutral as its editorial opinions openly showcase the bias and confrontation of the paper against the state government, it was alleged.
He said, “Dankwambo is an accomplished accountant, banker, financial administrator and politician. He holds a degree in accounting from the Ahmadu Bello University Zaria and a Master Degree in Economics from University of Lagos, Dankwambo went for a Doctorate in accounting from Igbinedion University
and has trained at some of the most prestigious financial and leadership institutions in the world among which are Harvard University on Global Financial Systems (Crisis, Prospects and Solutions); Duke University DCID, Durbam on Budgeting and Finance Management programmes. These are some of the reasons the opposition is having sleepless nights and restless days,” Wakilu said.
According to him, the governor was with Coopers and Lybrand for a few years before joining the Central Bank of Nigeria from 1988 to 1999 when he was appointed Accountant General of Gombe State and later Accountant General of the Federation and contested and won election to become governor of Gombe State in 2011 and was sworn in 29th May, 2011 and has over the past seven years exhibited exceptional leadership skill that has helped to place Gombe on the global map.
“That is also the headache of the opposition but the media should not be influenced to be in bed with the enemies of the state. Apart from his performance and service records of integrity, age is on his side at 56,” Wakilu concluded.