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Dissecting the ‘Lion of Bourdillion’ et- al

The African Indepen­dent Television (AIT) on 1st March at 11PM aired a documentary entitled: ‘Un­masking the Real Tinubu.’ The one-hour documen­tary was aimed at showcas­ing the various properties and companies across La­gos and other parts of the country owned by Tinubu whom it described as “Ni­geria’s biggest landlord.” It also said that Tinubu was “charged with narcot­ics” in 1993 in the United States. Tinubu is a former governor of Lagos State and the national leader of the All Progressives Con­gress (APC).

Tinubu is seriously an­gry with the documentary. His lawyer, Tunji Abayomi in a letter dated March 2, 2015 and addressed to the management of Daar Communications Limited, owners of AIT, gave the organization 24 hours to apologize and retract the publication or face a N20 billion litigation. The letter stated in part that “We are surprised that your media house – and we hold you re­sponsible for the documen­tary – lacks simple ability to know what is justifiable for publication or under­stand that freedom of ex­pression does not include deliberate defamation of character.” Abayomi went on to say that since Tinubu was not running for po­litical office, he found the publication about his life “utterly absurd, disrespect­ful of media responsibil­ity, ethically abusive, mali­cious and unbecoming of a public institution raised into prominence by share­holders’ funds.”

Although AIT indicated that the documentary on Tinubu was sponsored without saying who the sponsor is, most pundits are speculating that it orig­inated from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Presidential Campaign Organisation., just as was the earlier documentary on Major Gen. Muhamma­du Buhari, the Presiden­tial candidate of the APC where he was depicted as an unrepentant military ty­rant unfit to govern a mod­ern democracy.

At no time in the his­tory of Nigeria have hate-message and mudsling­ing taken prominence in electioneering campaigns than in the current 2015 general elections. The two leading parties, the PDP and the APC, have been making efforts to tear each other apart with some of the most biting and deeply penetrating tar-pouring both on each other as well as on their candidates at all levels but mostly on the presidential candidates.

Globally, a political cam­paign is a deliberate and or­ganized effort by political parties aimed at influenc­ing the decision-making process of individuals and interest groups for the pur­pose of gaining their votes. This is done through infor­mation on what and how the parties and candidates would positively affect the lives of the people if elect­ed into public office.

Unfortunately however, some party officials tend to deviate from canvassing support based on issues to assassinating the charac­ter of their rivals through mud- pouring. And this is not unique to Nigeria.

Without taking us far too back in history, in the 2008 American presidential election, some extremists from the Republican Party highlighted the ‘Hussein’ and ‘Obama’ aspects of Barack’s name and tried to portray him as being re­lated to Osama Bin Laden and therefore linking him to terrorism. They distrib­uted 28 million copies of fear-mongering video to see how they could swing states.

Here in Nigeria, hate messages have been the hallmark of the leading op­position since 1999. From the time of Action Con­gress to when they merged with Action Congress of Democrats (ACD) to form Action Congress of Nige­ria (ACN) down to the cur­rent APC, the opposition has done everything to in­stigate Nigerians against President Goodluck Jona­than as well as belittle the dignity of his office. While APC officials try to portray their party and its leaders as saints, they have invest­ed so much resources and time, especially using the media both conventional and the social media, to portray Jonathan and the PDP as demons. There is no derogatory name the APC and its promoters have not called the PDP and its lead­ers, the worst insulted and most criticised being Presi­dent Jonathan.

But APC’s pouring of venom on PDP and its gov­ernment and top person­alities reached the peak in the build-up to the 2015 general election. For the past twelve months, the APC has taken PDP and President Jonathan to the cleaners. They have called Jonathan clueless presi­dent, kindergarten leader, treasury looter, sponsor of book haram and so much more.

The problem the APC is facing currently is that the party wasted its bullets before the real war began. While the APC was busy insulting the PDP and its leaders and candidates, especially Jonathan, the PDP kept quiet while as­sembling its arsenals and waiting for the last battle. Now that the final whistle is blown, the APC has ex­hausted its weapons and the PDP has therefore moved in and taken the APC captive.

A few weeks before the election, a combination of Gov. Ayo Fayose and Fani Kayode have unleashed un­precedented attacks on the image of Buhari, Tinubu and other APC leaders making hundreds of dis­closures that have shocked even the most ardent sup­porters of APC. Even Olisa Metuh, the National Pub­licity Secretary of the PDP who has continued to insist on issues-based campaigns last week called APC a party of one week one lie. Metuh said APC and its leaders are churning out lies in promises and fig­ures deliberately aimed at misleading Nigerians, even when they know they can­not achieve what they are promising.

Now get the teeth of the matter. While Jonathan’s re-election campaign is based on his performance in the past four years, the APC is propelling Buhari on the basis of his integ­rity since there is not much to refer to in terms of Bu­hari’s past achievements.

So in churning out ‘evi­dences’ to show that even the so-called integrity is lacking in APC, its candi­dates and leaders, the PDP, if it is actually the party that is sponsoring the docu­mentaries on Buhari, Tinu­bu and other APC leaders is really holding the oppo­sition party by the jugular.

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Email: melahbonaven­

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