Of course, The Nation is the official in-house journal of the lying APC

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By Simeon Nwakaudu

To expect The Nation Newspapers  owned by the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, APC,  to be objective  in matters concerning Rivers State, is tantamount  to expecting a cockroach to get justice  in a court presided over by fowls. The Nation Newspaper  is an embodiment  of everything  that is false and undemocratic.  Therefore, this mouthpiece  of the APC  lacks the capacity  to  be truthful.

On Tuesday, February 16, 2016  The Nation  rehashed in its Editorial  the infantile, false , misleading   and unsubstantiated allegations  first put in the public domain  by the defeated Rivers State APC Governorship candidate, Dakuku Peterside wherein he deliberately  misinterpreted  the vote of thanks  of Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike  to Former Governor Peter Odili and other leaders of Rivers State at the Thanksgiving Service after the Supreme Court judgment.

Though,  the Rivers State APC  has officially  apologised to Former Governor Peter Odili and his wife, Justice Mary Odili,  the party through its official  in-house journal, The Nation, is throwing up the matter using untoward language  and  baseless rhetoric.

In its Editorial of Tuesday,  February 16, 2016 titled: “Wike’s confession”, The Nation  in its tradition  of falsehood  and pro-APC propaganda claimed  like Dakuku Peterside that Governor  Wike  influenced  the decision  of  the  Supreme Court with Former Governor Peter Odili’s  advice.  The newspaper  went ahead to allege that Governor Wike  attended the Body of  Benchers  meeting and tried unsuccessfully  to make reference  to  a previous visit of Governor Wike to the office of the CJN.

All through the propaganda editorial,  all The Nation  did was to repeat the infamous Dakuku Peterside press statement which has been condemned  by all well-meaning  Nigerians and legal experts.

To begin with, the Rivers  State Government,  in a press statement  issued by the State Information Commissioner,  Dr Austin Tam-George explained  clearly  the governor’s  statement  during  his thanksgiving service.

While denying the Dakuku Peterside’s allegation that Governor Wike  influenced the decision of the Supreme Court, Dr Tam-George declared:

” Why then did Governor Wike lose his appeal to the Supreme Court on the issue of proper venue where the Rivers State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal should sit? After all, the distinguished Honourable Justice Mary Odili was on that seven-man panel of the Justices of the Supreme Court that dismissed Governor Wike’s appeal. Then, “there was nothing fundamentally wrong with the Supreme Court”. Now that she was not even on the panel that heard the Rivers State Governorship appeal, she is accused of interference. We ask again, was Justice Odili also the one that influenced Akwa Ibom, Ogun, Delta, Abia, and other States’ Governorship appeal at the Supreme Court?

“Clearly the advice that was given by Dr. Peter Odili a medical practitioner and leader of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Rivers State was purely fatherly which Governor Wike took and it served him well unlike Dr. Dakuku Peterside and his master Rotimi Amaechi who never seek wise Counsel or allow themselves to be guided by wise counsel”.

The Nation  went ahead to question  Governor Wike’s  presence at Body of Benchers meeting after the judgement of the Supreme Court.  Governor Wike has been a member  of  the  Body of Benchers  for over three years. In fact,  he is not the only governor who is a member  of  that body. He also  attended  the  meeting  of this August Assembly last October when the Supreme Court threw out his appeal  on the territorial jurisdiction of the Rivers State tribunal. At that time, The Nation, the official in-house journal of the lying APC only celebrated the story.

It is no longer news that the Rivers State Government explained  the  reason  Governor Wike attempted to visit the  office of the CJN.

The Rivers State Government at the time issued a statement noting:
“While it is true that the governor went to see the CJN on July 7 and 9, 2015, his mission was to brief the CJN in his capacity as the chairman of the NJC on the need to renew the appointment of the acting Chief Judge of the state and also the acting president of the Customary Court of Appeal.

“It should be noted that the current tenure of the incumbents will expire by the end of August 2015, by which time, the courts will be on vacation and the NJC may not be in a position to consider any request for the renewal of their reappointments. There is therefore an urgent need to expeditiously secure the renewal of the appointments of acting Chief Judge of the state and her counterpart in the Customary Court of Appeal before the vacation begins.

“Although the governor went to the CJN’s office on the said dates but never met him because he was not around. However, considering the urgency and importance of his mission, the governor wrote to the CJN the next day which was July 10, 2015, requesting the approval of the NJC for him to renew the appointments of Justice Okocha and Justice Nwankwo as acting Chief Judge of the state, and the acting President of the state Customary Court of Appeal respectively.

“The requests were premised on the need to avoid a sudden vacuum and ensure continuity in the administration of the state’s judiciary pending the appointment of substantive occupants into these offices.”

The Statement added:  “There is nothing wrong in the governor, who is also a member of the Body of Benchers, going to see the CJN during official working hours on issues pertaining to the effective administration of justice in his state.

“Therefore, linking the governor’s visit to the CJN with the ongoing election petition is to say the least, malicious, tendentious and a wicked attempt to drag the name of our most revered CJN and indeed the apex court into the murky waters of politics.”

The Supreme Court has released her reasons for the judgement on the Rivers State Governorship Election Petition. Same has been  done for several  other states. Nobody  expects the official in-house journal of the lying APC to celebrate  the judgement  on Rivers State.  However,  if this journal  has any iota of decency left, it ought to  be  minimally  consistent.

Was it not The Nation that  celebrated the Appeal Court judgment  on Lagos State pertaining the  card reader and accreditation  flowing from it? Why is The Nation  suffering  acute amnesia when the Supreme  Court  upheld  same reasons as it affects Rivers State? This is taking sponsored  propaganda  to  ridiculous  heights where reason is thrown overboard.

To remind the editors of The Nation, the Court of Appeal in Lagos adjudicating on the Jimi Agbaje (PDP) v. Akinwunmi Ambode  (APC) Governorship Election Petition declared  thus as reported in the in-house journal of the lying APC:
 “The paragraph (13b) displays a vitriolic attack on the irregularities germinating from the improper or non-use of the smart card readers in the polling units.

“As it is, it has no life of its own as a ground. It endeavours to introduce the defects in the use of smart card readers. The evolution of the concept of smart card reader is a familiar one. It came to being during the last general election. On this score, it is a nascent procedure injected into our infant and fledgling electoral system to ensure credible and transparent election.

“The extant Electoral Act (2010) which predates the concept (of card reader) is not its parent or progenitor. Since it is not the progeny of the Electoral Act, fronting it as a ground to challenge any election does not have its (the Electoral Act’s) blessing, nay Section 138 (1) of it.

“Put simply, a petitioner cannot project the non-presence or improper use of smart card reader as a ground for questioning an election. It does not qualify as one.”

Why is The Nation  crying about the position of the Supreme Court when same position  had earlier  favoured their political party? Besides,  this same position  was used for all the governorship  petitions that got to the  Supreme Court. Oyo, Ogun, Adamawa, Yobe, Kaduna, Zamfara, Kebbi, Ebonyi etc. The special interest in Rivers State is understandable.  Or is The Nation  implying that Governor Wike influenced all these judgments  some of which were delivered  long before  the  Rivers matter got to the Apex court?

The Nation’s newspaper political party, the APC alleged that violence  marred the  governorship  election  in  Rivers State, but failed to discharge  the burden of proof  on  a polling unit by polling unit basis as required by the Electoral Act. Out of  4442 polling  units  in Rivers State,  the APC called only  three voters. Of these three voters only one claimed he was disenfranchised.  Even The Nation’s editor wouldn’t  annul that election if faced with non-existent  proofs.

Section 53 (1) of the Electoral Act 2010 as amended stipulates how to prove over voting. It is strictly on a polling unit by polling unit basis.

It reads: “Where the votes cast at an election in any polling unit exceed the number of registered voters in that polling unit, the result of the election in that polling unit shall be declared void by the Commission and another election may be conducted at a date to be fixed by the Commission where the result at that polling unit may affect the overall result in the constituency “.

Over-voting and irregularities  cannot be proven  by the weight  of  Media misrepresentation or propaganda  at the disposal  of  The Nation  and the lying APC.

All through  the  campaigns  and the elections, the APC  used her in-house journal, The Nation Newspaper to spread falsehood,  concoct non-existent  scenarios and mislead unsuspecting  people about the Rivers situation. Going forward,  nobody  expects  The Nation newspaper  to repent. Falsehood  has permeated the structure  of  the  newspaper  like a virus  and nobody  expects  it to be cured in the foreseeable future.

The Nation  has led the worst traditions of journalism  in recent history,  heaping insults on institutions of democracy  and the rule of law   for the purpose  of  promoting  the  pecuniary  interests of its pay masters. If they failed all through the electioneering  period  till date as regards Rivers State, they will  never  succeed. The people  are wiser than these evil fiction  writers. They rejected the APC  because  of its romance  with lies and indicted crooks. Twenty venom-laced false propaganda-based editorials will make no difference  in Rivers State.

As the people of  Rivers State sang during  the  campaign,  keep your  change and give us Wike. They have been proven right. While APC  governors are dancing  on the altar of propaganda, doing nothing, Wike has distinguished  himself  as the best governor  in Nigeria,  today . The challenge  is on the  APC  and  her in-house journal  to identify  any APC  governors in the category  of  Wike. They should bring proofs  of projects executed and programmes  initiated. We are not talking about the number  of  lies told.

The Nation Newspaper must be  told that the  people of Rivers State have made their choice which has been  confirmed  by the Supreme Court.  It is normal  that as workers in the APC’S in-house journal,  they should  mourn their loss of a source  of  financial  inflow like their chairman, Odigie-Oyegun did, but they are expected  to  be reasonable when they weep without basis.

Why all these explanations.  Abi no be The Nation  again? Whatever you do, lying is in their DNA. 


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