AIT’s Unfair Tackle On Garba Shehu By Chukwudi Enekwechi
An attempt by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu to do a post mortem of the March 2015 Presidential election and the campaigns leading to it has unexpectedly elicited a negative reaction from DAAR Communications Plc, owners of AIT.
In what many Nigerians consider to be an overreaction by the broadcast house to an appraisal of the events that took place during the presidential contest between President Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressive Congress and former President Goodluck Jonathan of the PDP, DAAR Communications Plc decided to denigrate the presidential spokesman.
Though the campaigns are over, yet it is in the realm of scholarship for us to scrutinize the performance of the media during the period under review. The reason why such issues should be put in perspective is to draw the attention of the media to the need to ensure balance in their reportage and coverage.
It is undeniable that the PDP government used enormous government resources including federal government owned media organs like NTA, Radio Nigeria, VON and the privately owned media like AIT to unleash hate campaigns against the Buhari candidature.
To the eternal credit of Garba Shehu and his team, they were able to prove to Nigerians the failure of PDP government over the last 16 years and hence the need for a change. At every turn, PDP and its agents made strident efforts using media partners like AIT to divert the attention of Nigerians, yet Garba and his team were never swayed, and neither did they waiver. There was no doubt that Nigerians were sick and tired of the malfeasance in government, and insisted on realizing the “change” agenda. To most Nigerians, PDP had turned into a “malignant tumour” in their lives and therefore needed to pack and go.
There is therefore no justification whatsoever for DAAR Communications Plc to condescend to the inglorious level of ascribing innuendoes on the person of Mallam Shehu Garba.
For instance, it is unbecoming for the company to describe legitimate requests for discounts in placing advertisements as “unusual requests for discounts”. It is common knowledge that discounts on advertisements vary from medium to medium and in real business transactions which advertisements fall under, there is no cap to the level or amount of discount a client can request. So, what is unusual about normal requests for discounts?
The prerogative of acceptance or refusal for such request lies with the media outfit. In any event, APC Presidential Campaign was hamstrung in terms of funding, and any avenue through which savings could be made was outrightly welcome. In contrast, PDP had a limitless budget for the Presidential campaign, but what mattered to Nigerians most was to be rescued from a system enmeshed in crass opportunism, impunity and drudgery in governance.
In the aftermath of the campaign, it is expected that we bury the hatchet, and join hands with the Buhari administration to restore Nigeria to its past glory. As Nigerians and foreigners alike acknowledge that the future of Nigeria is bright, it behoves all stakeholders to put all hands on deck at ensuring that they don’t rock the boat, and that the ship of state continues to navigate progressively. This is not the time for bickering, but a period for sober reflection and introspection.