Between Akeredolu’s highhandedness and the dismissed journalists lies a hatred for press freedom

Akeredolu

Ondo governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria was a former president of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), a position of influence in Nigeria’s legal profession. On many occasions in the past before his entrant into mainstream politics, he championed the cause and defended the rights of deprived Nigerians. But that seems to be a forgone tale now, as Akeredolu is a departure from his old self.

On Monday, November 12, 2018, the Ondo State government banned some journalists working with some media stations from covering the Governor’s activities and that of the state government. The banned media houses were Channels Television, African Independent Television (AIT), Raypower and Core Television.

According to the state government through its Commissioner for Information, Yemi Olowolabi, the dismissed journalists refused to report activities about the state government and whenever they do, they do it in a bad light. However, in another turn of events, Olowolabi released another statement on Tuesday, November 13, 2018, accusing the dismissed journalists of being parasites and imposters who have turned the state government house into a beer parlour. This second statement is proof that the Ondo government has decided to victimise these media officers for carrying out their legitimate duties and have no basis for stopping them from working in the government house.

This action by the state government is dictatorial and an attempt to intimidate the media. The Ondo State government house is a public property that should be accessible to all journalists and neither the governor nor the government can single-handedly dictate which journalists have the right to cover activities relating to the governor and the government house. Akeredolu has no such power. This is a clear case of highhandedness and abuse of office. Akeredolu must be called to order and must desist from this draconian way of governance.

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