Why the media needs to choose its words on the Kaduna declaration

by Alex O.Onukwue

 

The news of the week has largely revolved around the declaration by some youth groups in Kaduna State which asked all Igbos to leave.

The tension generated by the statement has continued to evoke reactions from North and South of the country, with condemnations far outweighing the few who have supported it. One of the few supporters is the spokesman of the Northern Elders Forum, Prof Ango Abdullahi, who chose to stand by the group following the Kaduna State’s strong statement rejecting the declaration.

Rather unfortunately, the spokesman’s alliance with the Youth was construed and reported as the general consensus of the Northern Elders Forum. The clarification by Paul Unongo, the assistant leader of the forum, that Prof Abdullahi did not speak for the group on this particular issue was a welcome respite.

While it is possible that there are other members of the Northern Elders Forum who believe in the cause of the so-called pan-Northern groups, the sensitivity of the matter did not require the hurried generalization represented in most headlines by the media on the former Minster of Education’s words. Given the rejection by the Northern Governors Forum of the declaration, a statement that represents the Northern Elders Forum as being on the opposing side to the Governors would not exactly work out in anybody’s interests.

Knowing the diversity of the persons who make up the ‘North’ and the Elders Forum, it is always going to be harsh to conclude that the group would quickly endorse the controversial declaration.

The duty here is to hit the specific persons who, in their individual capacities, seek to sympathize with the disturbing call and find out what motivates them. Any generalizations at this time would be counter-productive and is certainly not what the majority of people would desire at such times of nervousness and anxiety.

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