by Kolapo Olapoju
The Peoples Democratic Party has reacted to the alleged report that African Independent Television, has been barred from covering the activities of President-elect, Muhammadu Buhari.
The former-ruling party admonished Buhari for attempting to stifle the freedom of the media, while adding that he ceased to be a private person since he got elected.
In a statement released by the National Publicity Secretary of the party, Olisa Metuh, the President-elect was reminded that the Nigerian constitution gives power to the media to cover his activities.
The statement said: “The PDP as a party that have nurtured the nation’s democracy in the past 16 years cannot afford to fold its hands and watch the constitutional rights, media freedom and personal liberty of Nigerians, the basic tenets of democracy being demolished.”
“We ask, is this a beginning of the feared erosion of the freedom and personal liberty the media and Nigerian citizens have been enjoying in the last 16 years under the PDP led-administration?”
“Has our dear nation finally fallen into the clutches of totalitarianism and impunity where government actions will based on egocentric decisions and impulses of individuals rather than the rule of law?”
“While we assure the President-elect of our resolve to run a mature and responsible opposition based on issues, we are disturbed by this emerging development and reassure the Nigerian people that we will continue to stand with them on issues of democracy and freedom at all times.
“Perhaps, we need to remind General Buhari that part of the challenge of his new position, even as President-elect is that he has lost his private life which is now subject to public scrutiny and media interrogation, as required of the custodian of the mandate of the Nigerian people.”
“The PDP is not oblivious of the background of the President-elect especially as it relates to the freedom of the media, but we had thought that having declared to be a converted democrat, he would make himself amenable to the basic principles of democracy by following the due process of the law on any circumstance.”
“General Buhari may also wish to be reminded that the Nigerian constitution upon which provisions he emerged President-elect, also gave the media powers to cover activities of public office holders while at the same time providing legal avenues for redress in the event of any violation.”
“If the right of the President-elect was in anyway violated by the AIT or any media house for that matter, he is expected to act within the law and seek redress in the courts otherwise one would have no option than to conclude that he is out for personal vendetta.”
“The APC and the President-elect may have one or two lessons to pick from President Goodluck Jonathan, who though the most maligned and abused President in the history of our nation, even by the APC, allowed his actions to be sufficiently guided by humility, tolerance and the rule of law.”