Edo 2024: When the media failed Nigerians

Edo 2024: When the media failed Nigerians

By Yahaya Idris

Long ago, we learnt in General Studies in secondary school that the media is the Fourth Estate of the realm. And that in every society, the media ensures that no man or woman is oppressed, harassed or deprived. And that it ensures their rights are not trampled upon or abridged.

The media defends the vulnerable, weak and disadvantaged in society. It is in this regard that the media is called the watchdog of society. In performing this function, it deploys the techniques of informing, educating and entertaining the people.

But last week, the media in Nigeria failed the people, and spectacularly, too. In a manner of speaking, the media let the good people of the country down, big time. When it informed the people, it failed woefully to educate the people. The greatest culprit seems to be the electronic media – radio and television.

Ahead of the September 21 governorship election in Edo State, an intra-party dispute within the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), saw a group of people who claimed to be delegates go to court to ventilate their grievances before Justice Iyang Ekwo in Abuja.

The judge, according to the Certified True Copy (CTC) of the judgement now in circulation, neither cancelled the PDP primary of February 22 nor disqualified the candidate of the party in the election, Dr Asue Ighodalo. It, however, granted the prayer of the alleged delegates by ordering that the party should not exclude them from the primary which had long taken place.

The counsel to the delegates who came out of the court to grant an interview, declared that the court had cancelled the PDP primary and disqualified the candidate of the PDP. Things that were never mentioned for once in the judgment by Justice Ekwo. The media took the fake story and ran with it, circulating lies and propaganda instead of serving the people the truth. The electronic media of course is the greatest culprit. That is both radio and television.

Despite the counter narrative by the PDP, and even the release of the CTC by the party to the public, the media stuck to the fake news and the lie from the pit of hell like a leech. Channels Television is the guiltiest of all. Even days after the CTC was made public, the television station which prides itself and the most decorated private television station in Nigeria, continued to introduce their discussions on the matter with “Disqualified candidate of… or the primary election that was nullified by the court…..could still be heard.

Was this how Channels managed to win the many laurels it has won? Was it by deliberately repeating falsehood and lies? Does the Channels television not have a judiciary correspondent who can look at the CTC and give the best reportage about the judgement?

Edo State PDP governorship candidate, Dr Asue Ighodalo
Edo State PDP governorship candidate, Dr Asue Ighodalo

For the attention of the Channels television, Justice Iyang Ekwo, never at any point mention disqualification of Ighodalo or voiding the primary election of the PDP that produced him. The station should apologise to its viewers for failure to educate them correctly on what really happened in the court.

. Idris writes from Benin City.