Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Nigeria’s president-elect, has asked the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to punish Channels Television for breaking the rules of broadcasting during an interview with Datti Baba Ahmed, the Vice Presidential candidate of the Labour Party.
According to a petition signed by the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential campaign council Director of Media and Publicity, Bayo Onanuga, dated 30th March 2023, Tinubu accused Baba Ahmed of making several comments attacking the integrity of the 25th February 2023 Presidential election.
Datti Baba Ahmed, during his interview, crticised the emergence of Tinubu as the President-elect and requested the Chief Justice of Nigeria and President Muhamadu Buhari not to swear him in.
”The guest on the programme in question, Datti Baba-Ahmed, said President Muhammadu Buhari should not swear in the President-elect because he did not score 25% of the vote in the FCT, being one of the prerequisites for being declared the winner. This is a subversive comment since the matter is among the issues submitted in their petition before the tribunal for adjudication. Therefore until the court rules otherwise, the status quo is the INEC position as declared in the final results,” the petition read in part.
”The guest Datti Baba Ahmed’s comments about LP winning the presidential vote undermine constituted authority given to INEC in the 1999 Constitution as the body vested with the powers to conduct and announce national general elections results in Nigeria. Any figures aside, this will have to be certified by a tribunal as the authentic one.”
The president-elect’s complaint refers to the Nigerian Broadcasting Code, which says that broadcasters should not encourage crime, violence or hatred, should avoid saying things that cause division, and should respect the authorities of the government and since such has been condoned by Channels Television, violating these rules, the media station should be punished.
Also in his petition, Tinubu stated that the host of the show should have cautioned Datti for making such unguarded comments and the station should be sanctioned for not doing so.
”Mr Datti’s statements that the INEC certificate of return issued to Tinubu is a “dud cheque” and is null and void is not only divisive and subversive but also inciting and inflammatory.
”The Code states in Section 3.8.1(b) that ‘A Broadcaster shall ensure that no programme contains anything which amounts to subversion of constituted authority or compromises the unity or corporate existence of the nation as a Sovereign state.
”The comment by Mr. Datti later on the same programme that if ‘President Buhari should hand over to the President-elect by 29th May, that would be the end of democracy’ is another case of unguarded statement and breach of Section 5.3.3(b), which states that – ‘A Broadcaster shall avoid divisive and inflammatory matters in its provocative form in using political material’.
”Furthermore, Section 18.104.22.168 said that no Broadcaster shall encourage or incite crime, lead to public hate, disorder or repugnant to public feelings’ materials that cause disaffection.
”We, therefore, urge NBC to invoke the necessary sanctions on Channels Television for the breaches enumerated above,” the petition read.