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Media Freedom: ‘The President-elect may have one or two lessons to pick from President Goodluck Jonathan’ – PDP

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The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has come out to lampoon president-elect, General Muhammadu Buhari following reports that he barred African Independent Television (AIT) from covering his activities.

Although the All progressives Congress (APC) had come out to say that all accredited media platforms were free to cover the General Buhari’s activities, the PDP said it was necessary for the president-elect to borrow a leaf or two on media tolerance from incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan, given his (General Buhari’s) unsavoury record as regards human rights and tolerance.

Speaking via a statement issued by Olisa Metuh on Tuesday, April 28, 2015, the PDP national Publicity Secretary, the PDP berated General Buhari for the anti-media action.

He said: “The PDP and indeed all lovers of democracy are persuaded that the action was not only unjustifiable, but also unconstitutional and completely against the spirit of liberty and the rule of law in a democracy,

“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?
“The PDP, as a party that has 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.
“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.”

“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.”

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