The Zamfara state governor, Bello Matawale, has urged online media practitioners to shun partisanship and sensational reportage as the 2023 general election draws closer.
Legit.ng reports that while speaking at a media briefing, the governor's special adviser on public enlightenment and media, Zailani Bappa, said a certain online publication has continued to publish falsehoods against Governor Matawale.
He, however, commended others who have made objectivity and fairness its watchword.
“However, despite this laudable co-operation and display of professional stance on your part, there are a few online media organisations that have allowed themselves to be used by some disgruntled politicians to smear the good name of His Excellency and that of his administration.
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“You will recall that a certain online medium (although we learnt it is not based in Nigeria but, nonetheless, draws its audience mainly in Nigeria) has sometimes back reported that three Governors were accused by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission of syphoning state wealth and hoarding same in some of their property in Abuja and elsewhere.
“The story alleged that these three Governors were planning to use the illegally acquired money to pay salaries by cash in order to avoid being trapped by the new policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria regarding the introduction of new currency notes.
Media must follow journalism ethics in their reporting
Bappa stated that the same medium made a follow-up story by mentioning the names of the alleged Governors, one of which they mentioned, His Excellency Dr Bello Mohammed.
The governor added:
“Gentlemen of the Press, it is instructive to note that upon these baseless allegations as published by this medium, His Excellency Dr Bello Mohammed immediately wrote to the EFCC through his legal Attorney his willingness to allow the anti-graft body access into all his private and official property in order to clear his name from, especially, the EFFCC allegation.
“His Excellency took this bold step in spite of the fact that our investigation confirmed that the follow-up story by that medium which mentioned his name among the three accused governors, did not actually emanate from the EFCC as claimed. Moreover, no salaries were paid in cash by the Zamfara state Governor as it has never done that in the past and has no intention to do that either now or in the future.
“As we allowed this to lie down, just yesterday, the same medium published another baseless and unprofessional story accusing His Excellency's administration of syphoning the wealth of Zamfara people through multiple bank transfers and cash withdrawals. The medium went ahead to mention names, mobile numbers and National Identification numbers of the supposed officers who aided the administration to syphon the alleged monies.
According to him, by this latest onslaught, the governor is convinced that the medium is a contracted hatchet jobber.
He added that they had no reason to join issues with the medium for publishing these lies against him, saying that it was necessary to debunk all the nonsense they consistently publish against the governor.
The governor's aide reiterated:
“At this juncture, His Excellency Dr Bello Mohammed wishes to, once again, invite the EFCC to investigate these allegations as published by this agent of discord, as we are quite aware that the medium is an agent and a tool in the hands of disgruntled opposition politicians in the state who find it convenient all the time to blame their woes on His Excellency, Dr Bello Mohammed and his administration.
“Finally, His Excellency wishes to urge all professional journalists and media organisations in the state to continue upholding the principle of fair play and balance in their reporting, especially now that we are facing a critical last lap of transition into another democratic experience early next year.”
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No opposition in Zamfara, concentrate on other states, Marafa tells Tinubu
Meanwhile, Legit.ng had previously reported that the coordinator of the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential campaign council in Zamfara, Senator Kabiru Garba Marafa, urged the party's candidate, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, to concentrate on other states, saying there is no opposition in the state.
It was reported that Marafa, while speaking during the launch of the Tinubu/Shettima campaign in Zamfara, said that the people f the state would overwhelmingly vote for Tinubu during the presidential election on Saturday, February 25, 2023.
The former lawmaker also urged the Zamfara state governor, Bello Matawalle, who is the coordinator of the presidential campaign council in the northwest geopolitical zone to concentrate on the six other states in the region.