The All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential campaign council has asked the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to sanction Channels Television over comments made by Datti Baba-Ahmed, vice-presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP).
The running mate had cautioned the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Olukayode Ariwoola, against inaugurating Bola Tinubu as president on May 29. He claimed there was no president-elect because Tinubu did not meet the requirements of the constitution.
But Bayo Onanuga, spokesman for the APC Presidential Campaign Council, urged the NBC to sanction the television station for airing materials capable of cause disaffection.
Citing Section 14.0.1 of the Nigerian Broadcasting Code 6th edition stating the duty of the NBC to accept complaints from aggrieved persons, bodies or members of the public and investigate as well as apply sanctions where necessary, Tinubu urged the regulator to do the due diligence.
“The All Progressives Congress PCC hereby petitions the commission on what it considers breaches by Channels TV last week on its programme “Politics Today” which airs daily at 7pm on weekdays.
“The programme was hosted on Channels TV by Mr Seun Okinbaloye and had the LP vice presidential candidate Datti Baba-Ahmed as guest.
“During the interview session the guest made several incendiary comments impugning the integrity of the 25 February 2023 presidential elections.
“He said the LP won the elections. This is a fallacy and not correct. According to the Code, a broadcaster is liable when his guest is allowed to make a wild statement that is inaccurate and not based on fact. The only factual figures empirically collated as the final result is the one released by the Independent National Electoral Commission which placed Labour party as third.
“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 per cent vote in the FCT, being one of the prerequisites for being declared winner.
“This is a subversive statement since the matter is before the tribunal and is among the issues submitted in their petition to the courts for adjudication. Therefore until and unless the court rules otherwise, the status quo is the INEC position as declared in the final results,” the petition read partly.
Enumerating the grounds of the petition further, the petitioner, noted that; “the guest Datti Ahmed’s comments about LP winning the presidential vote undermines constituted authority given to INEC in the 1999 Constitution as the body vested with the powers to conduct and announce the results of national general elections in Nigeria. Any other figures will have to be certified by the tribunal as the authentic one
“Therefore, Mr Datti’s comments that the INEC certificate of return issued to the President-elect is a “dud cheque” and is null and void is not only divisive, subversive but also inciting and inflammatory.”
In his submission, the petitioner wrote: “This is in breach of Section 5.3.3(b) which states that -”A Broadcaster shall avoid inflammatory and divisive matters in its provocative form in using political material”.
“Furthermore, Section 220.127.116.11 states that- “No Broadcaster shall encourage or incite to crime, lead to public disorder or hate, or repugnant to public feelings” materials that cause disaffection.
“By denying the authenticity of the INEC presidential election results Mr. Datti is at liberty to seek for the voiding of the results, but until the court or tribunal upturns those results they remain the authentic results. Channels TV cannot encourage him to use its platform to create anarchy by disputing results on air without corroborating his facts.
“In asking the President not to swear in the President-elect he is subverting the INEC’s constitutionally guaranteed authority.
“In using words like “handing over to the President-elect Bola Tinubu will be the end of democracy” he is not only promoting a threat but instigating a call to rebellion against the state.
“This is antithetical to the use of the media for social harmony and peaceful prayer. It is our considered opinion that the guest Datti Ahmed was not only provocative but also inciting the public and the LP followers to delegitimise the outcome of the elections but also propagate resistance against the incoming dully elected administration. of Bola Tinubu and Kashim Shettima.
“We therefore urge the commission to invoke the necessary sanctions on Channels TV for the breaches enumerated above,” he submitted in the petition.