APC’s PCC Petitions NBC Against Channels TV Over Datti’s Comments

The All Progressives Congress Presidential Campaign Council (APC PCC) on Wednesday, petitioned the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC).

The council was petitioning NBC against Channels Television following the latter’s interview with Labour Party (LP)’s Vice Presidential Candidate, Datti Baba-Ahmed.

The council argued Channels TV breached the Nigerian Broadcasting Code during its interview the Baba-Ahmed.

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It hence begged NBC to sanction the television station for allowing its platform to be used by the opposition to speak falsehood about the February 25, 2023, presidential election.

This was contained in a two-page petition signed by the campaign council Director, Media, and Publicity, Mr Bayo Onanuga, on behalf of the Special Adviser, Media, Public Affairs, and Communications, and dated March 30, 2023.

According to the council, Channels TV violated Section 14.0.1 of the Nigerian Broadcasting Code (6th Edition)— a code which allowed the commission to accept complaints from aggrieved persons, bodies, or members of the public, and investigate as well as apply sanctions where necessary.

The petition read:

He (Datti) said the Labour Party 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 detailed figures empirically collated as the final result are the one released by the Independent National Electoral Commission which placed the Labour party as third.

“The guest on the programme in question, Datti Baba-Ahmed, said the President of the country, Muhammadu Buhari should not swear in the President-elect because he did not score 25% vote in the FCT, being one of the prerequisites for being declared the 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 guest, Datti Baba Ahmed’s comments about Labour Party 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 election 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, 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 Nigeria as a sovereign state.’

“The statement by Mr Datti Baba-Ahmed later on the same programme that if ‘President Buhari should hand over to the President-elect Bola Ahmed Tinubu by May 29, that would be the end of democracy’ is another case of unguarded utterance.

“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 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 Independent National Electoral Commission INEC’s constitutionally guaranteed authority.

“In using words like ‘handing over to the President-elect Bola Ahmed 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.

“It is our considered opinion that the guest Datti Baba-Ahmed was not only provocative but also inciting the public and the Labour Party followers to delegitimise the outcome of the elections, but also propagate resistance against the incoming duly elected administration of Bola Ahmed-Tinubu and Kashim Shettima.

“We, therefore, urge the Commission to invoke the necessary sanctions on Channels TV for the breaches enumerated above.”

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Written by Tapre Timine

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