By Dauda Shagari Usman
Since some newspapers broke the news of the alleged endorsement of former Nasarawa State governor, Senator Abdullahi Adamu by President Muhammadu Buhari, for the position of the national chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), the media space has been inundated with unconfirmed reports, half-truths and to some extent, deliberate misinformation.
For once, the Nigerian media known for its thoroughness and professionalism, has abdicated this critical role to provide accurate information but to deliberately thread the part of uncertainty, even as a section of the media battled to enforce a narrative, albeit with visible loopholes.
It’s been nearly two weeks since the news broke out that President Buhari has singled out Senator Adamu for the APC’s top job, with even another rider suggesting that the president has rejected pleas by some APC governors to drop Senator Adamu as the annointed candidate for the chairmanship position of the party.
Even as contending political camps belonging to separate contenders to the national chairmanship position engage in mind games, with the media obviously bent on sustaining the narrative on Senator Adamu, the fact still remains that neither the presidency not the APC hierarchy, came out to confirm this gist being spearheaded by a section of the media.
Instead, the media has persisted in its deliberate misinformation even after presidential spokesman, Femi Adesina, came out with a statement denying that his boss has indicated preference for a particular candidate for the position of the national chairman of the APC.
In all the reports carried by the media, there was nowhere proper attribution was made. For a media industry that ought to embibe the true ethics of journalism, the inability to identify the source of the information in the endorsement saga, has left a deep hole in the veracity or otherwise of the claim being championed by a section of the press.
It’s unlike the Nigerian media, that since the news broke out, no individual could be identified as the source of the news. Rather, the sources in all the endorsement reports have remained vague and unidentifiable.
For the records, in journalism practice, attribution, which is the citing of sources, is the difference between truth and falsehood. Attribution gives stories credibility and perspectives. A steward or cleaner working in the Aso Rock Villa, and for which the media depend on as source in this story, may after all not be the proper source for a story about the president endorsing a particular candidate for the position of national chairman.
Who then was the source of the story? It has become necessary to identify the source of the report essentially because, even after the presidential spokesman denied the initial report, the media ignored this and continued propagating the story that could at best be described as mere speculation or rumour.
This seeming blindness to professionalism by a section of the media, deliberately choosing to spread falsehood, when they can convey facts by just mentioning the source of their information, only serves to confirm insinuations that the media, acting on the instructions of some interested parties, are trying hard to set agenda by dwelling on the purported endorsement of Senator Adamu.
It’s in the grapevine that a sitting minister from the South-south, working in collusion with some governors from the Northwest, are bent on foistering Senator Adamu on the APC mostly to protect their interests, which is to grab the party’s presidential and vice presidential tickets.
What differentiates this speculation from the endorsement rumour is that names have been mentioned. While in the first instance, the originators of the adoption rumour apparently fear the wrath of the president, Rotimi Ameachi and Nasir El-Rufai were specifically mentioned as the brains behind the effort to impose Senator Adamu as national chairman of the APC.
In all fairness, Senator Adamu, who’s indebtedness to banks, coupled with the fact that he may not be able to retain his Nasarawa West senatorial seat come 2023, may have seen the opportunity to become the national chairman of the APC as a life line. While Ameachi and Nasir El-Rufai may have identified him as pliant and maliable, for him the opportunity presents another life preservation elixir.
The entire shindig smacks of half-truths and deliberate misinformation. Days after the first endorsement report came to public domain, there still remain no official statement to confirm that indeed, President Buhari has endorsed Senator Adamu to become the next national chairman of the APC.
Instead, other aspirants in the race, have continued to deny and distance themselves from the purported endorsement. Even the man at the centre of the drama, Senator Adamu, did not come out clean to say he has the endorsement of the president. Rather, he only engages in consultations just like the other aspirants. If truly he has the endorsement of the president, will there be need to consult again?
Truly, the endorsement saga resembles a reharsh of previous political drama and episodes during the past regime of the then ruling party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). It was during its heydays that a cabal can decide for the entire nation. The APC was formed on a rather different pedestal. The APC came into existence through negotiations and it may appear allien to the founding philosophy of the party, for President Buhari to impose a candidate for the position of national chairman of the party.
This is even as the media deliberately refused to even consider the statement issued by Femi Adesina, to the effect that the president is yet to endorse anyone as his preferred choice for the position of national chairman.
A fallout of the political empasse is that political camps of other aspirants for the position of the national chairman have continued to deny the purported endorsement. Not only that, their supporters are becoming apprehensive and uncertain. A few have taken the matter to a new level, staging protests at the national secretariat of the party, to express concern over the alleged move to impose a candidate for the position of the national chairman of the APC.
Certainly, the proponents of presidential endorsement, are not being fair to President Buhari. He was quoted by Femi Adesina as saying he will only accept a candidate that emerges from consultations among key stakeholders of the party, then how come he is refusing pleas from some governors and insisting that Senator Adamu is the man for the top job?
Even for the interested parties, Ameachi and Nasir El-Rufai, why are they afraid of following the due process to elect a new national chairman of the party? Must they impose Senator Adamu for their ambition to succeed?
For the APC to get it right, the party must do away with any strategy that will appear as if members of the party must be subjected to the whims and caprices of some individuals. The manner in which the party came into being, is quite unlike the formation of other political parties. The APC is not an idea that came into being in the sitting room of some godfather. It cannot be subjected to the whims of a godfather.
Usman writes from Lafia, Nasarawa State.