Nasarawa Guber: Group Decries Opposition’s Media Trial

Igbawase Ukumba in Lafia

A group, Nasarawa for Peace Initiative (NPI), yesterday  decried  the continued resort to media trial by opposition elements in the state to vent their anger over their loss in the last governorship election in Nasarawa State.

The group therefore, describe the move by the opposition elements in the state as provocative and undemocratic.

In a statement signed by the President of  NPI, Abdulkareem Anas Abimuku, the group condemned what it referred to as “media trial” of a matter which was already before the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Lafia, the Nasarawa State capital.

They specifically referred to a story which led the front page of a national daily  of June 15, 2023, with the title: “Nasarawa Guber Manipulated”, attributed to a group under the aegis of the CivicHive.

The story quoted alleged discrepancies in the result of the governorship election uploaded by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on its server and those the commission declared.

According to the initiative, it has no problem with any organisation, sponsored or otherwise, critiquing the process and outcome of the last governorship election, but that the timing of the CivicHive intervention and the manner the newspaper handled the story was suspect.

The statement reads in part: “Firstly, where was the so-called CivicHive who claimed to be one of the accredited observers that purportedly monitored elections in Nasarawa State all this while? Why is its report coming many weeks after the declaration of the winner?

“And more importantly, why did CivicHive wait until the election petition tribunal commenced hearing of the petition filed by the main opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and its governorship candidate before coming out with its report?”

The group, which said it had been following the situation regarding the last elections in Nasarawa State, maintained that it can categorically say that it was not happy with the manner the main opposition party had been handling its loss, especially as it concerns the governorship election outcome.

“We must state that its combative approach to the matter is capable of undermining the fragile peace the state and its people are currently enjoying. It started from the day of the coalition, where PDP agents almost truncated the announcement of results at the INEC headquarters in Lafia from the moment it discovered that the poll’s outcome was not in its favour.

“The next day it unleashed its youths and women clad in black on the state capital in the name of protest against the result which it alleged was manipulated. As a final resort, it deployed grandmothers to protest naked on the streets of Lafia, a move which many condemned as a debasement of womanhood,” the group stated further.

NPI, however, continued that many people thought that after filing its petition at the tribunal, the opposition will allow the justices to do their job, but the PDP,again, opted to use the media to intimidate the judiciary into coming out with a verdict in its favour by preempting the outcome of the case which was at pre-trial stage.

 NPI added that the opposition had alleged through the media of the supposed plans by the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Governor Abdullahi Sule to induce the judges to uphold the outcome of the poll.

The group continued: “It is the same figures and the narratives that CivicHive is now showcasing as its report of the outcome of the poll, and which a national newspaper will lead its edition with in a banner headline when there are other important national interest stories that should ordinarily attract the attention of its readers.

“If the said information is that important and credible, why did the newspaper fail to provide the identity of the author? What designation is “Special Correspondent?”

NPI insisted that newspaper  owes its teeming readers the duty to avail them with reports that are factual and accurate and not hiding behind an alibi.

“It is sad that the PDP, because of its vested and parochial interest, will throw the peace and security of the state to the dogs by needlessly heating the already tense atmosphere through its divisive politics.

“On this note, we are calling on the tribunal to take cognizance of what’s happening. The respected justices must call the Nigerian Pilot and the supposed election monitoring group, CivicHive, to order in the interest of justice and fairness in the handling of the ongoing case,” the group appealed.

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