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Headlines For Sale? – By Greg Ikwuka



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Yesterday Monday February 3, 2014 a Federal High Court sitting  in Abuja presided over by  Hon Justice Gabriel Kolawole in its wisdom struck out a suit brought before it by the All Progressive Congress (APC) seeking an Order of Mandamus to  compel two federal agencies-The Nigerian Police and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)  to initiate the process of prosecuting  Mr Wllie Obiano of the All Progressive  Grand Alliance (APGA)  for multiple regorsttion in the INEC  voter register.

For t technical reasons namely, for non-attachment of an affidavit and the failure to join Willie Obiano as a party, the court in its own wisdom refused the exparte application and went ahead to strike the suit out The defendants in the subsisting matter  are INEC and The Inspector General of Police.

But this is not the news anymore because since yesterday it has been reported. Since it is a motion of ex parte, the plaintiffs, APC are already in the process of re-listing the matter and putting the defendants on notice. What is the news is the report of this particular development was reported in the Sun Newspapers.

Not only did The Sun distort the information of the preceding in court and distort the ruling given by the judge. They reported that the matter was dismissed instead of being struck out. The Sun as a newspaper cannot clam ignorance of the difference between striking a matter and dismissing it. But in case they do, I would like to educate them along with those who did not know.

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When a matter has been dismissed; it cannot again be the subject of litigation in any other court. On the other had, when it is struck out, as in the instant case it can be relisted at the discretion of the plaintiff, and the substantive matter in issue is not affected in anyway.

But The Sun did not stop at reporting the wrong story, they also went ahead to caption their story, APGA floors Ngige again. APGA is not a party in the subject matter, neither is Ngige. The two are strangers who have no business in the matter. Willie Obiano is accused of double-registration, like another citizen of Anambra State who has committed the offence and which INEC promised many times in the past to prosecute.

To the ordinary eye, this may be a mere coincidence. It is not! Those who understand that the preliminary matter on the election tribunal case was slated for today understand that the Sun Newspapers was out to influence the psychology of two courts-the Tribunal and the court of public opinion. In effect, The Sun was not neutral as a newspaper. They set out to score an advance victory for those the paper has chosen to favour- APGA and Willie Obiano.

This is not the first time that the paper will be applying a hand of slight in their reportage of political events in Anambra State. In the course of the electioneering campaign the paper made a series of goofs, to the extent that its senor officers who were in a hurry to dash out endorsements at will were caught mixing up the senatorial zones of candidates.

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Many have informally suggested that the Sun may have taken the  unguided position that their target is towards a particular ethnic group , but I know that this in fundamentally flawed for a newspaper.  I recall that five years after the Sun came into the market as a national newspaper made its impact round the country and was regarded highly nationally by serious readers. That position is fast slipping away and it may in the near future have daring consequences on the business profile and reputation of the newspaper.

I have in the light of these observations relating to the progressive decline of the thrust, reach and balance taken a position starting from this write-up to point oppose all issues of wrong information within my knowledge, n The Sun and indeed all media regarding this particular matter, so that if at all there are elements in some media outfits whose machines have been oiled against the correct information of Anambra people and Nigerians.

The Sun goofed in this matter and should be told so, because we cannot come of military dictatorship as a country and enter press dictatorship, where the highest paid officer in the media  changes the shape of our psyche on the alter of outright  and disingenuous misinformation.

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