Buhari’s Intolerance Towards AIT Is Cause For Deep Concern, Even As APC Reverses Controversial Decision


PDP House Of Representatives’ Caucus


Press Release


The Peoples Democratic Party Caucus in the Federal House of

Representatives has expressed very deep concerns over President-Elect,

General Mohammadu Buhari’s ban on African Independent Television (AIT)

from covering his activities at the Defence House in Abuja.

In a statement issued in Abuja on Wednesday, the Caucus noted that

while it abides by the Peoples Democratic Party’s decision not to

insult or denigrate the office of the President the way the All

Progressive Congress (APC) did against President Goodluck Jonathan, it

is deeply concerned about the anti-mass media disposition that

culminated into AIT’s ban, and its far reaching implications for

democratic freedom under the coming Buhari Presidency.


“Except for the utterly obnoxious Decree 4 which the military

dictatorship under the same General Buhari once foisted on Nigeria,

nothing in the laws of the federation and international protocols to

which Nigeria has subscribed, prohibits media freedom under any



Contending that such ban as announced by the President-Elect’s media

aide, Mallam Garba Shehu last weekend negates democratic ideals,

including freedom of expression and the holding of divergent opinions,

the Caucus noted with chuckles the All Progressives Congress (APC)

decision to quickly reverse the controversial decision on Tuesday: “Is

this a sign of worse things to come?


While we do not hold brief for any media organization, well-meaning

people expect that rather

than begin on a wrong footing by signaling a keenness to go to war

against the mass media, even before being sworn in; the

President-elect and the APC should be democratic, tolerant non-

impulsive and matured with the option of taking any media organization

that has committed any infraction or breach of professional ethics

before the Broadcasting Organization of Nigeria (BON) or the law

courts for appropriate sanctions.

A society in which any individual freely chooses to exercise

far-reaching powers beyond the force of a court’s summary trial, or

one in which each angry person resorts to ‘an eye for an eye’ will

only leave too many blind ones as the society degenerates into



Rather than steps that can only return Nigeria to the dark ages, the

deepening of officials’ tolerance for criticism and sustaining respect

for the rule of law – as already exemplified by President Goodluck

Jonathan – will help Nigeria’s democratic growth and sustenance.


The Defence House where the President-Elect conducts his official

business was built with Nigerian taxpayers’ money and an

administration that preaches CHANGE should also encourage transparency

and tolerance of criticism. Although it could be understandable for

the President-elect to feel aggrieved about particular activities of

the AIT, there can be no justifiable basis for Mr. Buhari to ostracize

the television station the way he summarily did. Even in the United

States and other democracies that we seek to emulate, the critical

press does not get silenced by presidential fiat.


“While the APC appears to be doing well, albeit at grave costs, in

reining-in the mounting excesses of General Buhari (rtd), some have

expressed amazement about how and why a political party should have

cause to perfunctorily reverse a ‘presidential decision’.


More importantly, the question that lingers remains: are we all seeing

signs of coming dire times of wilful expression of autocratic

tendencies in Nigeria?


A very wrong step has been put forward and Nigerians and the

international community had better prepare for a long drawn battle to

preserve the democratic gains of personal freedom and the rule of law

of the Jonathan years. We sincerely hope Nigerians have not

unwittingly shot themselves in the foot.


Indeed, there is cause for deep concern!


Hon Mulikat Akande Adeola

Majority Leader, House of Representatives


29th April, 2015



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