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Monday, April 15, 2024

Shutting Down of National Light Newspaper: Should We See Paul Nwosu as the Lie Mohammed of Anambra State?

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By Izunna Okafor, Awka

In the realm of politics and governance, there are individuals who seemingly possess an uncanny ability to twist the truth and propagate falsehoods to defend their positions, regardless of glaring evidence to the contrary. Such individuals can be detrimental to a society’s trust in its government and media, as they undermine the principles of transparency and accountability. An individual who fits this description all too well is Mr. Paul Nwosu, the Commissioner for Information in Anambra State, hence the possibility that he might earn the infamous infamous moniker of “The Lie Mohammed of Anambra State.”

As an information source of the state government, one would expect Mr. Nwosu to uphold the truth and serve the interests of the people. However, a study of many of his releases may push one to comfortably regard him as a staunch liar, capable of spinning tales to protect the government, even when he knows and even when the blind can see that he is spilling nothing but spuriosity. One glaring instance of this disingenuous nature is his comments on matters regarding the shutting down of the Anambra Newspapers and Printing Corporation (publishers of National Light Newspaper, Ka Ọ Dị Taa Igbo language newspaper, and the Sportslight Xtra).

In May 2023, the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Anambra State Chapter, raised an alarm accusing the Chukwuma Charles Soludo-led Anambra State Government of planning to shut down the Anambra Newspapers and Printing Corporation. Among others, one of the major concerns of the NUJ on the matter was the fate of the workers in the institution. Speculations abound that the move may lead to over 200 staff of the institution, many of whom are practicing journalists, losing their jobs. Hence, the NUJ as a body, and its State Chairman, Dr. Odogwu Emeka Odogwu, as a concerned fellow, raised an alarm over such plot by the government in this critical time of the current economic realities.

However, despite the NUJ’s credible concerns and claims, Mr. Nwosu vehemently denied any such plan on behalf of the state government. He went as far as stating that the National Light Newspaper was the longest thriving state-owned newspaper in Nigeria and that there were no plans to shut it down, given the position the organisation holds in the history and the voice of Anambra in the committee of states.

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Be it as it may, Nwosu’s web of lies recently exploded when a letter to the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the institution, Sir Chuka Nnabuife, signed and sent by the Secretary to the State Government, Prof. Solo Chukwulobelu, surfaced last week Friday, explicitly stating that the government had indeed concluded plans to shut down the institution with immediate effect, contrary to Mr. Nwosu’s earlier claims and rejoinders to the NUJ.

However, the latest alarms raised by the NUJ and its Chairman, Dr. Odogwu pushed Mr. Nwosu to new heights of audacity. Instead of admitting the truth and acknowledging his lies, he resorted to writing yet another response, attempting to discredit the NUJ’s claims. His actions displayed a complete disregard for the intelligence of the public and a blatant disregard for the facts.

In light of the damning evidence, Mr. Nwosu’s rejoinder to NUJ was a feeble attempt to cover up his earlier heap of lies. His response proved to be a masterclass in obfuscation and doublespeak, as he penned an empty statement that was nothing more than a tangle of half-truths and distortions, trying to justify the government’s actions, claiming that committees had carefully considered the dissolution of the institution and that the NUJ’s concerns were misplaced. What an argumentum ad hominem!

Aside the fact that his rejoinder attempted to shift attention from the matter being contested to tackling the NUJ (probably to distract the Union); Nwosu’s attempt to rationalize the government’s actions also fell flat, as the dates on the letter from the Secretary to the State Government addressed to the institution explicitly stated that the plan to close the institution was concluded in the State Executive Council as far back as February 1st and reapproved on February 8th 2023. This damning evidence revealed that the decision to shut down the corporation had been made months before Mr. Nwosu began denying any such plan by the government. Hence, this concoction of his could not hide the truth from the public eye.

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It is deeply concerning that someone entrusted with the position of Commissioner for Information would resort to such blatant deception. Mr. Nwosu’s actions not only erode the public’s faith in the government but also harm the credibility of the media and the role of journalists in holding those in power accountable.

Furthermore, the public deserves better than a Commissioner who seems more interested in protecting the interests of those in power than in upholding the truth. Mr. Nwosu’s previous career as a street photographer should not be an excuse for his deceptive tactics. As a public servant, his primary responsibility should be to the people, and that includes being honest and transparent in his communications with them.

In conclusion, the case of Mr. Paul Nwosu serves as a stark reminder of the importance of truthfulness and integrity in governance. This unyielding dedication to lying in defense of the Anambra State Government, even in the face of undeniable evidence, is a disservice to the citizens he was appointed to serve. The people of Anambra State deserve leaders who are committed to transparency, accountability, and the well-being of their constituents, not individuals who choose to play fast and loose with the truth for their own benefit. It is high time for Mr. Nwosu to reflect on his actions and consider the impact of such deceptive and defensive statements on the people, and the perception they create about the government. Only then can he truly fulfill the duties of his office and regain the trust of the people.

Mr. Nwosu should not be the Lie Mohammed of Anambra State.

I am Izunna Okafor.

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