The President-elect, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has petitioned the National Broadcasting Commission, NBC, to sanction Channels Television for breaching the Nigerian Broadcasting Code during an interview with the Vice-Presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Datti Baba Ahmed.
In the petition signed by the All Progressives Congress, APC, presidential campaign council Director of Media and Publicity, Bayo Onanuga, dated 30th March 2023, Tinubu said: “In line with Section 14.0.1 of the Nigerian Broadcasting Code 6th edition stating the duty of the commission to accept complaints from aggrieved persons, bodies or members of the public and investigate as well as apply sanctions where necessary, the APC PCC hereby petitions the commission on breaches by CHANNELS TV on its programme ‘Politics Today’ last week.”
Tinubu accused Baba Ahmed of making several comments attacking the integrity of the 25th February 2023 Presidential elections. In the interview, he faulted the emergence of the former Lagos governor as the President-elect and categorically requested the Chief Justice of Nigeria and President Muhamadu Buhari not to swear him in.
In his petition, Tinubu noted that the host of the show should have cautioned the Datti for making such unguarded comments and that for failing to do so, the station should be sanctioned.
According to the petition, “The guest on the programme in question, Datti Baba-Ahmed, said President Muhammadu Buhari should not swear in the President-elect because he did not score 25% of the vote in the FCT, being one of the prerequisites for being declared the winner.
This is a subversive comment since the matter is among the issues submitted in their petition before the tribunal for adjudication. Therefore, until the court rules otherwise, the status quo is the INEC position as declared in the final results.
“The guest Datti Baba Ahmed’s comments about LP winning the presidential vote undermine constituted authority given to INEC in the 1999 Constitution as the body vested with the powers to conduct and announce national general elections results in Nigeria. Any figures aside, this will have to be certified by a tribunal as the authentic one.
“Therefore, Mr Datti’s statements that the INEC certificate of return issued to Tinubu is a “dud cheque” and is null and void is not only divisive and subversive but also inciting and inflammatory.
“The Code states in Section 3.8.1(b) that ‘A Broadcaster shall ensure that no programme contains anything which amounts to subversion of constituted authority or compromises the unity or corporate existence of the nation as a Sovereign state’.
“The comment by Mr Datti later on the same programme that if ‘President Buhari should hand over to the President-elect by 29th May, that would be the end of democracy’ is another case of unguarded statement and breach of Section 5.3.3(b), which states that – ‘A Broadcaster shall avoid divisive and inflammatory matters in its provocative form in using political material’.
“Furthermore, Section 220.127.116.11 said that no Broadcaster shall encourage or incite crime, lead to public hate, disorder or repugnant to public feelings’ materials that cause disaffection.
“We, therefore, urge NBC to invoke the necessary sanctions on Channels Television for the breaches enumerated above.”