Nigeria Media Mischief on Court of Appeal Judgement on 2022 Electoral Act
The media in any society is a powerful institution whose role in educating, informing and entertaining the populace cannot be over emphasized.
Because of it’s critical role in making or undermining a society, moreso the Nigerian society in a democratic system, the constitution recognized the media as the fourth estate of the realm and because of it’s indispensability, it was accorded some rights and privileges to allow it carry out it’s function without fear or favour.
However, our recent experience with the Nigeria media has left much to be desired in terms of reporting issues and events objectively and accurately. The Nigeria media penchant for mischief is simply out of this world that makes one to wonder at times, that how did the media get to this embarrassing state of being peddlers of lies, falsehood, conjectures, unsubstantiated rumours and assumptions and misinformation?
One recollects how some years ago which is still very recent, how the Nigeria media was the most authoritative source for the truth and fact no matter whose ox is gored. The media like we always say, does not manufacture stories, but reports events and happenings, but not any more. The way and manner some section of the Nigeria media reports events, is shameful and unfortunate, it’s a disgrace to the noble profession of pen pushing
The media despite all the challenges facing the society today, has been consumed by it and is now a harbinger and peddler of lies, falsehood, half truth, twisted stories and misinformation, which is very unfortunate
Repeatedly as a young man who recognizes the important role of the media in shaping society for good which is the essence of the media in reporting stories whether good or bad without embellishments, one has always warned that the route that the media is taking in deviating from the truth is one that will eventually destroy the institution if it cannot be trusted to report issues and events accurately.
Seems like the days of the self destruction of the media is very much at hand with the way, it has continued to report stories with slants and conjectures just to suit it’s warped and jaundiced perspective.
Today the 11th of May, 2022, the court of appeal sitting in Abuja voided section 84(12) of the 2022 Electoral Act among other decisions of the court.
Not unexpectedly, a large section of the media reportage of the court judgement was at variance with the tenets of facts and accurate reportage. A lot of them went to town with a twisted version of the judgement with the intention to misinform and mislead the populace.
The judgement of the court of appeal was read in English language which is Nigeria’s lingua franca, but because maybe a section of the media had their own version of judgement which was not decided by the court, a large section of the media were silent on the court of appeal judgement voiding the controversial section 84 (12) of the 2022 Electoral Act.
Rather, they focused in their reportage on the aspect of the court of appeal decision that the Umuahia federal high court lacked jurisdiction to entertain the matter and that the plantiff had no locus standi to file the suit because he was not an interested party, to put it in another way which the court didn’t say, but can be implied, he was a meddlesome interloper.
The court judgement is produced here below
” …… He proceeded to determine the case on the merit and held that the provision is unconstitutional because it violates violates Section 42 (1)(a) of the Constitution and denied a class of Nigerian citizens their right to participate in election.
Justice Barka said: “It is my view that the provision of Section 84(12) of the Electoral Act 2022 specifically targets political appointees and disqualified them from being voting delegates or from being voted for at convention or congress of any political party for the purpose of the nomination of candidates for any election.
“This provision does not disqualify any other class of people. It is my view that political appointees fit into the term: community in Section 42(1)(a) of the Constitution as members of that group share the same job and therefore, the same political interest.
“Section 84(12) of the Electoral Act expressly subjects them to disabilities and restrictions from other citizens of Nigeria, other communities, political interests and political views and thereby contravenes the provision of Section 42 (1)(a) of the Constitution and thereby null and void,” he said.
Other members of the panel: Justices U. E. Ekanem and Mohammed Mustapha agreed with the lead judgment”.
With this judgement quoted above which is clear and unambiguous to even the layman, hope we can all appreciate the disservice the media is doing to itself and the society by this mischief of not reporting accurately and objectively?
Let us remind ourselves that this section of the Electoral Act 2022 was highlighted by President Muhammadu Buhari to the National Assembly when he assented to the Electoral Act, as requiring amendment because in the words of the President, it infringed on the rights of political appointees and is a violation of the constitution which has now been validated by the court of appeal which voided the section in it’s judgement today . The observation by Mr President was concurred absolutely with by yours sincerely who identified it as a selfish clause by members of the national assembly who packaged the Electoral Act 2022 as payback against the influence of Governors at party primaries instead of the larger interest of deepening our democracy.
Well, we thank God and are full of gratitude to the Court of Appeal for voiding section 84 (12) of the 2022 Electoral Act, which is a violation of the constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria. If the national assembly likes, the window of the supreme court is open to them for contestation against this judgement.
As for the Nigeria media, we have again noted with dismay another mischief which is rather unfortunate and sad, as they have shirked their responsibility of fair, objective and accurate reporting, to do the opposite.
But let it be noted that posterity has recorded this among several other mischief, falsehood and misinformation against the Nigeria media and in the fullness of time, the breeze will blow and we will see the rump of the chicken.