Media are regarded as the fourth estate of the realm because of their contribution to the society. Be it in advanced or developing nation, media are unique and cannot be pushed aside as they educate, entertain and even shape the mind of the people. The uniqueness about the media is that they are news gatekeeper. They serve as the watch dog of the government and even checkmate their activities. It is through media the public get factual information about the activities of any government.
Media therefore are expected to maintain basic standard. Their news stories are expected to be reliable, uncorrupted and undisputable. Where the news stories from any media outfits cuts short of these basic principle, the credibility of such media outfit calls for question.
It is therefore instructive to note that Nigeria is one countries of the world that gives room to the operation of the media. Nigerian government does not censor media as private individuals are given free hands to establish and operate any type of media outfits in the country. One interesting thing about Nigeria is that there is complete media freedom. Thus, the open space given to media in Nigeria account to high numbers of conventional and social media as being observed by pundits in the country.
It will not be wrong to say that Nigerian media have been exercising their freedom to fullest. Our media have capitalised on the freedom of the media to dish us all manners of news. In most cases, they churn out authentic, reliable, corrupted, disputable and politically induced news to members of the public.
One media outfit that forms the basis of this my article is Premium Times, a social media base media outfit. Premium Times can be regarded as one of the leading social media outfit in Nigeria because of their high number of followers. Premium Times can as well be seen as news agency in Nigeria as they serves as primary news source to some print and other social media base outlets. Their news stories are usually copied and republished by other news media outlets without crossing checking or questioning.
Members of the public are not left out too as many people take them as their first contact in getting news across the country. Many people believe in them because of their quick dissemination of news and because of their factual news over the years.
Premium Times indeed has been living up to expectation as they had reported about the activities of high profiles personalities in the country and members of the public take it with pinch of salt without doubting them. One of such individuals who have been receiving sledge hammer by premium Times is Alhaji Yahaya Bello, the Governor of Kogi State.
Yesterday, the media outfit reported that Governor Bello sacked all the Commissioners and Council Chairmen in Kogi State and even mandated them to hand over the keys of their official vehicles and Offices to the Secretary to the State Government (SSG). It equally added that the said sacked appointees are to be replaced with another set of individuals with immediate effect.
Following this news story which I stumbled on at the Google, I immediately put text message to some high profile political appointees in Alhaji Yahaya Bello’s cabinet to know if they were equally affected. Not even up to one minutes of sending the text message, the said political appointees called me back to explain what transpired at the government house. The contacted appointees averred that Governor Bello never sacked any political appointees as being reported by the premium Times. They explained that the administration of Yahaya Bello earlier in his administration ordered for official vehicles for all the Commissioners and the Council Chairmen. These vehicles were imported into the country through Cocharis Motor Limited.
Some of the vehicles at recent time developed mechanical problem and our local motor mechanic could not fix them. So, to forestall total breakdown of all the vehicles, Kogi State government reasoned and took decision to reach back to Cocharis motors on how to go about resolving the mechanical problem. Cocharis Motors Limited agreed to repair them and it was on this premise that Governor Bello directed all the Commissioners and the council Chairmen whose official vehicles were affected in this regard to submit their keys of their vehicles to the Secretary of State Government for onward handover to Cocharis Motors Limited for the repair.
In the nutshell, the said news report on sack of Commissioners and Council Chairmen are false and no iota of truth in it. All the Commissioners and Council Chairmen resume their official activities this Monday morning.
Shaibu Stephen Ojate is an investigative Journalist writes from Abuja. He is on facebook platform and reachable on 09075716236.
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