Seun Okinbaloye, a Channels Television presenter has reacted to the N5 million fine recently slammed on the TV station by the National Broadcasting Commission NBC, stating that the “media will not be silenced as Nigeria belongs to everyone”.
The regulatory body had last week slammed Channels the fine, following a petition received from the President-elect, Bola Tinubu, over Okinbaloye’s interview with the Vice Presidential candidate of Labour party, Datti Baba-Ahmed on March 22 in which Datti openly kicked against the swearing-in of Tinubu as President come May 29.
During the interview, Baba-Ahmed called on President Buhari and the Chief Justice of Nigeria not to swear in Tinubu, insisting that declaring Tinubu a winner and issuing him a certificate of return was not aligned with the nation’s constitution.
‘’Whoever swears in Mr Tinubu, Mr Baba-Ahmed said, has “ended Democracy” in Nigeria. Mr President, do not hold that inauguration. CJN your lordship, do not partake in unconstitutionality. I am taking this risks for the sake of my country. Yes, it is extreme and I am saying it. It was more extreme for Yakubu (INEC Chair) to issue that certificate (of return). It was reckless. He is putting all our lives in danger. All of us. I am telling you that on the 29th of May 2023, swear in Tinubu as this result is, you have ended democracy whoever you are. You cannot swear in people who have not met constitutional requirements. If you do that, you have done something unlawful, something unconstitutional. And I am repeating it, whoever does not meet the constitutional requirement must not, must never be sworn in. You said my name. If you like I can say it again. I am Datti Baba-Ahmed.”
In his petition signed by one of his media aides, Bayo Onanuga, Tinubu accused the Labour Party LP Vice Presidential candidate Datti Baba-Ahmed of making several incendiary comments during the interview and noted that Okinbaloye failed to act professionally by stopping the politician from making such comments.
The NBC then slammed a N5 million fine on the TV station.
In an apparent reaction to the fine, Seun while closing his political program on Sunday night, April 2, said;
‘’I want to take a moment to acknowledge the challenges that we as a media industry are facing in Nigeria. Events in the past days have created an environment of fear and uncertainty and threatened the freedom of speech and integrity of the media landscape but in spite of these challenges, we as journalists and broadcasters remain committed to our duty to inform, educate and entertain our audience. We at Channels TV indulge in only reasonable and professional journalism. In the face of popular and reckless practice, we play clean and descent, even when it looks or sounds unpopular with the crowd or online mob, we do it not only for today but for the future and the sustenance of our profession others want to destroy but we want to protect it. We will not be deterred by these obstacles. We will continue to stand up for what is right and speaks truth to power, even in the face of adversity. We will remain brave, strong, and resilient and we will not let our voices be silenced. Nigeria belongs to all of us”
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