The Tinubu/Shettima Presidential Campaign Council has issued a strong condemnation of the Arise News and offered a defence that may serve as a justification for past and future absence from media interviews, Presidential Debates and Town Halls.
The campaign council said in a statement issued by their Media and Publicity Director, Mr. Bayo Onanuga, that they finds it shocking and downrightly anomalous that Arise News continues to broadcast the participation of the 2023 All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential Candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, in its Presidential Town Hall meeting scheduled to hold on Sunday, 4 December 2022 despite their earlier statement that their candidate will not be available.
The Tinubu Campaign also stated that they noticed that Arise News has also been running a campaign on “the so-called constitutional duty” of the presidential candidates to participate in its debate by “dubiously” citing section 22 of the Constitution of Nigeria on the obligation of the Mass Media.
The Tinubu Campaign argued that while it is trite that the media has clear constitutional duty to hold public office holders accountable to the citizens and its role as the watchdog of the society, there is no part of the Constitution and the section 22 that says a presidential candidate of any political party and least of all, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu must participate in Arise News Town Hall event or any media organised event at all.
“The same Constitution grants all citizens of Nigeria including, Asiwaju Tinubu the right and freedom of choice and association. The APC Presidential candidate has a right to decide where he goes and events to participate in as he seeks the mandate of Nigerians to be elected as the next President of our country.
“We want to make it abundantly clear again that Asiwaju Tinubu will not participate and will not attend the Arise News Town Hall meeting slated for Sunday, 4 December, 2022 and any other ones it may plan before the February 2023 presidential election. We want to equally stress that Arise News has consistently shown a pattern of bias against Asiwaju Tinubu and we don’t consider the medium as credible and impartial.
“The APC Presidential candidate has his own schedule of campaign activities and other engagements within and outside Nigeria. One of such events is his scheduled event for Monday , December 5, 2022 at Chatham House in London where he will speak on Security, Economy and Foreign Policy.
“Asiwaju Tinubu travelled to United Kingdom early today (Saturday) for this earlier scheduled engagement. We want to reiterate for the umpteenth time that no amount of blackmail, intimidation and media bully and innuendos by the owner and management of Arise News will change the position our campaign has taken on this matter.
“We seize this opportunity to warn our spokesmen and supporters to steer clear of this station over its consistent unprofessionalism and bias against our candidate and party,” the APC Presidential Campaign Council further stated.