Youths from the six local government areas of Okigwe senatorial zone of the state have flayed recent reports making the rounds over the educational qualification of the Speaker, Imo state House of Assembly and the Okigwe senatorial candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Rt. Hon. Benjamin Uwajumogu.
Coming under the auspices of Okigwe Youths Patriotic Front, the youth group described the report as sickening, malicious and a calculated attempt by desperate politicians in the zone to discredit the towering political profile of the Speaker ahead of the March 28 general elections.
Chairman of the group, Mr. Joseph Nwobike, who issued a statement at the end of an emergency meeting of the group yesterday, berated the Management and publishers of the National News Break Newspaper, an Owerri based local tabloid for “playing into the hands of desperate politicians and moneybags from the zone to do the hatchet job, in clear contravention to the laid down principles and objectives of the universally accepted ethics of journalism profession”.
He wondered when it became unconstitutional for aspiring politicians in the country to make use of combined results to augment their qualification as was obtainable in the 80’s, adding that the National News Break publishers, in their quest to satisfy their paymasters, hurriedly went to the press, while leaving the other accompanying result in sheer disregard to the core ethics of the journalism profession of objectivity, fairness and balance.
The group further called on the news medium to as a matter of urgency tender an unreserved apology to the Speaker and also refute the report, which according to them, was intended to defame the office and person of the Speaker as well as deceive the people, in the wake of the forthcoming elections or be ready to face the legal battle that might follow.
The statement reads in part: “We view the recent news report from the Owerri based local tabloid, News Break newspapers as a calculated attempt to impugn, malign and discredit the person and character of the Speaker, Imo state House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Benjamin Uwajumogu, who is also the high-flying senatorial candidate of the APC in Okigwe zone, ahead of the rescheduled March 28, 2015 general elections”
“We also view this sordid height of desperation from our political class to achieve their inordinate ambitions, as a dangerous dimension to our nascent democracy. It is very obvious to note that the detractors and the moneybags in our political system, who feel threatened over the influential political profile of the Speaker have exhausted their deceptive antics, hence the massive inducement of the local News break tabloid to do the hatchet job”.
“Okigwe youths are passionately asking, what was the sole intent of such misleading and politically motivated report? What was the newspaper set to achieve when it decided to turn a blind eye to the two results submitted by the Speaker to the INEC? We also ask, has it become a crime or unconstitutional for a candidate in this country to combine two WAEC certificates he duly sat for and passed or is Uwajumogu not qualified to stand for the election with reference to the extant laws and relevant provisions of the electoral act, as well as the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended?”
“From the foregoing however, it has been firmly deduced and established that the so-called report was premeditated and conjured out of pure malice to smear the soaring reputations and integrity of a man whose sole interest is to liberate Okigwe zone from her all-round developmental doldrums. It is on this premise that we call on the Management and publishers of News Break newspapers, to urgently refute and apologize to the Speaker, as well as Imo youths in general for such deliberate deceit which runs contrary to the universally agreed journalistic tenets”, the statement added.
The group further stated,that the Speaker,Rt.Hon Uwajumogu,having piloted the affairs of the Imo state House of Assembly,meritoriously for three and half years, as well as delivered on the job by raising the bar of excellence and informed legislation,possesses the mental,educational,spiritual and physical capacity to represent Okigwe zone at the senate.
They however called on the Speaker, not to be deterred or shaken from continuing in his advancement for the positive course of Okigwe zone, which they said had been his age-long priority, while urging the people of the zone to disregard such misleading reports, which according to them, only emanated from anti-democratic forces, whose main agenda is to ensure that the zone remained at the back seat of development in the state.