Saturday, 21 February 2015

Benue Zone C: APC candidate, Dan Onjeh faults newspaper over ‘biased’ report

The All Progressives Congress, APC, senatorial candidate in Benue South, Daniel Onjeh has condemned what he tagged biased report against him and his political career.

Comrade Onjeh, a former studentunionist, who is on the mission of unseating the Senate President, David Mark after sixteen years in power, expressed disappointment with the newspaper for “throwing journalism ethics to the wind”.

Onjeh said the northern-based publishing house in an article entitled ‘Why Mark’s fifth run for senate is least challenging’ described him as a ‘small boy’ who is no match for the acclaimed Okpokpowulu of Idomaland.


Reacting to the report through his Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Attah Godwin, a visibly irked Onjeh wondered why a respected newspaper could stoop down so low by tolerating ‘injustice and unprofessional journalism.’

​The statement reads in part.
“Our attention has been drawn to an article entitled ‘Why Mark’s fifth run for senate is least challenging’ published in DAILY TRUST of Friday, 20th February 2015.

“The article authored by Hope Abah, is an extremely biased and partisan perspective on the Senatorial candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Daniel Onjeh’s aspiration to represent the good people of Benue South on the platform of the APC against Senate President David Mark, who vying on the platform of the PDP.

​”The media as the Fourth Estate of the Realm must be impartial at all times and not be intimidated. In the immortal words of the great American publisher Joseph Pulitzer ‘Always fight for progress and reforms, never tolerate injustice…. never belong to any party…’



“We have forwarded all the photographs of Comrade Onjeh’s rallies in the 9 Local governments to Ms. Abah, via her email, to enable her answer to pertinent questions.

“It could be recalled that this campaign organisation extended an invitation to Ms. Abah to cover the flag-off of Comrade Onjeh’s Flag- Rally at Otukpo but she declined because according to her, she was already on the PDP campaign Trail.

“Comrade Onjeh’s campaign train moved vigorously in all the nine local governments of Benue South, made frantic efforts to give her updates, but she ignored.

“Ms. Abah interviewed Comrade Onjeh about a month ago, and nothing was heard about the interview until this morning when we started receiving endless calls from concerned Benue South citizens who expressed anger and disappointment over the ill-informed publication. She completely cut off all significant remarks that was made in the and paraphrased them to suit a predetermined agenda.

​”The newspaper’s bias is obvious in the remarks attributed to Suswam that ‘Onjeh is not a name worthy of mention’ as a challenger to Mark without giving reasons for that crude and uncouth assertion, an elementary principle of journalism.

“Lest she forgets, Suswam had carpeted the APC for giving the ticket to Onjeh, ‘a small boy’.

“Comrade Onjeh had, at his campaign flag-off, replied this insult by saying ‘Yes, I am a small boy with certificate. Let Suswam be told that I have my GCE”.

​”She equally made reference to the opinion of Kenneth Eche ‘a PDP stalwart in the area’, who believes the politics of Idoma nation is too complex for Onjeh to tackle and that APC is not even on the ground in the area. What is the complexity of Idoma politics that Onjeh does not understand? If APC is not on the ground in Idomaland, were those photographs of Dan Onjeh with Gbagyis in Abuja, Nupes in Niger, Fulanis in the bush or with a multitude of Idoma people yearning for change?

​”To further demonstrate her unprofessionalism and bias, she quoted the governorship candidate of Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN) one Richard Nyitse who allegedly said ‘as far as I’m concerned, Mark is unopposed in the coming election. Onjeh cannot go anywhere, because people don’t like him, following his past antecedents. Besides, he is not known in Idomaland and he has not been campaigning’.

​”First of all, nobody knows the presence of ACPN in Idomaland, neither the name Richard Nyitse, yet Mr. Nyitse knows Onjeh! What are the past antecedents of Onjeh that people don’t like him? What are the past antecedents of David Mark that he is almost unopposed? Is it 16 years in the Senate without any improvement in the socio-economic status of the Idoma people? Idomaland is the most marginalized in Benue State without any modicum of development yet an Idoma man has been a Senator for 16 years and Senate President for 8 years.

​”The Nyitse quotation is also pregnant with meaning. Hope Abah and DAILY TRUST are probably privy to information the rest of us do not have. The quotation, and the prominence given to it in the article sounds more like a propaganda from the ruling PDP. Or is Ms. Abah intimidated?


“Unless and until the reporter and her sources give proof to back what is clearly pernicious propaganda and campaign of calumny, the esteemed paper cannot escape the charge of partisanship. “He who asserts must approve” is a well known maxim.

​”DAILY TRUST has a reputation for integrity and Trust. This must not be soiled on the altar of partisanship and obnoxious bias by your Makurdi correspondent.

​”Therefore, as to whether Onjeh can defeat Mark or not, it is not for Hope Abah or so-called stalwarts from Idomaland to decide. The will of the people will triumph.


​”We hope this rejoinder is given the same prominence as the toxic article in question”.

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