April 27, 2020

Only governor intoxicated by power will ban journalists — Professor Akinfeleye

By Elizabeth Osayande

Foremost Mass Communication don, Professor Ralph Akinfeleye, has said only a governor that is intoxicated by power will ban journalists from doing their jobs.

He was reacting to Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State banning Vanguard and The Sun newspapers’ journalists from the State House for life.

Professor Akinfeleye, former Chairman, Mass Communication Department, University of Lagos, UNILAG, told Vanguard: “A governor must be intoxicated by power, have a weak internal control mechanism, as well as be mentally distressed and intellectually bankrupt to say such nonsense at this period of coronavirus epidemic.

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Still on the ban on journalists, Akinfeleye said: “The Constitution, Chapter 2 Section 22, gives the journalistic an obligation to monitor the government and hold them accountable to the people at all times.

“So Mr. Governor has no right to want to padlock the air. Nobody can padlock the air. Even in the military regime, they attempted to padlock the air, but they were not able to. And this is a democracy.

“If by chance the reporters wrote something that was not right, he has the right to tender a rejoinder and it will be published. If the media refuse to publish same, he can then go to the Press Council.

“What does he mean by banning the reporters for life? Does he mean he is going to be the governor forever? That is very embarrassing and satanic. It is very undemocratic.

“And it is an action that is unbecoming of a governor of a highly respected state.

“Initially I thought it was fake news. But I later confirmed it was not fake. This must have been led by some evil forces surrounding him. He should remove himself from those evil forces and understand that we are in a democracy.

“The governor has no right to ban journalists for life. That is too abnormal. It ought not to have happened at all,” Akinfeleye concluded on the journalists’ ban.