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HomeExecutive Brief The battleline between Onanuga, Alake, and Thisday/Arise News; who blink first

 The battleline between Onanuga, Alake, and Thisday/Arise News; who blink first

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By Oludare Mayowa

In the last couple of days, the nation has been treated to some form of drama, entertainment and show of ignominy by the duo of Dele Alake and Bayo Onanuga on one hand and the publisher of Thisday Newspaper/Arise News on the other hand.

The bone of contention is the refusal of the presidential candidate of the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu to attend the town hall meeting organized for candidates of leading political parties by the media group.

Alake and Onanuga, being the spokespersons and supposedly the image makers for Tinubu had taken on the media group and accused the publisher of trying to intimidate their principal for not acceding to the invitation to attend the town hall meeting.

While it is the prerogative of the two senior journalists to defend their principal against what they considered as hostility from the media group, it appears that the current war of attrition going on was premeditated with suggestive undertone.

Ordinarily, Alake, Onanuga and Nduka Obiegbena are professional colleagues who ought to have leveraged on their relationship within their profession and one would have expected the duo of Alake and Onanuga to have ironed out whatever they considered untoward disposition against their principal.

But the volume of venoms being spewing out in the last couple of days against one another have shown that beyond the political differences, there may be more to the ongoing war of words, which has tilted toward a final annihilation of the press by the Tinubu team.

Without dwelling on the merit of the arguments from both sides, many within the profession expect more from the parties in dispute and they ought to have employed more of diplomacy rather than engaging in a bullfight.

As spokespersons to a leading presidential candidate, for instance, both Onanuga and Alake who are considered experienced in the journalism profession ought to realise that an open confrontation with a media group is not in the best interest of their principal regardless of the merit of their case.

They ought to know that they are no longer in active journalism and as such their utterances and writing should be moderated and guided by the dictate of their new callings, which is to tend to the image of their principal who is likely president in waiting.

They ought to weigh their options and examine what use is their open confrontation with journalists to their principal’s cause.

Throwing stones at the profession which they have spent the better part of their youthful age working hard to sustain is a terrible misstep on their part and they ought to know that they may not likely win the battle even if per adventure they win the war.

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While I realised that they have the duty and responsibility to defend and protect their principal against any aggression, in my thought, I felt they should have been more tactical about it all.

At the end of the day, they should sit down and ask themselves of what use and purpose is the information disclosed about Thisday/Arise News to the course of their principal, the public interest, and even their profession, which I believed they still hold dear to hearts.

The question someone asked me was, should Alake and Onanuga have succumbed to ‘blackmail and intimidation’ from the media group without putting up a fight to defend their principal?

My response was that there are more ways to fight a battle without splitting hairs or being combative, especially when it comes to fighting the media; they ought to have known that no one fights the press and gets away without ‘fatal damage’ to themselves.

It’s never too late to sheath their sword; it’s still possible to find a middle ground reconciliatory measures and put an end to all of these unnecessary distractions and focus on the major task ahead.

The ongoing war of attrition should not distract the nation from the important role of the media to hold those who are aspiring to rule us accountable.

The politicians both Alake and Onanuga are fighting to defend frantically will eventually mock them and their profession since they have decided to dance naked in the market place.

If indeed they are truly interested in addressing the issue of ethics in the media profession, I think there are better ways of tackling the issues without subjecting the entire profession to ridicule and opprobrium.

Again, what is happening today has put some level of credibility to the quiet saying among some professionals that journalists are not best suited to manage the reputation of organizations, individuals, and public officials because they are trained to be watchdogs and not image makers.

The Alake and Onanuga approach to what they considered as the intimidation of their principal by a section of the media has shown that rather than protecting their principal from public ridicule, they have resorted to journalistic combativeness to resolve issues that mediation could have done.

Without glossing over the ethical issues raised by Alake and Onanuga, the media industry undoubtedly needs some cleansing, just like other sectors of the nation’s economy, which have been taken over by the rot that has almost, consumed our country.

The elders in the profession must help to restore sanity by way of playing the role of ombudsmen in ensuring that practitioners adhere strictly to their role as the watchdog of the society.

We cannot continue to denigrate corruption in other sectors while our own industry is reeling with deep rooted corruption.

There must be a way to tackle the rooted corruption in the media as a way of restoring hope for the future of the country.

We can’t take away the important role of the media in the quest to rebuild our nation and reclaim it from unscrupulous politicians who have seen corruption as a way of life.

For the Thisday/Arise News Group, my counsel is that they should not be tempted to want to fight back; rather they should continue to sustain the conversation on good governance and the need to have free access to the public by the contending parties.

They own it a duty to purge themselves of any similitude of bias or partisanship in the course of carrying out their constitutional role as the watchdog.

It’s important that the nation get it right this time around and we all have that duty and responsibility to ensure just that collectively.

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