Presidential Spokesperson, Garba Shehu has reacted to the news publication of Punch Editorial who will henceforth address President Buhari as Major General due to the lawlessness that characterizes his administration
Garba Shehu said it is not the constitutional right of any government publication to change the President’s designation.
It is not within the power or rights of a newspaper to unilaterally and whimsically change the formal official title or the designation of the country’s President as it pleases. Shehu tweeted
The President’s spokesman compared Buhari to the former Nigerian leaders like Obasanjo and Babangida who despite their refusal to obey court orders were not challenged by the newspaper.
It is unprecedented and absurd in our recent political history. The Punch never changed President Obasanjo’s title from the President to General, despite the latter’s refusal to comply with Supreme Court judgment, ordering him to release N30bn of Lagos State local councils funds.
When General Ibrahim Babangida who wasn’t democratically elected assumed the title of President, why didn’t the Punch challenge him or address him by any title it so desired?
In fact, IBB closed media houses for several months and years, including Punch. But the paper didn’t stop addressing him as President, despite the fact that he wasn’t elected.
Shehu accused the news agency of playing partisan politics and not practising true Journalism. He also said The Punch harbors hatred towards the President.
The Punch newspaper should separate journalism from partisan politics. What it is embarking upon is purely political and it is designed to play to the gallery and cause confusion.
Punch Newspaper’s double standards in cuddling some of our past dictators and their open contempt for President Buhari clearly show that the paper has sinister motives for its current curious editorial judgment.
Its personal hatred for and animus towards President Buhari should not be allowed to becloud its good judgment.
Shehu made this known in a thread of tweets on his verified Twitter handle. Read the rest of his tweets
“The reported new editorial policy of the Punch Newspapers to address President Muhammadu Buhari as Major General in his official title and refer to his government as a regime instead of administration, comes to us as totally curious and utterly incredible.”
“The paper claimed that it is changing President Buhari’s official title to General because of his government’s alleged disregard for the rule of law.”
“Major General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd), for that is his title, and he was indeed a Major General, but today retired from that position and now twice democratically elected president of Nigeria – is not the choice of Punch Newspaper’s editors and owners, that is clear.”
“He is, however, the two-time electoral choice of the voters of Nigeria, those very people who Punch Newspapers described this morning as “lethargic”: a disdaining epithet apportioned to decent, hard-working, everyday Nigerians for not agreeing with, and for not having voted in line with their publication’s editorial and political opinions.”
“Punch’s editorial today is, however, entirely in line with holding and exercising the right of free speech and freedom of the press, as my friend and colleague, Femi Adesina said earlier today.”
“Femi, Special Adviser, Media and Publicity said the fact the Punch can insult the President in a front page editorial and they go home to sleep, peacefully, is the best testimony to the prevalence of the freedom of the press and of expression in the country.”