May 24, 2024

The Presidency, on Tuesday, came hard on The Guardian newspaper over its editorials, which evaluate President Muhammadu Buhari’s leadership style, particularly its call for impeachment of the President over failure in governance generally.

The Presidency pointedly accused the nation’s flagship medium of alignment with the opposition to deploy what it describes as ‘partisan weapons in their arsenal’ to facilitate the removal of President Buhari.

In a statement signed by its Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, the Presidency also accused the newspaper of embarking on a “headline grabbing stunt just months before Nigeria’s next presidential election.”

The statement made available to newsmen last night reads: “The Guardian newspaper, which has taken up the role of regular antagonist and political opponent of the President and his party, APC for a long time now, has surpassed itself with its latest call for the impeachment of the President.

“The newspaper editors clearly do not like the way the President is running the country and therefore, they believe he should be impeached. They debase both the political discourse of our nation and public understanding of the law and Constitution by doing so.

“Impeachment is a process undertaken after high crimes and misdemeanours have been proven. It’s not a process undertaken against a leader whose politics you do not agree with, or who you personally dislike

It appears impeachment has become a newly added partisan weapon in their arsenal – wielded by those who have established a track record of hatred towards the President and an attempt to remove from office one who was democratically elected by the people.

“In a recent editorial published in the Washington Times, the American political leader and commentator, Saul Anuzis, stated: ‘There are exceptional circumstances when presidents and other office holders deserved to be impeached… slam-dunk cases of malfeasance in the highest office.

“Referencing attempts to call an impeachment vote in the Nigerian Senate a ‘headline-grabbing stunt,’ Anuzis observed: ‘It is no coincidence this occurs just months before Nigeria’s next presidential election.’

“The fact is, it should be for presidents to govern and for opposition politicians and the media to hold them to account. The circumstances of his election in 2015 – the first time a sitting president had been defeated in a re-election attempt and the first time any party, save the PDP had won the presidency – was a vast shock to Nigeria’s political and sections of the media establishments. As far as they were concerned, it was not how things were meant to be.

“So, from day one, they set about attacking this President more than any other in Nigeria’s history. The fact they could not defeat him at the ballot box when he was re-elected in 2019 – and now with his APC party very likely to retain the presidency despite all their best efforts – they now turn to all and any means, no matter the political, legal, or constitutional consequences to bring him down.

“For the benefit of the ones who have forgotten, The Guardian newspaper has in the past, been worshipped as the flagship of the nation’s press; the one that had won every ‘Newspaper of the Year’ awards. Now, they have sadly fallen from the height it once occupied as a medium that sparked intellectual thought and discourse for a fiddler of poorly scripted invective and ad hominem.

“The Guardian newspaper may never be friend or ally of President Buhari, but they should know better than to support this ‘headline-grabbing stunt.’”

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