Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in the 2023 elections has fired back at Premium Times over its previous report about his academic records.
Premium Times had claimed Atiku refused to release all his academic records when it requested for them.
Reacting in a statement titled ‘Atiku’s records and Premium Times’ voyage of mischief’ on Saturday, Atiku’s Media Adviser, Paul Ibe, noted that all the documents that Premium Times based its “callous and odd” reporting on are documents that are already in the public space.
He wondered why the news platform did not write to the Independent National Electoral Commission to request for Atiku’s academic records.
The statement read: “We have read a report by the Premium Times titled ‘Atiku Refuses to Release Own Records Despite Exposing Tinubu’s’ and regret to say that what the newspaper did was a voyage into mischief.
“Without adherence to any known ethics of journalism, the Premium Times newspaper went into its mill to publish a story that is neither controversial nor shrouded in a cover-up.
“All the documents that Premium Times based its callous and odd reporting on are documents that are already in the public space.
“The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is the body that is the repository of all relevant documents required by law for anyone contesting election into public office. Premium Times did not write to INEC to place a demand for Atiku Abubakar’s documents.
“Also, Atiku is an alumnus of both Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, and the Anglia Ruskin University in the United Kingdom. Premium Times did not place an order for Atiku’s academic records with these reputable institutions, nor did Atiku stop the school or go to court to ask any of these schools not to release his records. Premium Times is also at liberty to write to the West African Examination Council (WAEC) demanding for a copy of the former Vice President’s certificate and transcript.
“But, rather than take the path of thorough diligence which journalism requires, Premium Times went to press to publish a fictional story.
“The ethics of journalism seeks to establish the truth when there is a dispute about it or when there is a deliberate cover-up that inhibits public interest.
“What the Premium Times has done in this case keeps faith in neither of these two precepts. The story in reference by Premium Times is nothing other than witch-hunt – and a callous one at that.
“Were the publishers of the Premium Times stable interested in the truth, it would have been more honourable for them to start their busybody foray into politicians’ academic records by interrogating the discoveries from the Chicago State University. They certainly refrained from that engagement for the obvious reason that a parent owner of the newspaper occupies a critical seat in the current government.
“And, then, we ask the question: What manner of a newspaper sets out to protect the interest of a government but is very willing to embark on a wild goose chase on a private citizen?”