The spokesman for the Labour Party (LP) Presidential Campaign Council, Kenneth Okonkwo, has described the letter from the National Broadcasting Service (NBC) to Arise Television as an outright infringement of his fundamental human rights.
POLITICS NIGERIA reports that Okonkwo, in a statement on Saturday, said the letter was an attempt to erode his right to freely hold thoughts, which he expressed while a guest on the morning show of the television.
He said the import of the letter, which was to intimidate him and the television house, was baseless.
Okonkwo said the NBC Director-General, Balarabe Shehu Ilelah, ill-advisedly mentioned his name in his letter as making an unguarded utterance simply because he confirmed that the Chicago State University certificate, which Bola Ahmed Tinubu (BAT) submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), was forged.
He said this was so because the university had expressly stated that the certificate did not come from them, which is the condition necessary to prove forgery.
Okonkwo said the NBC has no power to fine or sanction any media house and that intimidating or manipulating the media house is a form of sanction and is unlawful.
The full statement reads:
KENNETH OKONKWO REPLIES NATIONAL BROADCASTING COMMISSION
OPEN LETTER TO MR BALARABE SHEHU ILELAH, DG NATIONAL BROADCASTING CORPORATION (NBC)
I read the letter written by Mr Balarabe Shehu Ilelah, DG of NBC, and wish to state as follows:
1. I sympathize with him in this unfortunate journey intended to please his employers, but state that he would have been more wise and circumspect in going about it.
2. Maybe he is not aware that the Court has decided that NBC has no power to fine or sanction any media house. Intimidating or manipulating the media house is a form of sanction and is unlawful.
3. He ill-advisedly mentioned my name in his letter as making an unguarded utterance simply because I confirmed that the Chicago State University certificate, which BAT submitted to INEC, was forged, for the simple reason that the University has expressly stated that the certificate did not come from them, which is the condition necessary to prove forgery.
4. This statement is an outright infringement on my fundamental human rights as enshrined in Sections 38 and 39, which provide that “every person shall be entitled to freedom of thought…; every person shall be entitled to freedom of expression, including freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart ideas and information, ideas and information without interference”.
5. These rights are superior to the NBC Statute which the DG incorrectly stated and his mentioning my name in his letter is an attempt to rudely interfere with my divinely and constitutionally guaranteed rights and he should desist henceforth from further mentioning my name in any letter or communication whatsoever. I remind him that, by law, any infringement on the fundamental human rights of Nigerians attracts punishment of damages.
6. The Constitution also protects the right of the media in Section 22 to be free to uphold the responsibility and accountability of the Government to the people. Again the DG does not have the right to deny Arise TV their right to hold the government accountable to the people.
7. It’s unfortunate that when all media houses condemned Mmesoma for forging her Jamb certificate, and rightly too, without being convicted by a court, simply because JAMB disowned her certificate, and rightly too, the DG didn’t write to any TV station or mention the name of any guest on TV who condemned such forgery. Now that the certificate of the President is disowned by the University that purportedly issued it, the DG has suddenly found his mouth to mention the names of the people who condemned such forgery of the certificate after the university disowned it and even wrote the media house to threaten it.
8. The only unguarded utterance here is the ill-advised letter written by the DG to Arise TV and this must stop. I did not make my name by forging my certificates, I made my name by investing the talent of acting God has deposited in me to create a new movie industry called Nollywood which started with the movie Living in Bondage, and which pleased God to make me the first Actor of the industry which is employing millions of Nigerian Youths. I have since improved to become a Lawyer and advocate for a New Nigeria, which preceded this new political dispensation.
9. If your letter is an attempt at intimidating me not to say the truth, you have failed because I have already decided to fight for a new Nigeria based on the truth, realizing that truth is the only thing that brings genuine and permanent solutions to a nation’s problem. It is letters like your own that have prompted foreign entities to wrongly ascribe forgery as a Nigerian thing. Please desist from such letters.
10. Sir, I humbly take exception to your using my name disrespectfully and demand an apology from you. I will restrict myself and be as civil as possible in this writing because this is the first time you are embarking on this misadventure. I will certainly not be this civil next time if this attitude continues.
Accept my best regards and thank you for your anticipated cooperation.
Kenneth Okonkwo Esq.