Debunking Odogwu’s Diatribe  

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Re: “Cornucopia: Governor Soludo’s Aversion for Anambra State Journalists, Real or Imagined?”

 By Paul Nwosu

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Paul Nwosu ,Commissioner for Information ,Anambra State

It was indeed shocking to read the verbose fictional piece by Odogwu Emeka Odogwu, PhD, Chairman NUJ, Anambra State Chapter.

Odogwu’s lengthy waffle does great harm to the profession of journalism in which facts are sacred. I had expected that a journalist of his rank and academic background ought to have fact-checked his public presentation. In this our business, fictions must not be presented as facts. And it is on this basis that I think it is proper to set the records straight.

In his contentious write-up, Odogwu claimed that the SSG, Prof Solo Chukwulobelu has finished writing a letter to close National Light Newspaper and Printing Corporation; and once Governor Charles Chukwuma Soludo CFR, signs it, the organisation will be closed for good. This is not true. The issue of National Light is still being intensively considered by the Anambra State Executive Council (ANSEC), and as soon as there is a firm decision, the news will be formally made public, but not through a grapevine or a mole.

Odogwu claimed that Governor Soludo hates journalists because they were not appointed to “Boards of Parastatals even when their roles are vital.”

As any informed person knows, the prerogative of appointments to Boards rests squarely with the Governor who decides if the person has the value he wants added to  the organisation’s Board. The fact that we are journalists does not guarantee an automatic appointment to Boards. There are also other professionals who have not been appointed to Boards.

A Governor that hates journalists will not send his Commissioner for Information to represent him at journalists’ events and have on a couple of occasions made donations.

If the Governor hates journalists, as Odogwu claims, members of the NUJ, including him the Chairman, would not have been invited as panelists that interviewed Governor Soludo on his ABS Quarterly Phone-in Programme where he interacts with Ndi-Anambra. And on one of such occasions, Odogwu had an opportunity to have an aside with the Governor after the programme.

Odogwu acknowledged in his piece that “Prof Soludo was completely in love with journalists as the then CBN Governor” but changed when he became a Governor. This is obviously a figment of his imagination because Soludo hates neither journalists nor anybody. Here is a Governor that has come to work for Ndi-Anambra, journalists inclusive.

Chairman Odogwu got it wrong again when he erroneously stated that I worked with former Governors Peter Obi and Willie Obiano. That  is quite untrue. I never was in the employ of Governor Obi. I only worked for Governor Obiano, first as SSA Image Management and second as Special Adviser, Farm Implements and Mechanization. In those positions, I didn’t relate directly with journalists.

Odogwu accused me of not including the Board of National Light Newspaper among those to be dissolved by Mr Governor. This shows his limited understanding of how government works. Commissioners don’t dictate to Mr Governor which Board to dissolve or constitute. These responsibilities are purely the prerogatives of the Governor.

My teachers in school taught me that insinuations and innuendos are not marks of good journalism. We should not be in a haste to pass judgement. Odogwu had all the avenues to get in touch to get his facts correct but never chose to use them. This smacks of malice.

In the light of the foregoing, I expect and in fact urge Odogwu as an honourable leader of the body of journalists to own up his mistakes and make the requisite apologies in order not to mislead the public.

Sir Paul Nwosu is  Commissioner for Information, Anambra State

Monday, May 8, 2023

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