As the year winds down, I have spent some past few days reflecting on my activities as a professional journalist conducting credibility, integrity and fact checks on some of the statements I authored and have therefore stumbled on some embarrassing ones among which is this particular one – “APC accuses INEC REC, Mike Igini of colluding with Obaseki over secret night meeting” and with a rider, “REC left Governor’s residence with sacks of money”. This is an embarrassment even to my humble self, I must quickly admit, as the story proved fatally wrong and unable to pass credibility check.
As a Christian, I strive daily to have a conscience void of offence towards God and towards men and I am willing to apologise to whomsoever I may have offended in the course of my duties, knowingly and or unknowingly.
In the year ending, the 27th of August was the most unethical day for me. It was during the period of my assignment as the Chairman, Media Campaign Council of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the September 19th governorship election in Edo state, that I released the above statement at about 5:27pm without cross-checking and interrogating my source. As a professional journalist, rather than base my judgement of the information from this source on its news value and public’s right to know the unbiased truth, I unfortunately allowed my political interest to motivate and take better part of me.
I have taken time to scrutinise and review my source, the story itself and also listened to the testimony of other credible persons on this statement and the impeccable character of Mr. Mike Igini and have come to the conclusion and admission that something went wrong – my investigation and findings have now revealed that the story was not only untrue but unable to pass integrity and credibility checks.
Being the chairman of the media campaign council, I took my assignment with a great dose of responsibility, privilege and honour. I appreciate the confidence and trust repose in me to serve in that capacity but for this source who thought he could advance my political interest with fake news and thinking propaganda could land us a win, this has proved wrong. This source did not only misled me to mislead the people but also to impugn on the reputation of Mr. Mike Igini and for which I am deeply embarrassed – I apologise.
I agree, I was manipulated by this source and also complicit in the achievement of his goal because I failed to apply the simple rules of investigative journalist and logic to the allegations raised against one of the highly respected and reputable resident commissioners of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) – as the statement was highly offensive and should not have allowed this source have a better part of me. I’m sorry and regret that I did.
I failed by inadvertently allowing sinister forces, who were hellbent on destroying our institutions, to abuse our trust and use this to achieve their nefarious objectives. I will learn from these embarrassing moments and am determined to win back the confidence of my readers by putting in more hard work in whatever assignment under my supervision.
I tender my profound apology to Mr. Mike Igini, the Governor of Edo state, Mr Godwin Obaseki, Mr. Anselm Ojezua – whose names appeared in that statement and on whom the story touches directly. By extension, I apologise to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for the inconveniences or embarrassment this statement has occasioned them as I hold Mr. Mike Igini in the highest esteem.
I am thankful to my conscience for acknowledging this great mistake and am also glad I listened and also to learn. I resolve that I will do my best to re-win the trust of all friends and admirers, my readers and those I have offended with the said unfortunate “August” statement. Human beings make errors, I am human and I am no exception.
Mayaki is a journalist (NIJ), diplomat (UNIBEN), Communication, Culture and Media expert (Coventry University, England), an Oxford and Cambridge University-trained entrepreneurship, leadership and sustainability expert. He’s also a Professional Consultant on Communication, Management and Strategy (Chattered Management Institute, England) and founder, Coalition for Good Governance and Economic Justice in Africa