In the maiden edition of TheMail Newspaper published on Tuesday, 9th February, 2016,
we had carried a front page story with the headline “Godswill Akpabio will spend the
rest of his life in jail – Assam Assam, SAN”.
The story was written in a very professional way, with excerpts of a telephone interview with the revered Senior Advocate of Nigeria being used to form core part of the story.
We however noticed that the news was culled from our website, www.themail.com.ng by bloggers and given a different headline which however raised dust.
Bloggers however decided to change the headline of the story to “Your mom was a prostitute, Assam Assam tells Akpabio”. The bloggers saw an opportunity to gain massive traffic to their sites, thereby using their discretion to cast an headline from a part of the story where our interviewee briefly talked about the late mother of the Senate Minority Leader. We are meant to understand that this caused ripples as Chief Godswill Akpabio saw the story and forwarded the link to our interviewee, His Excellency, Chief Assam Assam, a former Nigerian Ambassador to Russia.
The Senior Advocate of Nigeria, in a swift reaction, issued a press statement, distancing himself from the report, saying he never granted any interview to TheMail Newspaper nor “The Killer Punch News” (the blog which first culled the news from our website.
Chief Assam had forwarded the press statement to our inbox on Saturday, almost twenty four hours before the Media team of His Excellency, Chief Godswill Akpabio laid hands on it and published it on the social media.
It is never our intention to denigrate the personality of any one, not to talk of insulting the dead. But this was excerpt of an interview granted by Chief Assam E. Assam who served as Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice in the Akpabio-led administration. We never added nor subtracted anything from the interview.
As our motto goes, TheMail is a credible news medium and will not fabricate and publish any news article which has no fact or truth. Members of the editorial team of TheMail practice journalism with conscience, and this however informed our decision not to denigrate the death by using such an alarming and denigrating headline as seen on portals which culled the story.
As a result of the press statement by Chief Assam, the credibility of TheMail has been brought to question and what we would have simply done would have been to upload on our website, the audio of the 4:37 minutes telephone interview. But no, we won’t do that. Our editorial and legal teams had met and considered all options available and we decided that it won’t be a wise decision to publish the audio online. It will create more enmity and bad blood between the duo and heat up the polity unnecessarily.
We agree totally with Chief Assam in the last paragraph of his press statement where he said “I want to use this opportunity to remind us that that there is time for everything: a time to fight and a time to lay down arms. For those who think that I am still fighting Akpabio for cheating me at the December 8, 2014, PDP primary elections, they must be informed that I have since moved on. They can emulate me or wage their own war. I have no intention to live in the past”. We will not fall into the temptation of uploading the audio, thereby re-igniting a war between two of our revered elder statesmen. This is not time to fight, it is time to join hands and build our dear state.
But, if Senator Godswill Akpabio feels insulted and offended by the interview which Chief Assam granted, he can seek redress, there and then we will bring out the audio evidence to support our stand that Chief Assam actually granted the interview.
TheMail is a credible news hub and will NEVER condescend to the level of concocting, fabricating lies and publishing same for whatever purpose.
TheMail was birthed because we noticed that there was a very big vacuum in the industry. We felt our media industry was lagging behind because we noticed that most of the newspapers in circulation are too one sided. We are here to set the pace, up the ante of journalism practice and fill that vacuum that has been there for a long time as a medium that will be unbiased and non-partisan, telling the truth as it is. This is a dream, and we pray God to help us.
As for “Godswill Akpabio will spend the rest of his life in jail, by Chief Assam Assam, SAN”, we stand by our story!