The Punch, which used to advice its readers to “Pack A Punch,” has sacked the Chairman of its Editorial Board, Mr. Adebolu Arowolo. The uppercut to the career of the editor follows the national uproar over the unprofessional midnight visit last week of some 50 journalists to Ibrahim Babangida (IBB), one of Africa’s most brutal military dictators. He is seeking the leadership of Nigeria nearly two decades after popular pressure pushed him out of office.

Saharareporters had revealed that the journalists, who met Babangida at his Minna mansion, signed a birthday card and shared bribe monies made available by the vastly despised former dictator. Most of them seemed incapable of identifying any conflict of interest.

There are conflicting reports about exactly how much money the journalists got from Babangida, but none of them has denied accepting gratification by IBB as he announced his bid for Nigeria’s presidency in the company of the journalists. In 1993, IBB annulled the highly-popular poll that was set to bring to power Moshood Abiola and also closed down Punch newspaper. The annulment eventually brought Sani Abacha to power, and led to the death of Abiola.

A source on the Management of Punch newspapers told Saharareporters that Mr. Arowolo did not inform them of his night flight to Minna to meet with the former dictator, claiming that they found out only on Saharareporters. They said that a quick inquiry into the unethical conduct of the leader of their Editorial Board shows that he may have received part of a largesse, which was clearly doled out to journalists by IBB in order to garner favorable reporting of his panned ambition to rule Nigeria again next year.
The new development at The Punch makes Mr. Arowolo the first casualty of the much-criticized visit. Mr. Arowlolo was given the option to resign immediately or face being sacked by the newspaper, which prides itself as the highest circulating newspaper in the country.
He now becomes the third editor lost to the company since March. In March 2010, Mr. Steve Ayorinde, who was the editor of the daily paper, was asked to resign his appointment by the Executive Director, Publications, Mr. Azubuike Ishiekwene over editorial issues. In a long, bitter letter to the Management, Mr. Ayorinde accused Mr. Ishiekwene of financial and unethical practices in the company.

Following an investigation, Mr. Ishiekwene was eventually relieved of his position. He has since moved on to become a columnist at ThisDay newspaper.

culled from Sahara Reporters.

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  1. Naija 4 u!So our jornalists no longer hav d right 2 choose those they can appriciate or sell 2 d ppl?re we in a democracy or democrazy?


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