The Governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello, recently unveiled his new mansion, but not without the Media sentencing him with myriads of reports that suggested corruption.
The Governor was host to the Ohinoyi of Ebira land, Abdul Rahman Ado Ibrahim, among other dignitaries to the House-warming ceremony located, at Mahmoud Atta Street, GRA, Okene.
The story was published by TheCable, with the headline “PHOTOS: Gov Yahaya Bello opens his new mansion (no, don’t talk about unpaid salaries)”
TheCable, with this headline, implies that the Governor is not expected to build or own any property because Government staffs and workers in his State are owed salaries. It, however, did not show evidence that the Governor built the house with State funds, but the suggestion was lucid.
The News media had reported a news on August 17 which read “PHOTOS: While owing Kogi workers for months, Bello builds new mansion in Okene”
Pulse.ng on its own, believes this is not the right time for the Governor to build or celebrate a mansion, since the workers are not happy “Kogi Gov’s mansion in the midst of poverty is really unfortunate”
Pulse is of the opinion that the Governor should not have flaunted his multi-million Niara home when the State he presides over is one of the poorest in the Country. A clear expression of opinion, outside Editorials, by a media house but at least without suggesting without evidence.
But then it featured two comments; one from a Premium Times reporter, Nicholas Ebekwe, who wrote on Twitter:
“This is not sour grapes or bad belle. But does anyone know what Yahaya Bello does for a living before he became a Governor? I heard he served at the RMAFC in 2000/2001 and was retained after. Can anyone tell me how he made his money without insulting my mother? Thanks”.
And another tweet from right activist Deji Adeyanju : “This is the **** that calls himself my Governor. He has not paid workers for 13 months but he just built a mansion in his hometown of Okene”.
Apart from the comments, Pulse thinks the Governor chose the wrong time to build his mansion.
It is commonplace among Nigerian journalists to refer to a suspect in a case as guilty. In some instances, people who were not even charged are named guilty. Words like “Abacha Loot”, “Diezani’s Loot”, “Killer wife”, among others are used to describe people who have never even been charged with the crime being discussed.
In the rush for fresh and hot stories which can generate clicks, media houses forget the principle of Presumption of Innocence, a dangerous trend experts say may compromise justice as Judges are humans who are not immune to bias and pressure.