President Muhammadu Buhari has said that Africa Independent Television (AIT) and the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) as well as some security operatives were partisan in the run up to the 2015 presidential elections.
Mallam Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, stated this in Lagos on Thursday, while speaking at a media forum called The Red Media Summit.
Shehu, who said that Buhari won the election against a partisan media campaign and the deployment of state forces against him, expressed the president’s gratitude to Nigerians for his victory at the general elections.
Shehu said: “Americans say that elections are won on the dollar. It’s very improbable that anybody can win an election without money. We didn’t have advertising money on our campaign. Even when we had little money to spend on advertising, the Nigerian Television Authority was not making available to us slots, neither was AIT.
“I remember on a particular night I called NTA, they had 16 slots of one minute adverts and I said I wanted to buy one minute for the Buhari campaign, they said all 16 had been sold.
“Some other instances that exposed the partisan nature of the NTA, money was returned to us, from AIT money was returned to us. They simply won’t advertise for us.
“Muhammadu Buhari’s goodwill greetings to you is on account of the fact that he won an election that many people thought he was not going to win.’’
The President’s media aide further narrated how security operatives besieged his family house one night and woke them up from their sleep in the course of the presidential campaign.
Shehu said his family had to remain indoors throughout the siege for fear of the unknown, but he had to play a fast trick by alerting a friend, who took to Facebook and Twitter to alert the world of the development, which scared off the security agents.
“That day there was a security siege at my home, I woke up to see that my house had been surrounded by armed policemen in the course of the campaign.
“In fact, it was the cocking of their guns that rose me and my family members from our sleep. Only to discover that tens of policemen, police vehicles, and some other unidentified vehicles darkened our windows around my home.
“The first thing I did was to say ‘Who will help me out of this situation?’ I needed to expose what was going on, and the first man I reached was Adebola Williams of Statecraft.
“Adebola began to announce on Facebook and Twitter from that moment until the security elements realized that the whole world was looking at what they were doing, because I remained indoors throughout the siege,’’ he narrated.