APC Accuses Media of Cajoling Her To Pile up Advert Debt
Irked by allegations that it has wilfully refused to clear its advertising indebtedness to the media, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has accused journalists of pushing the party into debts.
Speaking on a TV interview, Wednesday in Abuja, spokesman of the party, Bolaji Abdullahi said; “I think we have started paying. The last time I checked, I think we have started paying. Maybe if we were doing things the way the other party (PDP) did, using government money to fund the party, it is possible we won’t even have all these. But we have started paying. The issue is this. Let me admit that it is wrong for us not to have paid for those adverts within the period that they were not paid. Some of these things were backlog from the last two years or so. But we do not have problems with salaries of staff. You see, people just exaggerate some of these things.
Then, another thing is this; I am a journalist, I understand how this works. When something happens, they keep calling me ‘Oga, won’t you pay advert?’. But I bear in mind that we have not paid for some and I say, ‘no, let us just write a letter to congratulate the person celebrating’, they would say, ‘no, Oga don’t worry, just place the advert’. I remember one that I said we were not going to pay, but they went and waylaid the chairman in one state and and they called me and said the chairman said we should place the advert”.
The APC last week came under attacks for its wilful refusal to clear advertisement debts running into over N25 million owed some media houses in the country.
Consequently, journalists covering activities of the party had decided to embark on a massive protest at the national secretariat of the party to press for payments, having reportedly exhausted all other “decent avenues to get paid.
Prominent among the newspaper houses to which the party is indebted are Vanguard, Nation, Thisday, Punch, Daily Trust, Blueprint, Guardian, The Sun, Leadership and a host of others.
More than half of the debts were incurred in the run up to the 2015 General Elections. “Since then, we have written the Chief John Odigie-Oyegun led National Working Committee NWC of the APC; we had interfaced with them at several levels but we can no longer tolerate their grand deception and ‘promise and fail’ posture. If after the protest, they still refuse to pay, we may have to begin to review our relationship with the party even with regards to disseminating their stories”, said one of the affected reporters who did not want his name mentioned as he was not authorised to speak for his medium.
According to him, apart from making a lot of money during the elections, the party has raked in over N200 million from the sale of forms for the Edo and Ondo governorship primary elections as well as the forthcoming primary election in Anambra state.
The affected journalists, who lamented that they are daily losing credibility in their various offices and now on the verge of losing their jobs as a result of the debts, urged party leaders to intervene in the matter.
A break down of the debts revealed that The Nation, Leadership, The Sun, Blueprint, Vanguard and Daily Trust have the highest shares of unpaid advert.
It was gathered that the reporters have put in place arrangement to invite their colleagues, both local and international, to cover the protest, saying “the protest will be a kind of open appeal to the leadership of APC to save their jobs.”
Findings revealed that though the leadership of the party had for several weeks given approval for payment, certain forces within the party do not consider the debt a priority, hence the current situation.