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Saturday, 23 November 2013 12:24(Opinion) – I am having difficulties figuring out what Victor Ofuonye want. Having read his article “Foroyaa preaching xenophobia in style” where he ran in circles looking for ways to cast aspersion on Foroyaa and its Managing Editor; and now on another article “on free speech I stand”, insisting that until Foroyaa publishes his vitriolic attack it will be guilty of dishonesty, is rude to say the least.
I said I do not know what this guy want or is after because I have not read anywhere in his narration that he is an official of the Nigeria High Commission in Banjul. Nor did I read him quote a word or phrase from the Foroyaa editorial that is causing him to lose sleep, which is xenophobic or warrants those many rude words he employed in his writing. If I were the Foroyaa managing editor this so-called rejoinder from Victor Ofuonye will simply be trashed in the rubbish bin.
Until when Victor Ofuonye is appointed the spokesperson of the Nigerian mission to the Gambia he has no right to a rejoinder. The least he have to do with the whole issue is to do his own story as a journalist that proves that he did have access to the functions of the visit of the president of his country that Foroyaa is claiming could not have access to.
The Foroyaa editorial (there are more than one foroyaa editorials touching on the topic of the visit of the Nigerian President) was concerned with the visit of the head of state of Nigerian and if there is any one that is competent and positioned to respond and clarify the concerns raised it is not this Victor Ofuonye.
One makes a rejoinder to something that he or she is a party to and had suffered injury one way or the other. Victor Ofuonye as a Nigerian national resident in the Gambia, lacks the locus-standi to a rejoinder from an editorial questioning the status of the visit of the head of state of his country of birth. All that he may be entitled to, like any other individual whether a Gambian or a Nigerian, is to write and state his or her disagreement with the editorial and give the reason for his disagreement, but to use this opportunity to throw insults at others is unacceptable. This attitude is rude, and Mr. Victor Ofuonye must be told to desist and behave himself.
It is apparent that Mr. Ofuonye is out for some other mission completely different from the mere disagreement with an editorial and all indications suggest is to pick on Foroyaa to impress others. This trend has always been prevalent in the Gambia where both Gambians and non-Gambians alike turn on to “soft targets” to impress other for some selfish interest.
Instead of laboring on the ills affecting Gambian society for the betterment of all, they are always quick to act on those that they feel lack the power to act for selfish ends. It is this type of mentality that Victor Ofounye’s Today newspaper relied on to berate the person of Gumbo Ali Touray and his counsel Badou Conteh during Touray’s trial for false information that put his boss Abdul Hamid Adiamoh in trouble with the law.
By picking on soft targets and throwing venom at them when there are more important issues that need to be attended to make Gambia, Nigeria, West Africa and the rest of the continent more conducive for the development of its people, such type of people look only towards their selfish interest. Many has gone this route before including Dida Halake but ended putting themselves in trouble.
The fact that Victor Ofuonye will utilize adjectives such as xenophobia in this matter is enough indication where this man is heading to. When does asking questions concerning the nature of a visit of a head of state amounts to xenophobia Mr. Victor Ofuonye? Aren’t you the danger to society that you want your readers to believe Foroyaa and its Editor are? You are lucky you will not be charged for false publication or slander, that is why I will suggest for your own good my brother, to relax and go eat Eba or Amalaa and enjoy the tolerance of the Gambian people, President Goodluck Jonathan is back in Aso Rock, Abuja.
You might also consider asking your representatives at the Nigeria High commission to engage the Gambian government to get them waive requirements for alien ID cards and fees for Nigerians and other Africans instead of engaging in futile and empty rhetoric’s.
It is further telling with the vigor and zeal with which Victor Ofuonye is trying to get at Foroyaa. He criticized Foroyaa for incoherence in the use of grammar and the construction of language yet he failed the same test by employing high sounding phrases and adjectives to misrepresent and exaggerate a simple matter.
For Victor Ofuonye to try to build a mountain out of a sand dune by citing an advertorial from First Bank Gambia LTD that Foroyaa carried still tells were his mind set lies. I will want to remind Victor Ofuonye that despite the elaborate graphics and supposedly better use of language and grammar that the newspaper he works at utilizes used to be, and still is, the least popular newspaper in the newsstand in the Gambia.
And that it does not only go into circulation when it gathers enough advertorials, (yes for the cash and nothing for keeping Gambians informed) but still has excuses to not pay its workers and other attendant dues. (Ask your boss to tell you how much he owes me from the work I did for him and his paper)
You said you are a practicing journalist in the Gambia for the past eight years. I do not think that is true. Can you tell the media institutions you worked with during these eight years you are talking about. The Today newspaper that I know you with has been in existence less than eight years. Also my encounter with you at the GPU headquarters in 2008 where you were criticizing PDOIS is still fresh in my mind.
Mr. Victor Ofuonye, since you came from Nigeria where by all standards it’s media is far ahead of those in the Gambia, yet still I am certain that you will agree with me that the standard of journalism in Nigeria despite the country’s standing in Africa, is also still at its development stage and not at the levels one finds in countries like south Africa, Ghana, Egypt or Kenya. The fact that you practice your trade in the tiny market of the Gambia is also telling. For your information I have lived in Nigerian for about two years in both the north and south west of the country and know what I am talking about.
Lastly, I want to advice you Mr. Victor Ofuonye, that you will do us Gambians a big favor if you insist on exercising your right to free speech by having the authorities not interfere with your work as a journalist in the Gambia and better still, be a leading light and champion for freedom of speech. This much we need from someone who loves free speech.
This I guess you can take as a new mission to help a struggling comparatively underdeveloped sisterly media environment. Since you have no past record helping us in this much needed endeavor your help in this regard is will be much appreciated than being an idle attention seeking busybody.
Written by Modou Nyang
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