Anybody, any political observer, any political analyst, any critical mind, watchers of events in Nigeria who want to know how 2003 and 2007 elections were rigged should go to the archives and search for the copies of THISDAY’s so-called opinion polls on the likely winners and losers.

Fraudulently and for a fee, this newspaper with impunity, systematically and graphically manipulated and deceived Nigerians to prepare grounds for the rigging of 2003 and 2007 elections in favour of PDP.

Today in 2010, Nigeria is still suffering from that criminal manipulation. And to prove to us that they are still around, the perpetrators are back and in full swing, playing the same trick, using the same style and applying the same method. Please pick a copy of  THISDAY of Tuesday August 17, 2010 and you will see the paper’s position on how PDP delegates will vote during Presidential primaries.

After a deep look at the map of Nigeria and the distribution of delegates, I noticed at once that this is IBB’s show. Inside in the pages of the paper I counted 11 colour pages of IBB’s promo to celebrate his 69th birthday.

With this I convinced myself that our media men are about to sell Nigeria again to the highest bidder. I consider this an assault on our collective consciousness and intelligence.

These are certainly trying times for this country once again, and it is now crystal clear to me that those who want Nigeria to remain the same are not wasting a second of their time to achieve what they want to achieve. In nearly 9 years of IBB’s rudderless and criminal leadership, the media industry in Nigeria suffered the deepest pains and sorrows.

Here is an excerpt from my book: Heroes of Democracy: “General Babangida’s own record (1985 to 1993) with the press was like having a re-run of the tragic film of the Buhari days. Between August 27, 1985 and August 26, 1993 the press had literally seen hell on earth. Mohammed Haruna, MD New Nigerian was detained in June 1987 for authorising the publication of an advertisement by the council of Ulama which enjoined Muslims to take steps to protect themselves as citizens of Nigeria, since the government had allegedly failed to protect them.

“From 1983 till June 8, 1998 the issue of fundamental human rights had been a luxury to Nigerians. The press whose duty is to expose these gross violations of human rights was seen as the enemy of the military governments. The siege on the press of Nigeria had therefore lasted for 15 years (1983 to 1998). Jonathan Ishaaku, Editor of Plateau State owned Nigerian Standard was sacked for publishing an editorial critical of the government over the removal of Oladele Olashore and Ibrahim Ayagi as MDs of First Bank and Continental Merchant Bank respectively.

“Innocent Oparadike, editor New Nigerian was detained in July 1987 for publishing a story which alleged that Maryam Babangida had travelled to Mecca on pilgrimage with an entourage of 100 people. Tony Ukpong a reporter with Weekly Metropolitan, Mohammed Babanzara Hassan, editor of Gaskiya Tafi Kwabo, Chris Mammah, editor of The Punch, Chris Okojie, Deputy Editor Vanguard, Paxton Olu Idowu editor of The Republic, Chris Okolie publisher of Newbreed – all suffered from one alleged offence or the other during Babangida’s tenure.

“Dele Giwa of Newswatch was bombed to death in 1986 while Newswatch was proscribed for six months and its office sealed up on April 6, 1987 for publishing the report of the political Bureau set up to fashion out a new political agenda for the Third Republic. The Guardian was closed in May 1991 because The Guardian Express carried a report that two students of Yaba College of Technology were shot dead during May 1991 riots.

“The Punch was closed down on April 29, 1990 after the Orkar coup. Vanguard, Champion, Lagos News published by Alhaji Lateef Jakande, the Concord Press and others had a taste of the bitter pill of Babangida regime.

“After the annulment of June 12 elections in 1993 by Babangida the vibrant and the powerful press of Nigeria stood with the winner, Chief Abiola and the people of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in their demand for justice to be done. By the time Babangida annulled the June 12, 1993 Presidential election, the press declared total war on his regime and eventually forced him to step aside.”

On August 11, 2010, I travelled to my village, Nnewi in Anambra State to bury the first son of my father, Mr. Ifeanyi Sunday Igbokwe and returned on August 16 to hear the poisonous and acidic news from a trusted associate that Alhaji Ibrahim Babangida has penetrated the media industry in Nigeria for a fee.

I could not believe what I heard until I saw THISDAY of Tuesday, 17 August, 2010. This reminds me of a diction that says that history has shown that men have learnt nothing from history. My people say if a child grows up and fails to ask how his father died, what killed his father will eventually kill him.

I have said it a thousand times that those who ruined our yesterday cannot control our tomorrow’s potentials and yet the Nigerian media that was the target for total destruction yesterday are the ones trying with great efforts to write our enemies back to power. But our people in the media know that truth is as constant as the northern star. Only falsehood would have to be invented.

I read this piece sometime ago and honestly I cannot remember my source but I want to share it with my brothers and sisters in the media: “centuries ago historians came up with a classic theory to explain the rise and decline of nations. Theory was that great nations start out from tough-minded and energetic. Toughness and energy lead to wealth and power. Wealth and power lead to affluence and luxury. Affluence and luxury lead to decadence, corruption and decline. The tragedy is that Nigeria never started from number 1 before jumping to number 4”.

Our strong men and women in the media can help us to at least start from number 1 by being tough-minded and energetic in identifying those who destroyed our yesterday and stop them from ruining our tomorrow’s potential.

IBB must be stopped by all means from picking the presidential ticket of the least political party in Nigeria. We must be courageous enough to say NO to certain individuals in Nigeria no matter how highly placed they are.

•Joe Igbokwe wrote in from Lagos.