By Wole Balogun
Sahara Reporters (SR), gained popularity as a reliable media platform when it shot into limelight a few years ago. Memorable numbers of stories that exposed the dirtiness in some high places gave SR that reputation of a media platform with a difference. But of late, reports from SR platform are creating an impression that the once vibrant media investigative platform, is living on past glory. This is because there have been some embarrassing reports from the so called “Almighty” Sahara Reporters which have been making everyone to question the credibility of the media outlet.
Recall in particular SR’s embarrassing report about the just elected National President of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), Mr. Sunday Asefon, which claimed that the young man is a 45 year-old civil servant!. When indeed Asefon is just in his early thirties. At least those of us very close to the young man in Ekiti know that he is far from being 40! One then wonders where SR got their information that he is 45!.
Another embarrassing goof of SR is the recent publication about some popular Nigerian clerics, entitled: “Prophecies that missed the Mark in 2020”.
In the report, which SR claimed is an investigative, there were so many misrepresentations and mis-qoutations which one suspects is deliberate.
For instance, SR’s claims in that report that Primate Ayodele’s prophecies about democracy causing ripples in Nigeria and a Refrendum happening in the future, miss the mark, is laughable.
To use the cleric’s exact words, he had predicted : “Democracy will cause problems in Nigeria and may lead to Nigeria’s break up….l forsee a future Refrendum coming”. From the foregoing prophecies, no one who understands English Language and its tenses, would say the cleric had predicted that a Refrendum will happen in 2020 or that Nigeria will break up in 2020. What the cleric had simply said is that democracy will cause problem in Nigeria to the point that this ‘may’ later lead to Nigeria’s break up.
Also, about his prediction on Refrendum, he simply said he foresaw a Refrendum in the future, not in 2020. That is clear English for even a layman to understand. One wonders why SR’s reporter decided to interprete that in his own English to mean the cleric meant that a Refrendum will happen in 2020!. That is clearly a deliberate ploy to defame the cleric. As a matter of fact, the prediction about democracy causing ripples has been fulfilled or would anyone not agree with the cleric that democracy is indeed causing problems in Nigeria of today?. Instances of such ripples abound in forms of electoral frauds being committed by our politicians and leading into emergence of unscrupulous leaders who are daily delivering woes of democracy, instead of dividends of democracy to Nigerians.
Besides, the Afenifere, a pan Yoruba socio-political group, and some other pan Nigeria political groups and stakeholders are already calling for a Refrendum as way out of Nigeria’s current and perrennial political quagmire, thus fulfilling the prophecy of a future Refrendum by Primate Ayodele.
SR’s so called investigative Reporter, attacked Primate Ayodele on the cleric’s prediction that President Buhari’s Government will expose a former governor and indict other highly placed and corrupt government officials in 2020. The claim by SR that this prediction missed the mark is a great disservice to journalism because the prophecy has come to pass in cases of former Governor Godswill Akpabio, Abdulrasheed Maina and others who were exposed for alleged frauds.
The same disservice to investigative journalism was done with SR’s claims that Primate Ayodele’s prediction that in 2020 government agencies will be scrapped due to inefficiencies. As a matter of fact, the government has scrapped the Special Anti-Robbery Sqaud (SARS) to pave way for SWAT. The government is indeed working towards scrapping others currently.
Another accurate prediction of Primate Ayodele which SR goofed about is the prophecy that: ” There will be seriuos security challenges and the government will take certain new steps to curb these challenges”
Truth is that everyone knew that in 2020, there were very serious security challenges and that government , especially at the regional/state level, took novel and concrete steps towards securing the nation. This prophecy was indeed fulfilled with the emergency of Amotekun, a security outfit being financed and managed by some governors in the South West and another security outfit being considered by governors in the South East.
Also, incidences of insecurity that pervaded 2020 in forms of kidnappings, killings and others are signposts of the fulfilment of the prophecies.
SR also goofed when it mis-interpreted
Primate Ayodele as predicting that the presidency will move elsewhere from Aso rock in 2020. What the cleric actually said is that he foresaw the presidency moving out of Aso Rock villa in the future, not in 2020. We recommend that the SR Reporter should go and recheck this fact, in the reports out there and especially in the prophet’s annual Book of Prophecies titled: “Warnings to the Nations”, 2020 edition.
While the predictions by Primate Ayodele about earth tremours and landslides happening in 2020 were adequately fulfilled as evident in reports of landlsides in Oyo, some Eastern parts and other areas in the country, SR erroneously claimed that the Prophecies missed the mark!
It is the same way the death of a former governor, which was actually the late ex-governor Mbadinuju of Anambra State who died in 2020 as predicted by Primate Ayodele in 2019, was rubbished by this same SR reporter as missing the mark.
Perhaps, it was because of the fact that Primate Ayodele’s predictions about the death of a prominent personality in Aso Rock villa in 2020, a pandemic and that Nigerians would stone convoys of leaders, which all got fulfilled in sudden passing on of late Aba Kyari, Nigeria’s former Chief of Staff, the break out of Covid 19 and the Endsars protests were too pronounced for the SR reporter to rubbish, he would probably have said they also missed the mark!
My candid advice for SR is to cultivate the habit of sound investigative, proper cross checking of facts, before rushing to the publish poorly researched stories, so that it could launder its image in the public rating.