15 December 2013

Nigeria: Obasanjo's Letter - Leadership Replies Premium Times

Our attention has been drawn to a story online in which PREMIUM TIMES listed LEADERSHIP as one of the Nigerian newspapers that committed an "ethical gaffe" by not acknowledging it as the source of the letter by former president Olusegun Obasanjo to President Goodluck Jonathan.

It's important to set the record straight, for the benefit of our readers. On Wednesday, December 11 when the story first broke, we posted it on our website at 2.45pm in a seven-paragraph story in which PREMIUM TIMES was credited twice.

At that time the full text had not been released and PREMIUM TIMES even said so on its website.

It is surprising that PREMIUM TIMES is claiming exclusive access to the (full) text, published 24 hours after the story broke, in the presumptuous belief that the whole world must be waiting for it to read the full story. That is childish, especially in today's intensely competitive media ecosystem.

The full text, which we published on Thursday, came into our possession after days of diligent investigation and bears no mark whatsoever to any online medium.

We had been tipped off on the story on Sunday and had contacted Garbadeen Mohammed, Obasanjo's media consultant, among other highly placed sources, in an effort to get the story.

Mohammed said he could not help but by 4pm on Wednesday, when the full text had still not appeared on PREMIUM TIMES or any other website, we had exclusively obtained the complete 18-page text, with Obasanjo's signature, from our own source.

In other words, we relied on our effort to get the document and had no need to look online for the full letter, which adorned our print edition and online editions on Thursday.

We have demonstrated a consistent capacity to pull off big stories at relatively short notice and are amused that PREMIUM TIMES thinks we were waiting for them to serve us.

Only recently, our knack for breaking stories paid off again on December 5, when LEADERSHIP became the first media organisation in the world to break the news of the death of former South African president, Nelson Mandela, two clear hours before President Jacob Zuma announced it to the world.

We cherish our reputation as a leading Nigerian news source and will defend it.

The reference to LEADERSHIP is completely unwarranted and we urge some humility by those obviously in a hurry to make a name by dragging others into disrepute.

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