Sahara Reporters vs Okonjo-Iweala: What Do We Make of This?

By IndepthAfrica
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Sep 11th, 2013
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Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

By Emmanuel Arinze

 

I am not one to make much fuss about media reports beyond profiling and updates. By virtue of my profession, my involvement with virtual and terrestrial media – local and foreign – usually does not transcend the bounds of neutral analysis. But, I must admit that, there have been times when I have had to cast off my aloof toga and join the fray of “glocal” (global & local) debate to air my personal view on pertinent matters where sitting on the fence rankles against the grain.

 

In the course of my media analysis, I have also been intrigued by a trend I have observed between two parties dear or aggravating to some Nigerians; that is the person of Mrs Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and the entity called Sahara Reporters. Truly, both parties elicit different reactions from Nigerians for various reasons. But, it appears the party with the biggest voice is not always fair to the other and is consciously attempting to undermine the credibility and dehumanise the other party.

 

From my findings, it appears that since Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala came back to Nigeria for a second stint at the helms of the country’s finance ministry, she has not really done much to merit the positive reportage of Sahara Reporters. All I have read on Sahara Reporters’ site about the woman have been one negative press or the other.

 

But, then, this was only a theory that I had no empirical basis of proving as a fact. So, I decided to conduct an independent survey to ascertain the veracity of this claim. I spent hours going through the gamut of Sahara Reporters’ website and consulting popular search engines to get raw data on Sahara Reporters’ coverage of the person of Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala in the space of 25 months. The results of my findings are captured in the table below for discerning people to see and make their conclusion:

 


 


SN

HEADLINES

DATE OF PUBLICATION

DETAILS OF MENTION

TILT OF MENTION

1

Oil Subsidy Is Fiction-Okonjo Iweala Is Here To Seduce People To Accept The Callous “Oil Subsidy” Removal-Tam David West-TheNEWS

Oct 28, 2011

Professor Tam David-West alleged that Okonjo-Iweala is “sermonising to seduce people to accept the callous oil subsidy removal.”

Negative

2

AUDIO: Nigeria’s Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala Caught On Phone-Tap, Lying, Playing Dumb

January 5, 2012

Saharareporters alleges that Mrs Okonjo-Iweala played the dumb when she was called to tell Nigerians about the fuel subsidies.

Negative

3

VIDEO: “Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala Is Not An Economist, She Is A Demographer”-Occupy Nigeria-Lagos Day 02

January 15, 2012

A protester at #OccupyNigeria says that Okonjo-Iweala is not an economist but a demographer.

Negative

4

Ngozi Okonjo-iweala Must Resign – Prof. Tam David West

February 5, 2012

Prof. Tam David West called on NOI to resign her appointment.

Negative

5

Fuel Subsidy: UAD Calls For Sacking of Okonjo-Iweala, Allison-Madueke; Urges Masses To Be Ready For Further Action

March 7, 2012

UAD calls for the sack of Dr. Iweala and others over their role in the subsidy row.

Negative

6

World Bank Presidency: Obama Rejects Iweala Nominates South Korean-born Jim Yong Kim

March 24, 2012

The report maliciously screams that President Obama is not comfortable with NOI’s candidacy for the World Bank when she is clearly the favourite and most qualified for the position.

Negative

7

World Bank Presidency: Ghana, Uganda Spurn Okonjo-Iweala’s Candidacy

March 25, 2012

SR alleges that Ghana and Uganda reject Okonjo-Iweala’s candidacy for the World Bank.

Negative

8

#OccupyNigeria: Why Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala Should Be The Next President Of The World Bank By Ikhide R. Ikheloa

April 1, 2012

An opinion writer contends that when NOI departs for the World Bank, she will be leaving Nigeria much worse than she found it.

Negative

9

Go, Ngo, Go: This Battle Is Not Yours By Sonala Olumhense

April 1, 2012

The writer opines that there are two sides to NOI; “The first is the one who, when she is in Washington, DC, longs to come home, where home is Nigeria.  The other is the one who, when she is in Nigeria, longs desperately for home, home being Washington, DC”.

Negative

10

Fuel Subsidy Fallout: Combat Corruption, Sack Okonjo-Iweala, Allison-Madueke, Civil Society Organizations Tell Jonathan

April 20, 2012

The United Action for Democracy (UAD) calls for the sack of NOI and some members of the federal cabinet for their role in the fuel subsidy debacle.

Negative

11

FOI: Okonjo-Iweala May Be Dragged To Court To Explain Lavish Expenditure On Funeral of Father-In-Law

April 24, 2012

CPC spokesman wants to know how much was spent on the burial of NOI’s Father-In-Law.

Negative

12

The Jailing Of James Ibori

April 25, 2012

The opinion writer describes NOI’s World Bank presidency run as “excessive ambition and naivety”.

Negative

13

Power Outage Mars South-South Economic Summit As President Jonathan, Paul Kagame, Okonjo-Iweala, Shun Event

April 27, 2012

NOI was reported absent on the first day of the South-South economic summit.

Indifferent

14

Ngozi Okonjo Iweala: Rejected Abroad, Resented At Home

May 1, 2012

The writer criticises the economic policies of NOI in strong terms.

Negative

15

Is Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala Stupidly Intelligent?

May 15, 2012

This opinion article questions NOI’s actions and inactions on the oil subsidy saga.

Negative

16

Okonjo-Iweala Insists On ‘Transparency And Careful Management’ Of Nigeria’s Resources, Spokesman Says

July 30, 2012

NOI reassured that the 2012 budget is being managed in a way that protects and enhances the best interests of the country.

Indifferent

17

Okonjo-Iweala And The Budget Of Abracadabra By Simbo Olorunfemi

July 24, 2012

The article questions the rationale behind the preparation of 2013 budget when the one for 2012 has not been fully implemented.

Negative

18

Budget Implementation Is Failing To Achieve Citizens’ Human Rights, SERAP Tells Finance Minister

July 31, 2012

A civil society group, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) challenged NOI’s statement about 2012 budget.

Negative

19

PHOTONEWS: Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala At The Olympics Sport Of Lying About Budget Implementation

August 2, 2012

SR maliciously captioned the minister’s picture in the National Assembly. SR claimed that her eyes were popping as she claimed that she was “misquoted” by the media when she stated that the 2012 budget has recorded 56% implementation.

Negative

20

Ngozi Iweala: Nigeria’s Weakest Link

October 21, 2012

Sonala Olumhense described the minister, whom he called “Double duty” minister, as the weakest link in President Goodluck Jonathan’s cabinet.

Negative

21

Anti-Corruption Group Storms Ministry Finance To Demand Removal Of Ngozi Okonjo Iweala Over Oil Subsidy Payment Scams

November 8, 2012

Executive Secretary of the Anti Corruption Network, Dino Melaye led hundreds of protesters to demand for the sack of the minister.

Negative

22

Jonathan: Combating Corruption By Conversation

December 12, 2012

A reaction to the clamor for the sack of Minister of Labour and Productivity, Mr. Emeka Wogu, and the Minister responsible for the Niger Delta, Mr. Godspower Orubebe.

Indifferent

23

Okonjo-Iweala Pledges Action Against Pension Racketeers

December 12, 2012

NOI stressed that it is a crime to defraud helpless, old people.

Positive

24

Sucker Punch: Ten Provocative Demands from Dr. Okonjo-Iweala to President Jonathan

December 12, 2012

The writer presents what he termed “ten provocative demands from Mrs Okonjo-Iweala to President Jonathan”

Negative

25

Nigerian Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala’s Statement Regarding Release Of Her Kidnapped Mother

December 14, 2012

The minister issued a press statement where she confirmed that her mother, Professor Mrs Kamene Okonjo, has been freed by her abductors.

Indifferent

26

Still On Okonjo-Iweala Over Controversial Appointments By Yushau A. Shuaib

March 5, 2013

The piece laments what it terms the ‘biafranization’ of top public offices by Okonjo-Iweala.

Negative

27

Assault On Free Speech Continues, As Okonjo-Iweala Masterminds Sacking of NEMA Image Maker

April 17, 2013

The report alleges that NOI has engineered the sacking of Yushaib Shuaib, the spokesman of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).

Negative

28

Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala’s World- All Things Being Equal, Okonjo-Iwealla Continues To Bungle Facts

April 23, 2013

The commentary picks hole in the minister’s assertion that all things being equal Nigeria’s economy is on the right path. The commentary further accuses her of lying over the figures she quoted.

Negative

29

Jonathan, Okonjo-Iweala Tip Aig-Imoukhuede As Next CBN Governor

April 23, 2013

The report states that Mr. Aig-Imoukhuede, the Group Managing Director of Access Bank Plc, enjoys the support of NOI and President Jonathan to become the new CBN Governor after the expiration of the tenure of Mallam Sanusi.

Indifferent

30

Press Freedom, Yushau Shuaib And Okonjo-Iweala

April 26, 2013

Abdullahi Yunusa, a friend of Yushau Shuaib eulogises Shuaib and expresses worry over NOI’s alleged attempt to use her office to maltreat a patriotic Nigerians of Shuaib’s standing.

Negative

31

Stable Electricity Still a Decade Away for Nigeria By Toyin Dawodu

May 4, 2012

The writer quotes Okonjo-Iweala as saying that Nigeria’s power is heavily subsidized and investors want tariffs to match the cost of producing power.

Indifferent

32

The Frustrations of Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala et al By Rudolf Ogoo Okonkwo

May 9, 2013

Rudolf Okonkwo, a columnist on Sahareporters, comments on NOI’s keynote speech at the 5th Annual African Business Conference at Harvard Business School in February of 2013.

Negative

33

Clarifying Nigeria’s Debt Position By Dr. Okonjo-Iweala

June 7, 2013

NOI’s release in response to misinformation and misconception in the public debate on Nigeria’s debt.

Indifferent

34

Full Transcript Of My Presentation At The Ministerial Platform By Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

June 16, 2013

Transcript of NOI’s speech at the Ministerial Platform on Monday, June 11, 2013.

Indifferent

35

Minister Ngozi Iweala And The Turtle By Prince Charles Dickson

June 24, 2013

The writer takes a swipe at NOI’s figure over economic growth. He holds that those numbers are nothing but a publicity stunt.

Negative

36

EXCLUSIVE: Okonjo-Iweala opens up, says Nigeria economy in danger

June 14, 2013

The story claims that NOI painted a gloomy picture of the economy contrary to what she said in her speech at the Ministerial Platform.

Negative

37

SR Speaks: Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala’s Economy of Lies

July 1, 2013

SaharaReporters responds to NOI’s spokesman’s rejoinder in an unsavoury manner.

Negative

38

Mrs. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala storms Dr. Damages show with a piece of the National Cake

July 7, 2013

A parody of NOI’s presentation at the Ministerial Platform sandwiched with some unsavoury comments.

Negative

39

Don’t Be Deceived By Okonjo-Iweala; Economic Growth Stopped In 1970s – Dr. Muttaka

July 7, 2013

In an interview, Dr. Muhammad Usman Muttaka, the Head of Economics Department of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria described the reported growth of Nigeria’s economy as a “paper growth”.

Negative

40

Nigeria Rated 8th Most Corrupt Nation- PM NEWS, Lagos

July 11, 2013

In a story that has nothing to do with the personality of NOI, SR prominently features her picture in this report that Nigeria is now rated the 8th most corrupt nation in the world.

Negative

41

Nigeria’s Finance Minister Okonjo-Iweala Forced THISDAY Publisher To Sack Editor

September 10, 2013

SaharaReporters alleges that the CME masterminded the sack of the Thisday’s Saturday editor, Lawrence Ani.

Negative

 

Judging by the foregoing where out of 41 mentions profiled in 25 months, 32 of them are negative, 8 are indifferent and only 1 is positive, it is obvious to identify the standpoint of Sahara Reporters where the person of Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is concerned.

 

For a medium like Sahara Reporters to have only one positive out of 41 reports about anyone says a lot about how evil such person must be, doesn’t it? My findings leave so many questions unanswered, is Okonjo-Iweala that bad? Is she so wrapped up in evil that she deserves only one positive report out of 41 Sahara Reporters’ mentions in 25 months? In fact, can anyone be that bad? Can there be more than meet the eye in Sahara Reporters’ coverage of the person of Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala? Why does Sahara Reporters have more negative things to say about the finance minister than the other media? Why is Sahara Reporters always the first medium to break negative news about NOI? I leave the answers for the discerning minds to conclude.

 

Emmanuel Arinze is an Abuja-based Research consultant.

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