Controversy has continued to dog a private radio station in Uyo, Planet FM 101.1 following its interruption of a live broadcast interview with the Akwa Ibom State Publicity Secretary of All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief Ita Awak on Monday.
Monday’s incident was the second in which APC chieftains in the state was involved in controversies regarding their relationship with the Planet FM.
The first was on May 28, when a member of the party and former chairman of Eket Local Government, Chief Aniekan Akpan, narrowly escaped arrest, allegedly, by the police for airing his views on the same radio station.
Explaining the origin of the controversy, Chief Awak posted on his Facebook wall that he was invited to appraise the 17 years of democracy in Nigeria by an independent radio producer known as ‘Team Nigeria’, anchored by Mr. Aniekan Udosen, but broadcast live on Planet FM.
But, on arriving at the radio station, he said he was warned by the General Manager, Sunday Edet to restrict his views only to the activities of the APC-led Federal Government and not mention anything about Akwa Ibom State Government or the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
“I was stunned by this brash guideline and asked why it had to be that way. Edet retorted that Planet Radio Station must be protected and his job must not be threatened and that I should just restrict myself to the one-year-old President Buhari’s administration. I reminded him that the theme of the interview was to appraise 17 years of democracy in Nigeria. He simply insisted that I must not make any reference to the governor or mention any matter relating to the state government…”
But in their defense, the radio station management posted a disclaimer on their Facebook wall absolving themselves from any views that could be canvassed by any guests on ‘Team Nigeria.’
“The programme ‘Team Nigeria’ is designed to highlight the achievements and activities of government and not to pit public opinion against any institution or office. We remain committed to balanced reportage and programming. It is hoped that the listeners discountenance any misleading statement therein,” the station said.
Mr. Udosen told reporters that the only remedy he asked from Planet FM is unreserved apology to the listening public, stressing that the disclaimer was quite insufficient and illogical.