By Rose Peter Graham
On Thursday February 26th 2015 I produced a series of video clips which covered the demonstrations by some Nigerians in the United Kingdom outside Chatham House where the leading Nigerian opposition All Progressive Congress (APC) leader Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (GMB)) was giving a speech.
As I mentioned in one of the video clips, I was there in my attempt to secure an interview with the General. My previous attempts to secure such an interview with General Buhari for a TV programme I co present on BEN-TV ‘PolitrickswithKO’ had failed and I was hoping to be able to catch up with General Buhari after his Chatham House presentation.
Whilst waiting for my cameraman to arrive, I noticed the demonstration unfolding and with a moment of spontaneity I started interviewing some of the demonstrators. Some of the responses to my interview questions were quite alarming and this prompted my recording of this unexpected encounter using the video camera on my phone.
As is evident from the video clips, the recordings were totally unscripted and uploaded online onto my personal Facebook page unedited momentarily, I had no opportunity to review or edit the video.
Some of the comments I made unwittingly in one of the video clips relating to the personal appearances, hygiene and status of some of the demonstrators were most certainly unbecoming of a professional journalist of my calibre. I totally accept that at the very least such personal comments should not have been made and at the very most should have been edited off before uploading those video clips.
For those comments I made, I would like to take this opportunity to publicly offer my sincere apologies.
Opponents of the truths captured in the video clips have ferociously used these comments to not only cover up and distract attention to the seriousness of the deceptive acts that were made bare in the coverage but also to threaten my safety, attack my credence and vilify my personality on social and mass media.
Whilst I have restrained to respond individually to the tactics used by these opponents, I find it necessary to use this opportunity to also address some of the baseless and outrageous comments which have been propagating on various online platforms and networks as follows:
– Re. “exposing her 2 month old baby”; “
To whoever made this assertion, if you are going to use the age of my baby to attack the quality of my motherhood, the least you could do is get my baby’s age right!!!
Figuring out the age of my baby is quite a simple thing to research from the online announcements of my baby’s birth.
If you can’t get this simple thing correct to begin with I wonder what else you could so possibly get wrong, on the other hand if you could have gotten this right but deliberately seek to restate my baby’s age then I questions your motive for such a fundamental distortion of facts.
– Re. “baby wept throughout the whole event”
Either the person making such a statement was not at the event, did not watch the video clips or is hell bent on defamation of my character as a mother.
– Re. “We are still investigating how much APC paid their camera lady… She can’t just be too poor to afford £50 per day for child minder”
How much of a contradiction there is between the parts of this statement!!!
I’ll address the first part of that statement later, but for now family matters first.
To the person making this statement, I ask do you have experience with third party childcare provisions in the UK?
If so, have you thought of the fact that I could have called around seeking availability for a day placement with a registered child minder before making the decision to take my baby along with me?
FYI, I’m a full time mother by choice and when the rear and impromptu opportunity for a chance to interview the General came to my attention I did call around seeking a registered child-minder for the day but there were no space available for that day with a child-minder licenced to look after under 2 years old. Due to my husband’s work commitment on that day he could not take the day off work as he would normally have done with advance notice. The decision that I take our baby along to the event was made by me and my husband after weighing the circumstances and the facts about the event available to us. So if you don’t know, please ask.
If the person making such a statement does not have experience with third party childcare provisions in the UK, then FYI one does not just call up on anybody to be a child-minder just because you have “£50” to pay for their service.
– Re. “She even refused to use Umbrella”
Again I say, either the person making such a statement was not at the event, did not watch the video clips or is hot bent on defamation of character by way of false statement.
– Re. “exposing her baby to harm”
When I left my home with my baby that lovely Thursday last week, I was heading to Chatham House seeking to have an opportunity to interview the General. If the person is making this statement is not familiar with Chatham House, well it is a highly regarded think tank institution in a respectable area in a peaceful country. For crying out loud, stop making it sound as if I was heading with my baby to a war torn or conflict ridden area and stop attempting to use such tactics to distract attention from the underlying truths captured in the video clips. In the United Kingdom protests are monitored by law enforcement officers, on the day of the protest the Metropolitan Police did not see any reason to declare the protest venue Chatham house as unsafe for journalists or Children. If they had any reason to I would have been alerted on arrival.
As is also so very apparent from the video clips, the people present at the event either for or against General Buhari and the APC were very pleasant to my baby and receptive of his presence there.
– Re. “a sacked ex staff of NTA”
To the person who made such total and outright ignorant claim, do you know that even after I resigned from NTA to pursue a career move working for another company I was still presenting the Sugar n Spice TV on NTA2 show on my own time up to the point of my leaving Nigeria to join my husband in the United Kingdom?
Do you know that even after relocating to the UK arrangements were made such that I was in consultation as a producer of the Sugar n Spice on NTA2 show up to the point I could not continue doing so because of my pregnancy?
How could you reconcile these facts with such a baseless statement of yours?
– Re. “an agent of the APC”
Whilst I openly and publicly make known my support for the General Buhari the candidate of the APC as a Nigerian with a freeborn right and liberty to choose and support candidates if and when I deem it fit, I must say I find it really flattering to be labelled an agent of the APC.
This is especially so flattering given the fact that the previous Saturday I was treated like a gate crasher at the reception held by the party in honour of the General at the Waterloo Park Plaza in London and not allowed into the main area of the event.
That was after the embarrassment I felt having persuaded a very reluctant husband of mine to cut short our family outing that day and dragging him along to a political event outside his comfort zone only for me not to be allowed into the main area of the reception part!!!!
So I’m very flattered by this statement and say to thanks for the compliment, this is happily received.
By the way, the photo with myself and the General’s wife and daughter I took at the fringes of that reception party as it does look good as it makes the rounds as people share it as their supporting evidence of this statement. Thanks for sharing!!! ( I am not ashamed to have had the opportunity of meeting the General’s wife and daughter. If anything it strengthened my resolve never to base my judgement of any Nigerian based on propaganda, lies and bigotry as my conversation with both women increased my resolve that irrespective where we come from in Nigeria we are bounded by a common humanity.
– Re. “We are still investigating how much APC paid their camera lady (Rose Graham)”
The last time I checked my bank account and cash flow I’ve not received any money from any political party!!
To the person who made this statement, I take it that after a week of your so-called investigation you are now in a position to tell us how much I have been paid by the APC.
I’m particularly interested to find out from your investigation which account this money has been paid into so that I can start proceedings to recovery that which you think is mine.
If to the contrary you had no intention of doing such an investigation, and made such a statement as a passing remark to distract attention from discussing the main issues on ground, I say shame on you!!! Our country has have enough of such tactics so yes, shame on you!!!
– Re. “Was Hired and Paid By APC”
I say again to the person making a claim like this in such an assured manner without any substantive evidence to back it up or an iota of truth to it, shame on you!!!
And for the records, I have NOT been hired NOR paid by the APC to do what I do. I do not have any intention of commercialising my right as a citizen of Nigeria to make a choice and take a stand in what is defining moment in the history of our country, every Nigerian owe our country the duty to choose between the available candidates who stand for election as guaranteed by the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. To the characters who think it is a crime to choose I must say use your internet and Google “UNIVERSAL ADULT SUFFRAGE” it could help.
Let me bring it to the attention of those who stood by me that for several weeks before the Chatham house event I had been hounded and bombarded by and individual claiming to represent the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) with sinister proposals, it was a proponent of the PDP party who had made attempts to recruit me into their social media campaign for GEJ an offer which I turned down and my position made clear as is evidenced in the following extract from a Facebook messaging exchange I had with a PDP campaign representative between 4th and 5th Jan ‘15:
PDP Rep (real name withheld):
“Please Let’s Join Hands And PUSH As Much Information As We Can On The Positives Of GEJ Into The Media Space By Deploying Your FB And Twitter Handles.
Please Use #SUSTAININGTheGAINS…
I need a budget from you. I also need a strategy doc for your deployment of Online Media for the GEJ presidential campaign”
“With all due respect sir, I’m not on the lookout for a budget. My contribution is purely out of a deep seated interest for our dear country. My online media presence strategy is basically to inform, educate and liaise with friends and contacts on pertinent issues relating to Nigeria in an engaging manner as I can.”
“WoW…OK. Thanks for The FeedBack. Appreciate Same. Will Send You Loads Of Stuff On The Achievements Of The GEJ Government.
Also Please Deploy the Hashtag I Sent To You Yesterday. We need it to go VIRILE.”
NB: For the records, although my political convictions are very much more aligned with those of APC, It did not stop me from posting appropriate PDP media campaign information on my social media platform, neither did it stop me from inviting Peopled Democratic Party representatives to the PolitrickswithKO programme on BEN-TV.
Now that I’ve cleared the air on these matters, it would be greatly appreciated if we could draw a line under this discussion and focus on the far more important issues that are affecting us Nigerians.
We have an election due by the end of this month to prepare for as we look forward to electing to office the right people we believe have the best interest at heart for us, best placed to govern the nation and improve the standard of living for the benefit of all Nigerians.
May I also take this opportunity to extend my sincere gratitude to all those who have been supportive of me whilst going through the ordeals of the past week. Your kind words and actions have been very encouraging and much appreciated. I am truly blessed to have an understanding husband who is supportive of my chosen path and appreciates the intricacies of getting involved in the fight to restore the dignity of Nigerians from the shackles of forces of darkness.
May God bless us all regardless of our beliefs and persuasions political or otherwise and May God Bless the Nigeria.