Nigeria News

Real Victim Of COZA Story

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Nigeria News takes a look at the real victim of the COZA story.

Editor of the Punch Newspaper, Mr. Martin Ayankola has been sacked by the management of the company.

He was sacked over the back page column of the paper on the alleged rape story of the Senior Pastor of the Commonwealth of Zion Assembly, Biodun Fatoyinbo and her victim Busola Dakolo.

The paper had used a cartoon to illustrate a pastor weeing on the Holy Bible in a sex scandal that had rocked the church in the last few months.

The cartoon generated heated debate in the social media and could have led to a religious disharmony in the country but the management quickly doused the tension by issuing an apology letter to members of the public.

Having worked in Punch for six years, I knew that some heads must roll over the story.

I am not surprised that Ayankola has been sacked as the Editor of the Punch title. I worked with him at Nigeria Tribune. He was my Bureau Chief in Lagos. A gentle, brilliant and unassuming journalist.

He had hardly spent two years as the Punch Business Editor before he was appointed as the Editor of the Punch in 2012.

He became the longestserving editor of the Punch, having put seven good years that ended abruptly over COZA sex scandal story.

Every reporter wants to rise to become editor someday but he must remember the common adage that “Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown”.

Unlike the citizens’ journalists and bloggers who do copy and paste journalism and prey on the hard work of conventional journalists, real reporters pay a big price for little error that goes on the pages of newspapers.

Today, Fatoyinbo, the alleged defiler and his victim, Busola are somewhere thinking of the story to cough out again but a hard-working Ayankola has just been fired for a sin he never committed.

Fatoyinbo has gone on leave of absence but the family of Ayankola is in disarray because the editor had committed a professional error and lost his job.

This does not happen in the social media industry where junks are put together and sold as News.

The real victim of COZA story is Martin Ayankola and it goes a long way to show how hard the Punch management could be on its members of staff.

Punch has the highest staff turnover in the media industry. It is also one of the highest paying media companies in the country.

As a result of its hiring and firing policy, many experienced journalists do not feel comfortable applying to work at Punch.

Punch could be a good place to start a career but there are scores of greyhorns in the company who commit a lot of gaffes that escape the eyes of the editors.

To me, I think Ayankola should not be the only sacrificial lamb, the sack letters should have been extended to the subeditors and the cartoonist himself.

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