Online news platform, SIGNAL, which reported a few weeks ago that journalist Tolu Ogunlesi was the ghost writer behind a piece which appeared on The Economist magazine labeling former President Goodluck Jonathan as an ”intellectual buffoon” has apologised for the report which has been found to be untrue. The contentious report has been removed from its website and it appealed ”to its media partners to do same or publish this update on the article on their various websites.”
In a letter written to Ogunlesi, signed by Yemi Adebowale, the newspaper’s Editor, the online publication apologised ”unequivocally” for the report, claiming that they have now received fresh facts that Ogunlesi may not have written the article. It is unclear however if Ogunlesi will accept the apology. Phone calls and messages to Ogunlesi, who now serves as strategic communications adviser to the minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Okechukwu Enelamah, have not been responded to.
In its first letter published yesterday, SIGNAL ”apologised for the mix-up” but later edited the piece to reflect an ”unequivocal” apology.
“We received your letter dated 3rd February 2016 asking our newspaper to retract and apologise over a report it published which had identified your good self as the alleged writer of an article by The Economist, which described Nigeria’s former President, Goodluck Jonathan as an ‘ineffectual buffoon’,” the paper said. “Suffice it to say that fresh facts obtained by SIGNAL, after further investigations have shed more light on the issues raised in the said report. You will recall that SIGNAL had stated in the same article that efforts to reach you to get your reactions proved abortive at the time of filing the report.”
“It is also on record that after the said article was published, you publicly denied the claims, which was also published in another report by our newspaper in adherence to the principles of our profession as unbiased reporters of facts for the public good.
“While the said report had no defamatory import and was not intended to cause you any embarrassment, we have in adherence to journalistic ethics and standards, and in good faith, retracted the report in its entirety from our platform.”
The paper said in its report that it decided to retract and apologise due to ”the intervention of persons close to him who say he vehemently denies being the author of the article. These are men and women of upstanding professional reputation and the newspaper respects their judgment and wise counsel on the matter.”
In its statement, SIGNAL apologised ”unequivocally to Mr. Ogunlesi and reiterates, once, again that there was no malicious intent in publishing the story. The newspaper tried as best to stick to facts. The newspaper hopes that this publication serves as a retraction for his use. SIGNAL wishes him success in all his future endeavours and assures its readers that the newspaper’s commitment towards informing, educating and enlightening society remains unflinching.”