Rise of Naija Frivolous Journalism

March 11, 2009

The easiest persuasive method to manipulate anything Nigerian – particularly the press – is the bandwagon effect. It’s like a whirlwind the way it sways the media and its superstars: columnists, presenters, producers, broadcasters, and even the deejays.
Reality show, for instance, was first sold Nigerians by Guiness’ brainwashers in 2003. Pronto! Every station is now flooded with series of stupid, obscene, poverty-induced realities of Nigeria and Africa.

Much earlier, there was – and now, has been – a frivolous brand of print journalism, especially in newspaper columns like Reuben Abati’s Friday Guardian, and backs-of-book of the likes of Dele Omotunde’s TELL and TheWeek mags.
I think I like Dele’s B-O-B. He admits it’s a borrowed idea adapted to the Nigerian situation. But he writes in so satirical and almost libelous a manner that he makes his points brazenly obvious in spite of the legal implications .He doesn’t lose his point while amusing us.
Abati was equally humorous and sarcastic in his heyday. But others? Affected tribes of copycats.

But don’t forget. Abati, too,has lapsed into frivolity now. Remember his piece : Queen Okoye: Raped by Police? It read like he was releasing his sadistic semen through the amorous dialogue. Would he have trivialized the story if his wife or mother had been so gang-raped?

Honestly, good humour has its place in journalism. But it’s got to be original, relevant, objective, and focused. No waste of time and space on trite jokes that trivialize important issues like rape, human rights abuse, corruption, and other socio-economical vices.

The entertainment role of the press, overplayed as it is now in Nigeria, merely portrays the media as frivolous and defocused, especially in this dispensation ridden with irresponsibilities – of Yardie and his cohorts. It’s here in the Nigerian media you see too many chiefs , but not enough Indians: legions of columnists who ought to be undergoing training in the use of the inverted pyramid now spinning out crap called columns by the hour. To gain readership, some of them go bald-headed for sparkless humour and unnecessary trumpery.

Nigerians are tired of suffering, and smiling just on reading some comic relief on Fridays and Sundays. Call it any dumb name you fancy – infotainment, edutainment or whatever. They need a serious press that reports, informs, and investigates; they need a press that won’t just be popular but also effectual, hard-hitting, and result-oriented; they need a press that knows it’s not yet uhuru in a state bestridden by Obasanjo and his PDP.

Kogi Journalists Stripped – So What?

March 4, 2009

Does it really hurt that the Nigerian Union of Journalists is the only professional body that absorbs blundering journalists and mediocre writers? No, it doesn’t. Not even when its members are stripped or humiliated by government or individuals.
Let their headlines scream blue murder (as above). Nobody would
heed them – not even in Kogi – of all states in Nigeria – where a pack of state house correspondents were disgraced by a visiting banker 19th of February.
But …probably, the Human Rights Watch or some other number-
crunching groups might be interested just in the statistics – not in the calamity – of battered journalists under the nose of the rule-of-law-chanting Yar’ Adua in Nigeria.

For countless reasons, Nigerian journalists are out and away less than human beings. They’re cheap – dozens a penny – and unorganized. They’ve got no fat bank accounts like Reuben Abati’s, Osa Director’s, Bayo Onanuga’s – all top, Abuja-rich editors.
Bait them with brown envelopes, they’ll go to hell to cover anything – trivia like you shitting out your bowels, or pissing around your toilet, or your great grandson learning to call you daddy.
That’s a Nigerian journalist for you – beggarly, impoverished, frivolous, tame, and insecure.
That’s why Atiku – that hopeless turncoat – will slap the daylights out of them, and smash their grimy cameras. OBJ, too, will curse their grannies, and remind them of their unemployablity and grinding poverty.
Now tell me why a blinking CEO of one micro-finance bank wouldn’t crush their balls, in style, when he couldn’t find his Nokia phone after a press interview.

Ibrahim Idris was just trying to be too nice by allowing his savage yesmen to do the stripping. He could have done it better.
The banker also knows all that a typical Nigerian journalist has are ink and grammar – bad grammar mostly. Nothing to file a suit no matter how he, a cash machine, dehumanizes them. Even their toothless bulldog, the NUJ, can only bark in an angry headline and a couple of paragraphs forcing Idris to apologise only.

It’s high time these journalists knew that every idiot – politician, banker, jackboot, danfo-driver – is aware of their sorry status; that they’re incompetent, free-for-all, brown-envelope-driven, and disorganized.
And as such nobody respects and recognizes them as professional
persons or body that deserves much support when people bullshit them.

By the way,how much butt-kicking does the NUJ need to be as professional and respectable as the NBA, NMA? Or even as the NURTW?

Ruins of Nigerian Fourth Estate

March 2, 2009

That Nigeria is still this backward and unfocused in spite of her plethora of media organisations is worrisome.It is either Nigeria is irredeemable or her media is irresponsible – as the fourth estate of the realm.

If the Normatve Theory of the press – that the press takes on the coloration of its socio-political setting – is anything to reckon with, then Nigeria definitely has tarred or corrupted her press – has fated its performance to her retrogressive peculiarities. The realization of this theory in an authoritarian or communist state is an ill wind that blows nobody any good.

But Nigeria , at least, is a ghost of a democracy .She is free – like the J.J.Rosseau man – but everywhere in chains. Likewise her mushrooming, but mediocre press. So we expect the ugly normative theory to give way to something sexy – the Bullet Theory .
And that bullet theory, realizable even in a groggy democracy like Nigeria’s, holds that media influence could be pervasive and sweeping on society.
It’s, however, the contrary here.

Nigeria is unfocused; her leadership has a short attention span; and her press is distracted. So everybody is adrift.
This has been the perennial curse afflicting Nigeria since 1960.
So many issues of national and international implications have been raised and dumped over the ten chequered years of democratic experiment in Nigeria. And the buck lies with her rudderless leadership.
The press as well as every Nigerian knows that Obasanjo and Yar’ Adua have bitten more than they can chew.
Obasanjo took on the legion of problems facing Nigeria up till 1999.He made to solve the power problem, nuke down corruption, annihilate poverty, white-wash Nigeria’s unsightly image, tame the Dokubos and Atakes of the wild wild Niger Delta, deify himself in the PDP as the god of democracy, and ultimately attempt what only the gods can – run for the third term.
He did make some impact – like a rolling stone does. Telecommunication, with all its profiteering and environmental hazard, has come to stay. Nuhu Ribadu,that fall guy, kicked up a little dust – in the anti-corruption crusade – that settled down no sooner than Michael Aondoakaa and Mike Okiro were delegated to shield the monster in the hallowed sanctum of justice. History won’t forget Obasanjo trotted round the globe, cap in hand, begging the Paris club for debt relief – past debt that a couple of very important politicians in the PDP could pay – from their shares of the national booty – without batting an eyelid.
And for democracy, his brainchild, to survive, he installed Mr. Yar Adua in a do-or-die fashion.
Here is President Yar Adua – sickly, gelatinous, and apologetic. He summed up all the misfortune plaguing Nigeria in a seven-point(less) agenda, turned it to a melodious lullaby which he pipes out softly each time his frustrated countrymen bare their teeth.

Again, the press and Nigerians are watching. They all know Yar Adua takes his kidney more seriously than his seven-point agenda or whatever happens to the disgruntled lot in Nigeria .They know he is too fragile to tackle the daily routine in his office not to talk of accomplishing an agenda of such magnitude in a country like his. His co-workers know this, too, and are already maxing out their chances to hog the national cake, thus brutalizing Nigerians more and more.

What is expected of a pluralist and fairly free press like Nigeria’s – in a floundering situation like this – is to bring to bear its agenda-setting role. It is a golden moment for the press to show its stuff – that journalism is not all about land-grabbing, brown envelopes, junketing , or uneconomic vapourings of the unemployable, as Obasanjo once described it.
It is now the press is supposed to provide some sort of leadership as the fourth estate of the realm, since the other three are a wreck.
Unfortunately, the press has chosen not only to be decoyed ,at this crucial point, by Yar’ Adua’s inconsistencies ,but also to be rendered unreliable by its own short memory.

The agenda-setting role is not as easy as a pie, either .It comes as a result of sustained and exhaustive correlation of a number of predetermined issues irrespective of government’s action or inaction. It derives its nuts and bolts from the content of thorough investigative reporting .It is void of Afghanistianism – a brand of escapist journalism described by Prof. Chinyere. It is objective and incorruptible by the sleight of hands of the politicians.

But the Nigerian media has blundered woefully here.It lacks the persistence and concentration that characterized the masterly performance of the press leadership role in history. We still celebrate the Watergate scandal, its heroes – Carl Woodward and Bob Bernstein of The Washington Post – and its villains – Richard Nixon and co. Here was a story that was followed up by the two reporters for two years before the knot was unravelled. Lawyers, politicians, government staff were sucked in and indicted in the scandal – a replica of Bola Ige’s death, M.K.O Abiola’s death, the NEPA probe, the Harliburton mess, the PTF scandal, the rapacious rigging of the 2007 elections, hundreds of others.
We know the villains, too, but as it were in glass.Our media has been unable to unearth the facts ;it has not been dogged enough in in-depth reporting of any of these mysteries to a creditable conclusion. Time does not tell here ; it kills fast.

Reporting – the mainstay of serious journalism – is wanting in Nigeria. Print pages and airtime have been bought up by big businesses, politicians, and sponsors of reality shows ,soap operas, and other distractions. Yellow journalism, with its galleries of loud pictures of vainglorious looters and despoilers, has arm-twisted the media, and wrenched off the leadership mandate. Journalism is now the occupation of lazy editors, mediocre reporters, bad spellers, and pedestrian writers.
Things are this horrible.
It cannot be worse than this, though. Now that the media – the fourth institution of government, the watchdog – is incapable of focused leadership, Nigerians will help themselves.
They will find other potent means – Alternative Journalism – to articulate their yearnings. It is already happening. Traditional Journalism is having it tough across the world as people are turning away from its hypocrisy and inconsistencies. Nigeria will be no exception. It is a matter of time.

Reuben Abati’s Unpardonable Gaffe

February 15, 2009

To blunder is human – natural. Is it so for super-human writers like Dr. Reuben Abati of the Nigerian Guardian?

About two months after Sahara Reporters blew the gaff on land
allocation in Abuja,Abati still hasn’t owned up his overt sin – his snobbish silence where his integrity is publicly challenged. He has chosen to do what Jesus did before Pilate – keep an all-knowing calm punctuated with ‘Thou sayest’.
So Abati is a god. If you see him in flesh and blood, then he’s a pontiff – unquestionable and infallible.
And to all the internet warriors and blogmaniacs badgering him to talk, go hang yourselves because Abati won’t talk.

I’m afraid Abati might self-destruct if he carried on this pig-headedness .
Check out his writings on Fridays and Sundays ever since this Abatigate broke out. You’ll observe his creative juices have gone sour. His writings are pedestrian, incoherent,and boring.

Sometimes he’s gratuitously amorous (as read in Queen Okoye: Raped by Policemen), or voyeurish in some others.
OK.I learnt he used to churn out obscenity for The Hints before
he crossed over to The Guardian. Now his erotic muse makes him snoop around god-forsaken places to gather materials for his columns. The wit, the punch, the humour that used to sell his writing to his readers are gone.

That’s what blunders can do to a genius.

What everybody – his fan, his fanatic, his foe – wants is some
explanation to clear the air. Not this barren humour or escapist journalism. Except he comes down to our level – the mere mortal level – to explain his part in the Modibbo land generosity, the angel of creativity won’t come back to his study. I swear!

And if Abati – the live wire of The Guardian – begins to rust , then the end might be pretty near.
Maybe we’d hope Alex Ibru – who’s solely interested in where his bread is buttered – would kick his groin and make him talk very soon. Or better still he’ll give him the axe.

Dora Akuyili and her PR Gymnastics

February 10, 2009

P.R. Blunders
Auntie Dora feels positive thinking could be swapped for good public relations. Why, good p.r is way different from alchemistry or metaphysics.
It’s hopeless trying to make Nigerians feel good in darkness, hunger, poverty , insecurity, inequalities , joblessness and leadership blunders. No matter how many times we dust or kiss the national flag.

She won’t understand this, though . It will take her years of blundering , fumbling, and formal studies in the art of public relations – the Ivy Lee type – before she can function professionally as an image launderer.

Dicky Heart Of Africa
About the slogan, the Heart of Africa is sick. So good riddance! I suggest: the KIDNEY OF YAR’ ADUA. The logo should be a skeleton crumbling under the map of Abuja.Home-grown ,Isn’t it?
So we see how PRO(F) Akunyili will make Nigerians feel this mere geographical contraption is an El Dora do .

Bad Image is Bad Image
The first thing Madam should have done is come to grips with the bloody reality that her boss inherited a poison chalice – bad news, really – and should have, as an awesome p.r. woman she might never be, joined The Sun News and other alarmist
newspapers to scream it in the ears of the sickly president. That what? That Nigeria’s sick. That the situation’s terrible. That Nigerian can never have it worse.

Oh, Auntie Dora of short memory. She’s forgotten, so fast – now that she wines and dines with Yardie – how she used to shed tears – hot tears – for Nigerians in her NAFDAC days. She knew the terrible ways of Nigerians then. She knew how drugs affect women , children , politics, and economy. She knows now nothing
has changed till now except her portfolio – that she was made a
minister of a completely unfamiliar terrain – a propagandist – to sell a confused government to Nigerians and the CNN audience across the ponds.

Certainly, some automatons called Nigerians will tell us all is well.The likes of Daniel Kanu and other bearded zombies.
Remember “Youth Earnestly Asked for Abacha”?

On the whole, one thing is sure : calamity is the best teacher. Gambits like this, in the past, have taught Nigerians,the few real Nigerians, to ignore the charismatic gymnastics of
daydreamers like Madam Akuyili. Nigeria is only sellable when Nigerians are happy.
You can be sure not many serious-minded,breadwinning Nigerians
will find time to participate in the childish logo competition.Doesn’t she know the way of the Power Holding and the internet providers outside Abuja?

Between Face and Grammar

February 4, 2009

Still wondering there are certain grammatical blunders Naija media can’t help committing.
The airwaves are permanently clogged with those silly expressions cockily rapped by 80% of Nigerian broadcast journalists.
One of the most common is : …between you and I.
It hit me square in the jaw when Jumoke Alao of the AIT gracefully spewed out ‘ … the issues in Nollywood that affect you and I ‘ during ESCOOP,8.30am,last Monday.
It was an Africa-wide blunder.

Matter-of-factly, Jumoke is cute.She ranks well in the bevy of well stacked ladies that adorn the DAAR Communications screen. She’s got all the theatrics and seductive body language – great hips, come-hither looks, good skin, bulbs, and all – choreographed to distract the less critical viewers.
But that slip – that bad slip -rubbished her.
Your gut wrenches when a chic journalist like that spits out horrible grammar like she did.

Gone were the days when good journalism was all about creativity and flawless English.
What now qualify you as a female broadcast journalist are your looks, curves, arcs, and whatever coquettish eye contact you can make.
Speak English worse than Man Friday’s – no problem.

I know there are good broadcasters in the AIT :Williams Williams, Uche Unongo, Okechukwu Eze, Kunle Joe ,and a handful of others. See if you can compare these guys with that bumbling Kenny Ogungbe who hides his ugly grammar behind his charisma .He’s no longer in AIT,anyway.

These shameful grammatical slips not only deride the Nigerian media, they also expose the professional rust of the journalists.
It’s a lot easier to hypnotise the viewers with their cleavages – a psychological noise – so nobody hears their blunders.

Breezing through parts of speech and other rudiments of English on a weekend is no sacrifice too big for Jumoke and co. to make. It refreshes their knowledge of conjunctions and cases, and saves them this grammatical suicide. It could save her pretty face, too,from blushes that go with somersaulting into the airwaves.
It’s no picnic trying to strut or bluff your way out of such wreckage,you know.
Even your dumb mike feels the embarrassment, too.

I’d hope that DAARSAT isn’t blasting all this trash across the globe.

Guardian of Idle Editors

January 30, 2009

Cover Story,The Guardian,January 27,2009.pg1&2.
I’m not going to prey on those four reporters sharing the byline, and their professional blunders. I hope by and by they’ll learn to write English, and make out the difference between ‘belief’ and ‘believe’, ‘shut’ and ‘shut down’.

However, every hawk-eyed and informed reader in Nigeria must have observed the predominant lazy journalism The Guardian practises nowadays.

First off, the story is sick and inadequate. It suggests the editorial board is either lazing away in some cocktail party or meddling in another labour union wrangling – as The Guardian is prone to. Or how on earth would Reuben Abati and Jewell Dafinone have chosen what no longer matters – oil prices – to Nigerian as a cover story?

Besides, the story – four snippets of about 2000 words, strewn over two pages – is full of repetitions and say-nothing attributions. Each of those reporters just slapped up some quick-fire interviews, and wired them straight to Rutam House.

Ignoring all the defects – dangling modifiers, abuse of proper nouns as in ” government” or “the government, inadequacies, bad spelling, repetition – the story isn’t topical. It could have been better as a brief or feeler – not as a cover story with that screaming headline.

Here’s the calamity .The Guardian, known to be hotbed of serious journalism, has degenerated into a nest of bread-and-butter journalists trying to sell us stale, shallow stories. Well .Their editors – those idle, rump-fed gatekeepers – call those stories news, and cockily expect you’d be salivating to consume the stale servings of their door-knob cold news.

Things have changed, and it’s unfortunate The Guardian refuses to admit this.
Informed Nigerians know where to get news – fresh, topical, authentic; they know and determine what’s news. They’re now the gatekeepers through selective exposure and selective perception.

Never again will a guild of lazy, selfish, pliable editors distract or misinform Nigerians.

Akuyili Needs Brighter Grammar Series

January 21, 2009

Nigerians should begin to hang their heads in shame now as their minister of info. and communication blunders in simple grammar.
You had to be at George Akume’s birthday in Benue state,last week, when she spurted this nonsense:I congratulate you(Akume)for building….
This blunder could have been pardonable in her bedroom, or in an exco meeting with Yar’ Adua, but not before the wall of cameramen and journalists covering the event.
It’s even treasonable for a supposed professional communicator that’s expected to care more for niceties of grammar in public to have made such a dumb mistake.
Obasanjo’s Bell Nursery kids would effortlessly fix this grammatical breach committed by a professor, you know.

Professionalism vs track records
I hate track records,hell knows.
And that’s a pinch of the whole lot of shit with which misplaced track records will smear Nigeria’s ministry of info. and communication.
Boy, how would you compare Frank Nweke – that young,saucy, mischievous apologist of Obasanjo’s – and Ofonagoro,and Chukwumerije – those bad old boys of the khaki regimes – with this pretty madam dressed in a borrowed robe?
Nweke,for instance ,had no track record as a minister. But he had an Advanced Learner Dictionary and something like S.M.O. Aka which he found time to study in spite of his busy schedule.You know he made a smoothing-talking squealer that the BBC respected then.

My fear for Akuyili is: she pretends to be unaware of what over-reaching her ego – in that strange office -could do to her and Nigeria.
Truly, NAFDAC, her former portfolio ,was up her alley because she’s a natural and conscientious narcotic hound. Plus her academic and professional qualification .She was able to do a terrific job sniffing out those drug barons in Aba, Onitsha ,Alaba ,and wherever.And the whole world appreciated that.
But information and communication is a blind alley for her.
She lacks the professional grooming and the perfectionist temperament of a good grammarian that makes a great communicator.

Don’t cringe when you hear her on the BBC and VOA congratulate the nigger in the White House for his success.

DAAR Boss Blunders,too

January 16, 2009

Read anything about the recent maximum blunders of the DAAR Communications boss and his squarest minister of information – Prof.(Pharm.)Akuyili? It’s in the Nigerian Guardian of January 12, 2009.
Can’t Funke Fadugba or some geezer in the NUJ tell these clowns that their scratch-my-back-and-I’ll-scratch -yours tactic isn’t funny?

Truly, I ain’t expecting anything better than that: the shameless pandering of a highly respected professional misfit that Akuyili is by an equally dovish media emperor.

Square Akuyili
I wish Akuyili would go over Dokpesi’s backhand compliments again – the squarest peg for the square hole – and understand that those sycophantic visitors – journalists and their bosses – have their scruples about her competence as information minister. They just can’t scream it in her ears – that she’s square – like those Trojans on the Senate Committee on information and communication did last week when Akuyili was defending her slipshod budget.
And what about the budget? It’s full of generator expenses, renovations, repairs and other silly items. She was careful enough to avoid the Etteh style anyway. Akuyili isn’t even thinking about the FOI bill. What the heck does a narc expert know about FOI? She’s got no 3-or 2- point agenda – like Yardie’s – to make Nigerians take her seriously.

Unprofessional Lying
Worse still, she doesn’t know how to manipulate history to curry favour for her past and present bosses. How would she have made Nigerians swallow that lie – that Obasanjo and his Yaro have been drooling like a rapist over the sexy performance of AIT? Wow!
The DAAR entourage chose to be gulled here. None of them could remember the hunting of Gbenga Aruleba and the fire that gutted AIT Abuja.
Good for them.

Well, she is getting the hang – lying through her teeth, unprofessionally.
That’s Dokpesi’s squarest peg – the best town crier, the one and only government misinformation agent Nigeria can’t afford to lose.
Hope some voyeurs are watching the blind romance between Yardie’s government ineptitude, and the capitalist greed of media moneybags ,like Dokpesi, in Nigeria, as it plays out in this information ministry mal-appointment.

Blunders have Payday

January 12, 2009

Failures are the horrible effects of blunders – professional or ethical – accumulated over times. As financial crises ripple across presses in America so every nation whose press follows that failure pattern will necessary come to grief.The Nigerian press is no exception.
It’s no news again that the American Tribune and other big -time American newspapers are declaring bankruptcy and folding up. ABC and other broadcast stations are also downsizing unprecedentedly. The
surviving ones are pinning their hopes on Obama – maybe his government might interest Americans and change their perceptions of the media. Americans – just as Nigerians –are tired of the press, its poor performance of the information role.
Simply put, these media houses would survive if the Obama government changed journalism in America. What a shame.

Online Journalism
However, there is a thriving brand of journalism that takes the biscuit now.Its growing in leaps and bounds. It’s credible and full of human interests. No gatekeeping. No censoring. No praise singing. It’s blogging – citizen journalism – online
journalism. It’s everywhere, even in the most repressive China, Kenya, Egypt and Algeria.
The tide is gradually changing, too, in Nigeria, especially as more people become cyber-savvy. More than 8 million people now use the internet in Nigeria. The well informed ones go online to select – free of charge – the information they need.
Nigerians are tired of paying N150 to read obituaries, adverts placed by hopeless employment agencies, dead-dry news, sponsored columns, wired news with no local angles.
There’s no reporting again in the Nigerian press.Everybody is a columnist or writer.And when reporting, five reporters – shallow reporters – cluster round a dog-bites-man story of five paragraphs,using shoddy tie-backs to add boringdetails to the story.Samsung, Sound City, Kenny Music and reality shows have taken over the broadcast stations too.
Stories of corruption, government profligate spending,and bad governance go unreported -sometimes reported superficially.
Investigative reporting is dead. The editors cram the pages or screen with trivia.
This is the failure pattern. It’s graphically manifest.

But thanks to citizen journalism. It offers us what traditional journalism cannot – for fear or favour.
Where else can one get the kind of scoop SaharaReporters dishes out daily? What about its investigative style? And the caliber of its columnists? And yet its free.
Already, there are many others competing with the online versions of the newspapers and magazines in Nigeria.
Let’s see in half a decade from now. Some newspapers and mags will die naturally. Readers will go online, and choose what they read.They can also contribute in whatever form they like. Then the Nigerian Guild of Editors,the Nigerian Union of Journalists will be jobless as their profit-conscious media owners go belly-up.


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