Posts Tagged ‘Nigeria’

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.

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.

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.

Naija Media Also Corruptible

January 8, 2009

SaharaReporters recently dropped a bombshell by unveiling the dying minutes’ atrocities of the former FCT minister, that blubbering Modibbo, and the complicity of some top-notch editors and journalists – Reuben Abati of The Guardian, Bayo Onanuga of The News, Osa Director of The Insider, and Obi Comfort of The Source – in land issues.

Nigerian Journalists’ Upward Mobility
First off, I can’t just fancy Nigerian journalists are so filthy rich they can keep up with the Joneses – or the Waziris – in an expensive territory like Abuja. Maybe I should be happy
for them – that the generalization theory (book stuff) – that journalists carry around their poverty mentality –is getting obscure. So a bleeding journalist in Nigeria can fork out N150m for a parcel of land in Abuja. Halleluyah!

Very well. That might be pretty justifiable for Bayo Onanuga and Osa Director. You remember those two guerrilla journalists had more than they bargained for under the demon called Abacha.
But who and where was Reuben Abati then?
OK.Enough of digression.

Naija Journalists’ Shallow Integrity
The poser here is: How ethical is it for Abati and Onanuga to have been enmeshed ,to the remotest extent, with a rotten public servant like Modibbo?
Is the role conflict as watchdogs and expectant first- class landlords in Abuja so fierce that this group of government critics couldn’t but connive at a shady deal, this once, and swallow the Modibbo carrot? Too bad!
This is nothing more or less than a tacit compromise. Modibbo and all Nigerians know it.
It smacks of indiscipline, opportunism, and inconsistency.It exposes the jelly integrity of Abati and other so called adversary journalists whenconfronted with kickbacks and other corrupting gratifications.
Their beastly greed wouldn’t even allow them to take hints from the incorruptible mien of Gani and Kongi who practised what they preach when they spurned Yar’ Adua’s hush honours.

Every reader of The Nigerian Guardian editorials knows Abati is witty, loud and mischievously clairvoyant – or foresighted ,if you like. So Abati knew what Modibbo was on about when he
tearfully flogged them with those plots on his way out of office. He also knew Modibbo would do his damnedest to cover his track – by hushing the opportunistic press represented by these land-grabbing journalists, and taming the emasculated EFCC headed by that puppet. They all fell for the gambit, noiselessly.

Yet a recent survey shows the Nigerian masses entrust the success of the anti-corruption campaign to the Nigerian media only. But the trust now rusts as the media and their owners now seek favours indirectly from corrupt politicians.
What do you make of the James Ibori Studio in DAARSAT?
OK.Listen on.

Naija Columnists Manque

December 30, 2008

I read through some ‘TimesofNigeria.com’ today. The writer was
reviewing a number of political columns , the writers and their
blunders – ideological and academic.
The guy was so unsparing in his spankings that I actually felt
he went overboard in the critical review.
I guess I like that, anyhow.

The highest point of his belly-ache with the Nigerian media is
the ego-trip and mediocrity of the likes of Dele Momodu of
Ovation diving headfirst into political pontification.
Dele, an ambitious Yoruba Language graduate from Obafemi
Awolowo University, Ife, accidentally found fame and fortune,
in yellow journalism and publicity.
But how much of a political punditry can we expect from a
circumstantial journalist, a wining and dining one like him?

From time immemorial, I’ve never reckoned with Dele Momodu,
in particular, as a professional journalist. Or his gold- plated
broadsheet as a serious journal. So I can’t figure out whatever
political theories or divide he belongs let alone writes for as
intelligibly as expected of a political journalist.

Francis,the reviewer, should have realized that Nigeria’s political journalists are
products of an unfocused , inconsistent nation. You should
expect such political blunders and ideological daydreaming
from the columnists manque you just reviewed.

And these blunders,if you ask me,will grow worse,and the unprofessionalism will eat deeper into the nigerian media till his kingdom come except Nigeria and her
aging think-tanks are able to stand for something – something
definite – something every Nigerian can sympathise with,
and clutch at tenaciously.
It might not necessarily be the hip thing. It could be stupid,
but let it be methodic.

NUJ Licks Dora’s Arse

December 26, 2008

NUJ Licks Dora’s Arse
The Guardian of Dec. 23,2008 cited the general
secretary – if there’s any sensible title like that – of
the Nigerian Union of Journalists worshipping Dora
Akuyili, the new information zombie,a square peg,
Mr Yar’ Adua just crammed into the round hole of
information and communication ministry.
Holy shit! See what payola has done to the psyche
0f the Nigerian media.

This is a country heaving with gazillions of veteran
journalists and communication experts who have
risked their lives and lost their limbs while informing
this gaddem Nigeria.They’re more experienced and
brainier ,as information and communication goes,than
the drug-baron huntress imposed on the country.
And yet, the NUJ’s Usman Leman was the first goon,
with his retinue of sycophants,to sing the praises of the
complete gatecrasher of a minister.

Why wouldn’t the NUJ reason like the Nigerian Medical
Association that preferred Oshotimehin, a medic, in
health ministry,to Akuyili, a drug mixer and dispenser
with millions of international awards?
Would the ICAN have grinned and borne it if Leman or
that NAN’s topdog, Remi Oyo,had been installed as
finance minister?

It beats me that uptill now,no writer or columnist or
political broadcaster, has put up the mis-appointment
of Akuyili for discussion.Not even the AIT lion,Gbenga
Aruleba.
It’s a shame.
They‘d rather file down to Akuyili’s house like dummies
to worship her,the veteran minister.

The whole world knows Nigeria inherited a sickly
president [ from the PDP ] that needs more rest and
much less work. He might either be snoring in bed or
recovering from one of his kidney crises when his
partisan advisers insisted Akuyili must still be relevant
after about a decade in government .They know the
NUJ is poverty-ridden, and its members will joyfully
swallow any shit if she dangles a brown envelope, or
tames the likes of Leman with a menial job like PA
or PS.

That’s it. The scramble begins.
The NUJ has bartered its professional integrity.

Naija Sun Blunders

December 23, 2008

I’m going through The Sun Newspaper of Dec. 20,2008.
On the front page is a bad news story.And every idiot in Nigeria
knows that for The Sun, good news is no news.So the writer,Henry
Umahi,or his sub-editor,entitled the story ‘Deadly fury.Robbers kill
8….He then played up the story,making it more unearthly than an
armed robbery incident.

Ugly enough,the over- the- top story expired ten days before.It was
fresher then,and would have been perfect for a news story, not a
dry feature gilded with unnecessary adjectives.

I still wonder where The Sun belongs.A newspaper or a magazine.
You can see its contents are largely features and opinions,narrow
ones.
A newspaper is supposed to give timely accounts of events as
Objectively as possible. The accounts shouldn’t be flamboyant,
wordy,or prosy.Just straight and simple. But here’s the Nigerian
Sun reporting an event that expired weeks back like a scoop.
Would this have been their sub’s oversight or unprofessionalism?
Or was Dec .10,2008, one of those dry days when editors publish
stale news and freshen up decaying one as features?

You almost can tell, with your eyes closed, the body of the story
from its sensational headline.It must inevitably contain:’AK47’;
‘storm the place’;’pump hot leads’; ‘sophisticated weapons’;
’people are feared dead’;and a lexicon of other hackneyed expressions.

One more reason the sub and the writer ought to be jailed for not
murdering the story is its incoherence.
The fourth paragraph states: “Ugwu’s abdomen was pumped with
bullets”.More like the barrel was pointed at Ugwu’s belly,and the
trigger was pulled. And the guy isn’t a goner yet? Only Nigerians
believe shit like this.

And the last paragraph:’He revealed that he was expecting a
report from the DPO….’ Nothing would have been secret about
expecting a police report. Again, for about two weeks he was still
expecting the bloody report. Who was lazy?The Nigerian police
or Henry that wouldn’t follow up on that story.

Let’s overlook the grammatical blunders and Henry’s poor spellings
that stare at us: ‘shooting free’(parag 2); ’ …the only bank… were
persuaded’

May we know what Doyen Mike Awoyinfa thinks about this?