When The Media Realign Against “Bad” Governance

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By Agbonsuremi Augustine Okhiria

Now we are driving fast backwards to the days when it appeared all the newsrooms were one, and the Editorial boards were in one location.

Major Newspapers in Nigeria in the last few days have turned their editorial pages to chroniclers of what they see as the evils inherent in government actions and inactions in Nigeria.

I joined The Guardian Newspapers in the mid 80s when the military government had the entire media to contend with.

When I close my eyes and open them now, it appears we are getting back to those days of the competition for the most critical reporting or editorial commentary on the situation with governance in Nigeria. By that time, the electronic media were publicly run.

Now, with over 500 radio and TV independent current affairs programs running simultaneously across Nigeria daily and with huge followers and real time participation, it appears we are in for a larger size of the media doze in the fight against “bad” governance.

I must quickly warm that from the hindsight of history, no government can afford the backlash of any attempt to run parallel, against the media tide of this nature.

How do we classify it really?

Is the current media a friend of the people as they were then, or a tool in the grip of some political gladiators to swing their telltale of frustration in the battle to level up with Major Gen. Buhari ( as The Punch would want us to address the President)?

Is the Buhari Administration not really turning a REGIME, with the attendant media invitation to query actions in line with the constitutional mandate, a mandate to hold government accountable to the people?

Can all the Newspapers, radio and TV stations be in the grip of bad politicians to fight their battles?

Which media practitioners or organizations wort its existence will wait and watch events the way they are being chronicled now and will not make attempt to direct the way forward?

Journalism being one of the most noble of professions remains the hope of the common man in the fight against authoritarianism, nepotism, corruption and greed among the political class.
No other professional group has the better tool for this battle.

The civil society space is shrinking and the pointers from notable Non Governmental Organizations in the country also suggest a relapse from democratic ethos by the Buhari Civilian Administration.

The debate is both dirty and consistently confusing in many parts.
There seem to be a taciturn president who is feared not to be in charge of governance.

Even voices from key family members such as that of the wife of the president lends credence to the fears that the affairs of Nigeria are in the hands of a clique, almost all of whom were not elected by the people.

With the judiciary licking her wounds from disobedience of orders and invasion by security agents, little hope remains that this government will not box citizens underground.

Let all decent voices rise peacefully against a return to brutality and bad behavior in government.

And let those in authorities take the gear towards rational and responsible leadership, away from this build up to our collective failures and national dormancy in the cage age.
Nigeria can’t afford to waste time in the face of the world great leap towards civility and technology guaranteed only in a space peopled and led by civilized leaders.

Agbonsuremi Augustine Okhiria is Executive Director, Progressive Impact Organization for Community Development, (PRIMORG).


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