While the shocking but not so shocking revelations from recent interviews conducted by a Nigerian Media Merit award winning, Best TV station of the year for the thirteenth time running has been labelled ‘anti-government’ by the country’s government, one cannot but wonder. Really? Since when have questions and discussions about abductions, destruction of properties and livelihoods, the ruin of certain sub-national entities that have made many homeless, become “anti-government”? Since when have discussions aimed at proposing a solution to persistent mindless killings and un-ending loss of lives. The resulting situation of parents burying their children who otherwise could have become great leaders of tomorrow, as we say and sing. By ‘unknown gunmen’ alleged to be sponsored by the nation’s leaders, become anti-government? Ironic twist as government leaders become ‘anti-government’. Or if I may re-pose the question, are key officers and leaders in ‘the business of governance’, now the government’s Achilles heels or its nemesis?
Gagging the media and citizens: the right response?
How did we end up here? How did things get so bad that the murderers of the people of a country are those who are elected to govern the people? Or maybe it would make more sense to say people who forced themselves on the people, are the ones who predictably work to ruin the country. Rather than hide their faces in shame, the story in public space suggests the government have instead chosen to wield the ‘big stick’: sanction the TV stations and arrest the presenters who anchored the programmes. Dancing nude to the drumbeats of Nigeria Government, the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), the statutory puppeteers in this charade, has requested for a particular ‘guilty’ Nigerian TV station to explain why appropriate sanctions should not be applied against it for conjured infractions against the NBC code. And what codes are these? Codes of justice, fairness, and equity? Or codes adopted to intimidate, repress, and undermine freedom of speech. This should come as no surprise from a government that has always done everything it can to suppress the freedom of its citizens. A government that has constantly taken decisions that continually pummel its citizens to a pulp. It is too early to forget. How the well-coordinated “soro-soke” of October 2020 against injustice, impunity, decay, terrorism, corruption, and the increasingly failing and worsening state of Nigerian institutions went sour or awry. Many households and individuals may never recover from the gory nightmare of the mass slaughtering of young people. Or is it the recent thoughtless Twitter ban on June 2021 among many other attempts by the ruling cabal in Nigeria from time immemorial.
When indicted, what should be the line of action?
In the interest of comprehension, we ask again: what should be the line of action when a government is accused of wrongdoing by the people who elected it? The angst of a people who just want a better life, who want to flourish and live-in peace in their homeland? Without sleeping with eyes wide open, or having to watch over their shoulders every now and again? Shall we continue to soak the Nigerian soil with the blood of the innocent for selfish intentions? ‘Esan a ke o’. Actions as this against the country’s citizens as we have witnessed in recent times, against media houses, interviewers, and interviewees, only give credence and legitimacy to the narratives in the public space. It may be clearly expressed that it is the government, through its actions that is implicitly fanning the embers of divisiveness, hate and suspicion in the land.
When I feel the problems so overwhelming and I run out of words to express myself, I take the solace in the frustration of Mom P, “THERE IS GOD O….”