Media plays an important role in the society. When media is not allowed to play its role, the society is in major mess or doomed. Within the media itself, there are issues which call for a lot of questioning especially in Nigeria where poverty stares us all in the face. The issues of fund management, bad leadership and other forms of mismanagement no one can query just because the company is owned by individual with personal perspective and lineages. There is also issue of objectivity, brown envelope. But no matter what the challenges are, Nigeria media must act fast and be ready to discharge its duties towards making Nigeria a great nation to be.
Democracy and development of Nigeria estate must be considered a major project that deserves better commitment from this fourth estate of the realm. If Nigerians’ hope in the media is shattered it will be difficult to redeem. Nigeria media of yore had been known for its resilient, objectivity as well as steadfastness. Nigeria media had stood the test of time as is t had gone through the furnace during the Military junta.
Many were killed, maimed or had to practice like a gorilla in order to inform and raise constructive dialogue which helped the entire citizenry to wake up to the reality. While we cannot say the media in Nigeria today is compromised, it is not out of place to say there are still wonderful opportunities which open the door to a better way to serve and position the country positively at the global front.
The challenge of nascent democracy as we have in Nigeria are numerous. There is the issue of high level illiteracy among the citizens. Illiteracy here is not only about academic or paper qualification. There are people who had gone to school but did not know what their civil responsibilities, accountability to the state and towards other members of the society are. There are many who are blinded by ethnic,reasons and colouration with no iota of what good citizen stand for. There are others who are stack illiterate when it comes to what being global citizenship demands among many other burning issues.
Nigeria media keeps losing vibrant members of its cacus into the hands of the government whose aim is to capture and tame their eloquent and great voices. Many, whom the citizens used to look up to few decades ago had become mouthpiece of the government. While in the other clime, some of these vibrant members are happy being what they are. For instance a celebrated medical doctor who has a prominent programme in one of the international media outlets was rumoured to have be given a juicy position in the first term of President Barrack Obama regime but declined so he could focused on his trade.
We do know, it takes a lot of gut to refuse such offers here because of level of poverty and strong emphasis our society places on wealth. Our society pushes people to go out for the means as that is the only way to get recognition and to leave the ‘wretched of the earth plane’ where life is actually difficult and ‘uneventful’ as some had termed it. The obvious is that prior to this new appointment they were all doing relatively well financially.
Each day, we read different colouration of the news based on each house’ lineage, philosophy and outlook. As citizen today, we take every details of the ‘truth’ presented to us with a pinch of salt. The degree is dependent on the medium. For those who take the critical point of view, which we may consider objective sometimes, as audience we are skeptical if the final aim is not to get the attention of the power that be in order to get a few settlement here and there. Whatever happens we still have the few like Sam Amuka, Bimbo Oloyede, Jose Usen, Femi Adeshina, Femi Sowoolu, Lekan Otufundurin, Toyosi Ogunseye, Tolu Ogunlesi among several others who had inspired hope in us for their doggedness, commitment, fairness, equity etc.These names may not be saints, Angels, but they stood out as exemplary leaders citizen can trust. The obvious fact is that they may not make the kind of money their colleagues are making but it is obvious they can go home everyday with a clean conscience of representing a calling. For Nigeria media to succeeds in its trade, industry players must learn what Prof Pat Utomi called ‘self mastery’. To conquer self is to learn to say NO when needs be.
Everyone has a chance to corrupt himself but having an unshaking value based on solid resolve will go a long way. It is obvious we cannot allow so called ‘never do well’ to run the affairs of our darling nation, we need to get involved, but what is clear is that when hand shakes start going beyond the elbow, we must learn to draw the line. Nigeria journalists and Nigerians at large have the ‘opt out’ option to return to where your voice can be heard loudly and respectfully. If Nigeria media must become the voice of the voiceless and make Nigeria great, here are some of the things we think demand immediate action.
Accountability: this has to do with personal and corporate outlook. We need to view our actions from this point of view. The question then is will I be able to go and sleep with good conscience as well as ask people below me to follow the trend I had followed to attain the kind of success I have achieved. Will I be able to stand before people who see me as role model from yester years and declare I have lived to the truth I used to preach? True we need not live our lives for people only, that will be great if we can, but consistency to purpose and personal value will go a long way.
information: information is central to engagement. We can chose to say what people want to hear or say what the position we hold requires us to say. But the bottom line is will this information stands the test of time in twenty years’ time? Media has the role of disseminating right information. Before we go public, have we taken time to check the accuracy of the information from the objective point of view or just a will to play to the gallery?
Dialogue building: Media must build dialogue, be engaged in constructive criticism that leads to a better society and not just a pursuit of personal and parochial interest. How are we doing here is a Food for thought. How is the Nigeria media helping the citizen to learn? Are they helping the citizen to know the right thing, learning to do, learning to live together and learning to be the right citizen?