Buhari Should Leave The Media Alone And Concentrate On Problems

If Nigerians Have Any Advice For President Buhari, It Is To Leave The Media Alone And Concentrate On Problems

The pains of Nigerians in many ways are principally due to poor governance, but the Buhari administration cannot be completely blamed alone, and the media itself, although it has its struggles with some shady and unprincipled ways, is needed in society as it helps to normalize the government, especially in times like this in Nigeria.

Let’s face it; the abnormal and confused ways of the Buhari regime, which are mixed with toxic religious, sickly ethnic, and irregular institutional practices, make administering the nation difficult.

The press, or the media, especially those with an appetite for truth and boldness in an up and down way, have been the target of the president’s extraordinary fury.

The presidential men and women, especially the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, are sometimes seen to be dripping with anger and threats, especially to the media. Nigerians do not want to get to that stage when they begin to see President Muhammadu Buhari or Mohammed like former U.S president Donald Trump, with his type of thinking that the media are the “enemy of the people.”

Buhari every so often feels embarrassed and humiliated, and the likes of Mohammed would like some media outlets to keep their mouths shut sometimes. At all times, the media must aim to be free enough to provide penetrating and investigative reports even if the government screams and gets bitter over it.

Whether the Buhari regime likes it or not, the government is supposed to be accountable to the people through the media, so threatening to deal with the media is telling the Nigerian public to expect punishment for asking the government, locally and nationally, to do right.

The media needs to be valued as they are there to do the listening and ask for good governance and government accountability.

The world and Nigerians watched as they heard Mohammed vow to punish the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and Nigerian Daily Trust over what it described as the improper airing of different documentaries that overvalued terrorism and could fuel terrorism in Nigeria. What a nefarious and dangerous statement against democracy from Mohammed.

The Buhari regime is upset about the documentary by the BBC, Africa Eye, where interviews were granted to bandit warlords and terror gangs, thereby promoting terror in the country.

I sometimes wonder why Nigeria acts as a place of governmental extremism from one regime with aberrated, atypical, and peculiar leadership styles.

Mohammed, however, noted that the industry regulator, the Nigeria Broadcasting Commission, will take appropriate action and ridicule the BBC for not upholding the same standards and tenets as they would have done in the UK, and condemned the action of the Daily Trust for performing below expectations.

Mohammed said, “They are looking at which part of the Broadcasting Code has been violated by both the BBC and the Daily Trust and I can assure you that there will be consequences.’’

A Nigerian Islamic scholar, Sheik Ahmad Gumi, reminded the Buhari regime that it is offensive for the Federal Government to threaten to sanction media outlets for their coverage of the lingering insecurity in the country.

It is unprecedented that in this age of global democracy, the Buhari regime, the current pilot of the Nigerian government, will not know the benefit of journalists who, in their risky interviews with terror groups, can come up with a trail of potential evidence and warnings from terrorists that will help the government prepare better and stay alert.

Here is a little history. ABC reporter John Miller recounts his May 1998 hour-long interview with Osama Bin Laden at his mountaintop camp in southern Afghanistan. An interview with the “Nightline” host Ted Koppel recounts his May 1998 hour-long interview with Osama Bin Laden. This interview was shown on “Nightline” by host Ted Koppel during a TV broadcast to millions of Americans.

Robert Fisk is the first British and western journalist to interview Osama bin Laden. Fisk told bin Laden in one of his interviews, “I am a journalist [whose] task is to tell the truth.”

The Buhari regime must learn as Fisk said that journalism must “challenge authority, all authority, especially so when governments and politicians take us to war”… Journalism is really about monitoring power and the centers of power.”

The Buhari regime must ensure a journalist is supposedly deemed to be generally non-aligned and take nobody’s side. He or she must not take sides with the government but the people through fearless, engaging, and candid exposures of the high and mighty. The government must be right with the truth with the people.

The Buhari government should know by now that censorship will always backfire because it is a violation of the right to free expression. No matter what the Buhari regime sees as morality in a secular society, any systemic forms of information control will not only backfire but provoke outrage and anger at any form of censorship.

Instead of attempting to control and terrify the media, the Buhari regime should address increasing poverty, infrastructure shortages, and climate change, and stop taking an authoritarian and antidemocratic stance on the media. Buhari is, to an extent, blaming the media for these ongoing failings as the bearer of bad news. Here are some puzzles: is it the media that attacked the Kuje Correctional Centre in Abuja and released 100s of inmates, including Boko Haram suspects; is it the media that threatened to kidnap President Muhammadu Buhari, is it the media that attacked and killed soldiers from the elite Guards Brigade guarding Abuja, the presidential seat of government; or is it the media that caused Nigeria’s Kaduna train attack? Did the media cause gunmen to attack the presidential advance team to Katsina before the last Sallah holidays? It is the media that made a cross section of senators call for Buhari to face impeachment, as they staged a walkout protest, singing “Buhari must go”.

Did the media cause gunmen to attack the presidential advance team to Katsina before the last Sallah holidays? It is the media that made a cross section of senators call for Buhari to face impeachment, as they staged a walkout protest, singing “Buhari must go”.

Is it the media that causes terrorists to roam freely in the north-west, maiming and killing, causing criminal herders and kidnappers to continue to kill the police and Nigerians? Nowhere in Nigeria has the media advised Buhari to aggressively fan the flames of ethnic and religious bigotry, a subtle psychological factor that contributes to security challenges.

At no point did the media cause the poor state of the power grid, water shortages, or poor roads, all of which contribute to a hostile environment and insecurity.

But again, Nigeria cannot put all its decades of problems on the Buhari government and the likes of Buhari and Mohammed. Instead of engaging in social and psychological combat with the media, he and his allies in the regime need the understanding of the media message in the domain of security and defense, as the media is the main instrument that contributes to the building process of the security space inside society.

How does being hostile to the media by the Buhari regime encourage reporters and the press who, through their daring and risky interviews, might be able to gain some information, educate the people, share information on the government’s counter-terrorism strategy, and educate people from becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism?

We need the media to use credibility to keep contributing effectively to the transmission of messages in order to promote national security interests. We need the media’s message that increases the identification effect, ensures that citizens are responsible, serves as a point of information or checkpoint by ensuring that government officials uphold their oaths of office and carry out the wishes of the people.

“The freedom of the press is one of the great bulwarks of liberty and can never be restrained but by a despotic government.”

—George Mason

John Egbeazien Oshodi, who was born in Uromi, Edo State in Nigeria to a father who served in the Nigeria police for 37 years, is an American based Police/Prison Scientist and Forensic/Clinical/Legal Psychologist. A government consultant on matters of forensic-clinical adult and child psychological services in the USA; Chief Educator and Clinician at the Transatlantic Enrichment and Refresher Institute, an Online Lifelong Center for Personal, Professional, and Career Development. He is a former Interim Associate Dean/Assistant Professor at Broward College, Florida. The Founder of the Dr. John Egbeazien Oshodi Foundation, Center for Psychological Health and Behavioral Change in African Settings In 2011, he introduced State-of-the-Art Forensic Psychology into Nigeria through N.U.C and Nasarawa State University, where he served in the Department of Psychology as an Associate Professor. He is currently a Virtual Behavioral Leadership Professor at ISCOM University, Republic of Benin. Founder of the proposed Transatlantic Egbeazien Open University (TEU) of Values and Ethics, a digital project of Truth, Ethics, and Openness. Over forty academic publications and creations, at least 200 public opinion pieces on African issues, and various books have been written by him. He specializes in psycho-prescriptive writings regarding African institutional and governance issues.

Prof. Oshodi wrote in via info@teuopen.university

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