With Adetunji Ayobrown
It is exceedingly a rash thing to let anyone see that you are decidedly superior to him in a particular respect, not to talk of displaying it and allowing other people see it too. Not surprising then, when Garba Shehu was said to have been in rage mode over the coverage and assessment of President Muhammadu Buhari government by The Economist and Financial Times, something he thinks they have no legitimate right to do. The spokesman attacked these medium for allegedly thriving on negatives, while he believes is emphatically ignored the positives of this administration.
While that was still trending and hot, acting in godlike, National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) suspended the license of DAAR Communications; owners of AIT and Ray Power, on grounds that the stations failed to follow its broadcasting guidelines. NBC sanctioned AIT over the documentary titled ‘Battle for the Soul of the Nation – The PDP/Atiku Presidential Election Petition’ considered to be controversial one. Though, twenty four hours after its license was withdrawn, AIT is back on air.
It is so painful that we misinterpret every hammer regulating agency or from government as coming from Presidency if it does seems to favour us. But was AIT warned before, at least once after breaking the guideline and rules. Did NBC ever cautioned them? These are some of the questions many Nigerians and non-Nigerians alike want from the almighty NBC.
Many believe it is more of media blackmail, prejudicial and a desperate move by PDP through AIT to get sympathy from the tribunal. Why was Channel TV or Silverbird not suspended? Without sentiment, there are rules and regulations guiding broadcasting outfits, and when an organisation goes contrary, it should face the music most especially if warned on several occasions. Irrespective of current situation in the country, we still have law and order which must be followed and respected. It is wrong to make a public discourse of a matter that is already in court (tribunal).
This episodes reminded me of the cartoon ‘the gods must be crazy, where a Kalahari bushman Xi was as surprised as the rest of his tribe when a Coke bottle carelessly thrown from a passing plane, lands in the middle of their village unbroken. Foolishly, they believe it was a “gift from the gods” though, later proves to be a mixed blessing when the tribesmen fight over it and eventually use it for a weapon to attack one another. But in order to keep peace in the village, living in their own myopic psyche, Xi was assigned to take the bottle to “the end of the earth” (actually a lush valley) and throw it back to the gods. They believe the gods must be silly and crazy to have sent them that strange gift so also is this likes of Garba Shehu who thought this foreign mediums are foolish for stating the truth as it is. But he ought to have reacted by gathering other side and his own version of ‘Battle for the Soul of the Nation and present to the world instead of attacking these medium. Indeed the gods are not to be blamed.
For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction; Newton’s Third Law of Motion was defiled. ‘Do me I do you’ was just the case, and indeed, sometimes actions and reactions may not be equal but definitely opposite, Nigeria Television Authority (NTA) too was removed from British BSkyB channel 781, tit-for-tat many believed an eye for eyes. But why was NTA suspended too, be for same offence? All what was said truly happened here, so what the heck about this advert now, NTA do worse and no one sanction them here in Nigeria, except far away United Kingdom.
Former President Goodluck Jonathan once said and I quote “I am d most abused president but when I leave office, u all will remember me for the freedom you enjoyed under me”, truly but sadly, his excerpt had indeed came to pass. Many believed that Buhari did not only take away Nigerians press freedom but also want to subject foreign media too to his dictates.
For it gives commanding place, there is nothing of which a man is prouder than intellectual ability. Though, Garba Shehu never denied the authenticity these reports but he fumed because The Economist and Financial Times did not consult him or his boss before they carried out their lawful duties. If you ask me, the gods are not to be blamed.
NBC wants AIT to be like NTA, quoting Oby Ezekwesili, a former Minister of Education, joined other Nigerians to condemn the suspension of the broadcasting licence of AIT and Ray Power FM stations by the National Broadcasting Commission NBC. Reacting to the revocation, Ezekwesili tweeted that the NBC wants AIT to carry out its functions like the state-owned NTA where all the programmes are devoid of any criticism for the government in power. She said and I quote “…summary of this lengthy sanctions letter from NBC to AIT is simply this: ‘We have warned you several times in the past to stop broadcasting things that upset the Government and NBC. You refused to listen. Now we shall shut you up and down until you are ready to be like NTA’. She went further, “there is nothing in that letter from NBC to AIT that reaches the threshold for withdrawal of license and shut down of a Media house that we all know Government perceives as an ‘Opposition media’. Wisdom should have actually instructed the FG against striking out at them,” she wrote.
A media house should be seen being modest and unbiased in its broadcasts or messages irrespective of whatever interest or stake. Though, FG May not like is said material in public, but unfortunately, they can’t restrict or shut down the internet; what a pity. All such actions could cast aspersions on Nigeria’s commitment to the freedom of the press and must be avoided many tweets declared.
In other better and developed World, Donald Trump will refer to it as fake news and wave it off because the country has strong democratic institutions. Many wondered why has Trump not shutdown CNN instead, difference between bushman and civilised man. If it not that I don’t want be partisan, I would have ask NBC to sanction Financial Times and The Economist too, funny indeed.