I woke up on Sunday morning, the day after the 2023 supplementary elections was held across the country feeling so tired, weak and exhausted. So, the first thing was to turn on my radio and it was very shocking to hear the anchor of the program currently airing making claim that the election in my constituency was free and fair despite all the harassment and physical assault that happened the day before (I personally experienced this as well) and was documented on my Facebook page.
As a laid down there, the necessity to hit the road hits me quick by the continuous vibration of my phone, which I had put under the pillow the previous night. It was a call that will end up shaping my perspective of what defines the greatness in leadership, selfless services and of cause community development. The entire story that characterized these thoughts provoking questions and realities will appear on my next post).
So, I got up and hurriedly rushed to the bathroom to meet up with my appointments as we went around the entire six units where elections were held to get informed by the people, commiserate with those who got injured in their attempt to exercise their civic rights in case there was any. The story of assault and harassment was the same everywhere we went to that morning till we got to the unit where I went to the day before as an observer. I was quickly recognized by the people I met on ground as one of those that nearly got beaten the day before. And yet, a major radio station claimed the election was free and fair?
My question is this:
Why is no radio station bold enough to go around to ask questions from random people on the street and have their opinions aired? Or maybe I missed such program because I was in transit. If so, can anyone fill me in. Sadly, I witnessed first hand how people were crying, lamenting how they were manhandled, threatened, beaten and denied the opportunity to exercise their rights across the affected polling units.
Where majority of the so-called presenters/anchors were seen always hiding their identity with pretence to be neutral during the running to the elections. The events of Sunday morning program is the reason why Nigeria Broadcasting Commission needs to start monitoring closely the activities of some of the so called On-air-personalities and their radio platforms. My refusal to join a political party till date was born out of the desire to prevent myself from the compromises those compelling decisions will offer.
Further findings revealed that the said presenter in question had the newly reelected member of the house of representative helped get his daughter a job. If she is qualified, no problem. One can easily now trace the compromise that had him not only resist the urge of falsefully pronouncing a winner in a yet to be concluded election that led to the supplementary election to be held last weekend but also declaring the last Saturday election free and fair. The continuous use of a respected radio platform to pursue your personal agenda should be checked henceforth to further prevent heating of our polity.
The lack of ethics that has characterised the industry is already at an alarming high rate that needs urgent check by the NBC if the owners of such platforms decides not to do checks and balances. Few days to the governorship and state assembly elections, a well revered presenter publicly took sides by joining the trending social media “who’s your guy” trend. He aligned and called the incumbent Governor “My Guy” and went further by going on tour to showcase some of his infrastructural projects. Sounds good right? Yes, there is nothing bad with partisanship if such is done via individual social media platforms and not a radio platform.
I am hereby using this medium to challenge that presenter to extend his show by uncovering the developments in other sectors such as Agriculture, environment, physical planning and public works in the State. I am not sure he will be delighted, score and rate the same way he had done earlier. Maybe we can all help “our guy” in the interest of the state to know some of the direction where to look at in his second coming.
Majority of these anchors/presenters did not conduct any serious background checks beyond the profile sent to them by the politicians ahead of the campaigns. It was never an intense discussion that should possibly expose how intelligent both the interviewer and interviewee is. At a particular interview, a presenter was heard helping his guest to reel out his achievements across the constituencies and denying him the opportunity of expression just to shroud his terrifying communication skills.
Why not let your guests speak for themselves?
Why not do investigative journalism?
Are we even asking the right questions?
Do we give our platform to those who couldn’t afford to air their jingles as a form of payment to be interviewed? I am sure a lot of their listeners are not aware of how unfair they all have been over these those times with their unfairness.
One day, this great city will birth a radio station that will indeed be true to its core professional values, teach and create a reasonable competition that will make some of our political programs anchor how things should be done without publicly shaming themselves and the platform they represent.