I was thinking I’m too busy to blog because I’m preparing for my wedding in few weeks. There are many things to do before I ‘dobale’ at my iyawo father’s house. Then I saw the movie ‘Blood Diamond’ yesterday and the blogger instinct in me is awakened. To me, it was both emotional and provocative, partly because I was in Freetown last December and I can testify to the devastative impact of the mindless war on the people, the economy and the infrastructure of the nation.
Nigerians are going to the polls to elect a new (recycled) government in few weeks. I’m really saddened that nobody is talking about some of the important things prior to the election. Even the media that are supposed to be the custodian of the people’s conscience are carried away with more of sensationalism than substance. Each day I read the Nigerian news, I’m appalled with what I see. I’m disappointed with the news writer and their ‘pot-bellied’ editors than with the people they are writing about. What is new or news in government officials stealing millions of public fund in Nigeria, eh? What is news in two political parties accusing each other of corruption? Have they not been doing that before I was born?
They write about Adedibu stealing voters registration machine and they expected me to exclaim with surprise and thank them for their investigative journalism, as if the man has not been in that business before I was born. They waste pages of newspaper on stories about Obasanjo and Atiku trading words and blows, and they expect me to say……… “na wa o, how can this be happening?” As if my dad didn’t read similar stories about Awolowo and Akintola in the 60s.
Whatever happened to the legendary and formidable ‘Lagos-Ibadan’ press can only be attributed either to bastardisation of collective corporate psychic or sheer brain drain. I suppose the guys that fought Abacha are either dead or retired. By death, I mean taking a leave of their political conscience in exchange for economic survival in this era of ‘Ghana-must-go’ politics. If we lose the last of these guys, then we need more than the natural. May be we need angels to be our journalists now.
We need angels to provoke more substantial public debates on important matters before the April election. We need the public office holders to articulately answer the Niger Delta question. Or, is it until someone discovers mass grave burying a whole town before we admit that what is happening in the region is a full-blown war. Is it until a Shell worker is killed on video posted by hooded gun carrying militias on CNN before the Nigerian government wake up from their hallucinating statements that ‘all is under control’. We need angels to tell Frank Nweke, the foreign minister to direct his energy away from accusing CNN reporters into a more useful debate. Someone needs to tell him that the amount of weapons in the Niger Delta is more than the ones that triggered off the conflicts in Sierra Leone, Burundi, Angola or even Liberia.
While the Niger Delta problem is multifaceted, it is time we started holding some people responsible for the poverty, anger, environmental injustices and killings in the region. I do not think one person has the answer to the Niger Delta question. That is why we need the media to instigate a national debate and hold whoever is vying for public office accountable for taking part in such discussions. While I won’t agree with my latte-drinking Nigerian friends in London that the country is heading for doom, I won’t be naïve to assume that because children are still going to school in Port Harcourt, Asaba, Calabar, or Warri that the same is happening in Ogulagha, Oporoza, Ogoni, Finima, Oweikorogba, Akinima or Oloama. There may be some devils nursing the idea of collecting books from those children in exchange for guns. We shouldn’t wait for another Hollywood movie probably titled ‘The Curse of Oil’ before we hold the ‘babaringa’ wearing politicians ransom.