The Ngbati Press is the name given to the Lagos-Ibadan Axis of the Nigerian press for many years now.
The Ngbati press was and is the most vilified segment of the Nigerian press.
I think the reason is very simple to me. I grew up to know that Ngbati Press as the most conscious press in Nigeria. I think that press contributed immensely to my social consciousness. There were columns I looked forward to like Edwin Madunagu, Olatunji Dare, Adidi Uyo, Owei Lakemfa, Odia Ofeimun, Okey Ndibe, Ogaga Ifowodo, Akin Adesokan, Reuben Abati, just to mention a few.
Those who vilified the Ngbati Press, particularly under the dark age of the military rule did not accuse it of inaccuracy or lie peddling. I think their problem with the Ngbati Press was it’s audacity to dare to report the news as it was.
Now, I agree that the Ngbati Press was not a perfect press but I celebrate it today because it helped in sharpening my consciousness and also have me platforms of expression.
I believe as it is was with the Ngbati Press, so it is with the Western Press or Media. There is this conspiracy theory known as Western Media Narrative or propaganda, which I believe it is often promoted and sponsored by the governments of Africa and it organs to discredit the credibility of the Western press when their reports do not favour the governments.
I have never been swayed by such conspiracy theory. While like any other press or human organisations, some news items are exaggerated, depending on the interest of the media organisation and the leaning of its promoters, it has often been found that International or Western Media have been highly professional and accurate in reporting Africa.
As an informed African, I know for historical and present facts that the grouse of the African governments (and to those they have sold the theory to) is often not with the accuracy of what is being reported but the fact that it is being reported and makes Africa looks bad.
African leaders do not want to do better but they want better reports of Africa. They want the Western Media look away. They want to pocket the Western Media the same way they have pocketed their local media.
It was in this country that UNICEF published a report on the state of the Nigerian children and a first lady made overtures to UNICEF to change the report. Not because it was not true but because it would make the government look bad.
I think if African leaders want to be better perceived, they should do better. The Western Media has continued to report the Exploits of Paul Kegame of Rwanda.The Western Media fought Apartheid and promoted the cause of Nelson Mandela.
From my unbiased observation, the Western Media is not also partial in reporting her own leaders or situations.Bernard Madoff Ponzi scheme, Richard Nixon’s Watergate scandal, Panama Papers, The Facebook–Cambridge Analytica data scandal, R. Kelly, Bill Cosby, Metoo movement and many more were all exposed by the Western Media, without caring whose OX is gored.
The Western Media is not perfect and they can be partial sometimes and even partisan but they cannot just perpetrate blatant falsehood against Africa. They know better that it will offend the ethics of the professional, impugn on their credibility and open them up for legal battles. They cannot afford to be reckless as a First World press.
I have keenly followed the Western Media coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic and the response or reaction of the Nigerian government and I must say they have been fair and even not as damaging as some of the reports I have seen from the local media.
The impact of the pandemic is not surprising considering the corruption of our leaders, we are not organised into a database, Nigeria does not even know her citizens and we are dealing with a mono-cultural economy, where crude is today less than $11 per barrel against the budgetted benchmark of $57.
It is time of African leaders to do better to improve the message(the welfare and the security of the people) instead of chasing the shadows of vilifying the messangers whether it is the Ngbati Press, Western Press or individual press, which exist on social media platforms. It is this same spirit of focusing on the messangers instead of the message that led the Nigerian government to begin to look in the direction of the primitive Social Media Bill.
Do stay SAFE, STRONG and INSPIRED.
Here is your Dearly Beloved Roving Public Lawyer, Taiwo AKINLAMI
(C) 2020 Taiwo AKINLAMI
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