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Journalists are bandits

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A man looks at newspapers at a newsstand in Abuja, Nigeria June 5, 2021. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde

Journalists are bandits. There is no doubt about it. And if the journalists are Nigerians they, to all intents and purposes, cannot but be the worst bandits who belong to the very worst set and band of bandits anywhere. In fact, the average journalist in this country called Nigeria is more dangerous than the most notorious bandit-journalist or journalist-bandit anywhere in the globe. Whether or not the average Nigerian journalist is a print media or electronic media journalist, he can always be regarded as a dangerous, a very dangerous, journalist who is more dangerous, who is more deadly, than for instance, the bandit-journalist, the late Jamal Khashoggi, a US-based Saudi columnist and journalist and a very severe critic of Saudi Arabia’s government. The very dangerous columnist of the American Washington Post was killed in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul in Turkey on October 2, 2018. His very fierce criticism of the government of his home-country marked him for his eventual murder. His scintillating and tantalizing reports, stories and revelations concerning his country and its allies stained the high reputation of the visibly prominent journalist, according to the gospel and script of his murderer(s). In the eyes of the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman especially, Khashoggi, allegedly, was only leaving the mark of banditry on Saudi Arabia’s journalism. Thus the distinguished journalist and his mark of banditry must vanish. And they truly vanished into the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul!

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Of course, the Khashoggi treatment was much earlier on in Nigeria (on 19th October 1986) visited on our own dear Dele Giwa. He was ignominiously bombed to his unforeseen grave because he was a brigand-columnist and bandit-journalist. He was kind of lucky because his body did not vanish into what his killer(s) wanted it to vanish into. But after what befell Dele Giwa Newswatch, the daring news magazine everybody, except those in the company of thieving bandits loved, clearly lost its steam. The fabulous news magazine gradually decomposed itself – despite its high profile team and brilliant personnel. As at today Newswatch is no more. Or is it still breathing the refreshing air of journalistic life and composure? The good news that we had then and still have till now – until perhaps very recently – was/is that the bugaboo that attended Dele Giwa’s death disappeared from the expansive space of our journalism. Our journalistic brigandage continued in the right direction – even after the sensationally evil closure of this paper and obnoxious treatment of some of its senior staff summarily jailed and “compensated” years after. It is also on record that the late founder-and-publisher (Mr. Alex Ibru) of this paper narrowly escaped assassination on the grounds of what the high profile flag of Nigerian journalism stood for uncompromisingly without caring whose ox was gored. Nigerian journalism and journalists proved and are still proving – that the nature and definition of our journalism are seen in the genius of our founding practitioners across the newspapers in the land.

Their circumfluous circumspection and perspicacity are still present in the consciousness of the present breed, whose large number of members still imbibe the spirit of the ancient genius (or geniuses). The academic, flippant, ironical, satirical, sharp-tongued, brave spirit and history of old is still very much a prime factor in Nigerian journalism – despite the method of practice and scope of expression and reportage of some practitioners in the print and electronic media. Those who want to banter wittily can do as they please, those who want to be flopping and flipping idiots can do as they please; but at every given time and moment they must be reminded and told point-blank that good journalists are bandits who are ever ready to die and live for their people and country. To rephrase the last stretch of the point and sentence, good journalists and columnists are ever ready to live and die for their country and people.

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This terribly autocratic presidency has been on the voyage of threatening the media and misleading our people and masses. Not long ago, they imposed un-thinkable and un-imaginable fines on some television channels for reporting accurately the EndSars protests in several parts of the country. The runes, textual or verbal, of the presidencynologists are runes of un-truths, of non-truths, which, they, in the name of propaganda, want our electronic and non-electronic media to transmit, textualise and sketch to the people and masses time after time. The autocratic autocrats and their megaphones want to compel our journalists to report only inaccuracies.

In other words, they want us to dis-believe the truth that every society produces truth and non-truth. This informed their recent proclamation, so to say, wherein journalists in the electronic media in particular have been forbidden from reporting in any form or guise the activities, successes and foozles of terrorists euphemistically called bandits by the authoritarians and autocrats in the central government. Gladly, gladly, our journalists through the helmspersons piloting our respective print publications have stood up, without stooping, and have risen to the occasion to say no, a capital No, to any attempt to gag the press in this country your country my country our country. Even in our crushing years of military wickedness and decades upon decades of colonial evil the Nigerian press did not flinch from its duty even as the hot water and bullets of the brigands, the bandits, in power and in authority struck them.

The bandits terrorizing our people everywhere from the North to the South and from the South to the North must be positively and affirmatively exposed. Their injurious activities must be exposed and examined. We must know their sponsors and collaborators. Their surprisingly peculiar eccentricities in speech or in writing must not be allowed to intrude into the journalistic mastery of our columnists, reporters, news casters, camera men and women and other professionals behind the scene in the print and non-print media. All of them, all of us, are bandits, true bandits, who mean well and well for our country – your country my country our country.

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The time has come truly, truly for our journalists everywhere to insist and underline the point as never before that the Nigerian people and masses own this country. Our journalists and other professionals must now inject their peculiar deconstructive techniques to cast into oblivion the deconstructive techniques of vagabonds and bandits and tyrants in government. Journalists must realize positively that journalism as from henceforth is the first estate of our country’s brigandage and banditry. The power and authority of the pen must hence-forwards only bring into positive prominence characters and personages whose shining minds and brains are the figural powers of our politics of plenitude. Our journalists must now end their tag as the fourth estate of the realm. They are the first estate of our realm of our envisaged plenitude. They are agitators for and creators of good governance that is more than good governance. They ought not to be bootlickers and fearers of the insane in government in whatever rank and position. I know what can be done to bring about the new dawn and dispensation. But I must be silent on this here. Furthermore, I am not foolish enough to under-estimate the role of betrayers who don’t belong to the healthy tribe of the bandits of the envisaged new dawn. But they can always be caged perpetually in the dungeon of betrayers. Our professional bandits are not the killing bandits of Nigeria’s presidencynologists. Our new-dawn professional bandits don’t have the neurosis that inhabits cheats and honey-tongued and sugar-lipped poisoners arthirst for their satanic habits to the detriment of Nigeria and Nigerians.

Afejuku can be reached via 08055213059.

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