Senate’s confirmation of Emefiele, victory for Nigeria

By Editor on 17/05/2019

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Buhari with Emefiele

After the Legislature, the Executive and Judiciary, the Media is next, as a vital component of government. In the US, though not clearly enshrined in the constitution, it is however regarded as the Fourth Branch. It is so powerful that as a tool of connecting the government to the people and vice versa the constitution states that no amendment shall be made to curtail its freedom.

In the principle of checks and balances, each arm of government acts as a check on the other to ensure that no arm becomes too powerful as to swallow and make prostrate one or the others. But the press or media, in its own function, acts as a check on all of them.

In this regard, the role is very clear. The press apart from other functions, is to ferret out malfeasances and maladministration within and among government and public officials, without which governance it is feared, could degenerate into an irresponsible cabal or a syndicate that perpetrates its actions in darkness. Naturally, this is a huge responsibility.

But then, this responsibility, does not stand alone. It comes with its own checks and balances to ensure that it neither hurts itself by losing the trust of those it checks their activities or those on whose behalf it does so.

That is why it gave itself a set of rules on which the principles and practices must not only take their root, but find full expression. The pivot of those set of rules is the principle of audi alteram partem – hearing the other side. Lose this principle or ignore it, the media, or journalism as a profession is not only dealt a fatal blow, but the society becomes totally imperiled as well.

The imperative, flowing from this, is that not only must the media ensure that their reports are genuine and authentic, but that they are managed in such a way that they conduce the greatest benefits for the greatest number.

Like the late Justice Chukwudifu Oputa (JSC), as he then was, posited in one of his landmark postulations, justice must be done to the accused, the accuser and the society in equal measure. As in law, journalism must also follow this route.

Two quick examples of how the apparent mismanagement of the media or the information therefrom, have done damages of monumental proportion, would suffice.

Many people would recall how the dominant media organs of the world were used to spread the narrative that Saddam Hussein was the world’s greatest devil and the greatest threat to humanity.

Not only were the media used to blow this line of story out of proportion, but they became the champions of the further tale that the former Iraqi leader was in possession of massive build up of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD).

The same storyline was also applied in Libya to liquidate the former leader, Muammar Gaddafi. At that time, the world was regaled with the highly seducing account that he was killing Libyans like flies, ostensibly, to justify the invasion of the once Africa’s demonstrable example of a functioning entity and pride of the continent and the destruction of hundreds of years monuments and artifacts as well as state of the art infrastructures, like the famous man-made river that is recorded as the world’s most famous irrigation project.

Now, it is only recently that the same world is being told that Saddam never had WMD. It is only now that former US President, Barack Obama who championed the unholy Libyan escapade is confessing same as one of his greatest regrets in his eight years at the White House.

But, at what cost? Not only are the two countries counting the cost in the massive destruction of functioning facilities, the ruination of famous historic places and the dislocation of families, not to talk about the millions of deaths, the concomitant consequences of growth and spread of terrorism and the far-reaching human calamity across the globe thereof, remain quite evident.  

Today, Libya, a once prosperous country, has become the breeding ground for all manner evils, ranging from modern-day slave trading, to arms proliferation and terrorism, apart from their domestic issues that have culminated in making the country a free for all lawless entity.  

Many analysts believe that had the mainstream media not pandered to the salacious side, which they fed the world, these events would not have happened and humanity, saved the consequences.

It is against this backdrop that the Nigerian Senate’s rejection of the outright attempt at inducement and instigation to decline the confirmation of Dr. Godwin Emefiele as the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), must be examined. We must pause here to give unmitigated commendation to the lawmakers for that landmark decision. Here is why.

Yes, everybody knows the danger of having corrupt people handling one of the most important institutions that holds the key to the nation’s very survival. However, in the instant case, a lot of prudence and wisdom must be applied in handling the issue. That is what the Senate applied so vividly.

By so doing, they have saved Nigeria the task of swallowing another bitter pill in what is fast becoming a trend, where media-bashing is assuming a life of its own and replacing the genuine reason for establishing and nourishing an otherwise noble profession that has survived thousands of years.

The heavy dose of nobility inherent in the media as an entity with enormous tasks for humanity, precludes it from serving as a tool for settling scores of any kind. Concurrently, when the media evokes any form, tinge or shade of suspicion of blackmail, whether intended or not, it becomes like salt that has lost its taste and must be thrown away, having become useless and dangerous.         

Many Nigerians believe that the emergence of that tape imputing acts of corruption against Emefiele few days after his reappointment by President Muhammadu Buhari and moments to his Senate confirmation, had little to do with exposing or fighting corruption as much as it had to stopping him from re-assuming his office.

Everything pointed to that. If the tone and language of the report left anyone in doubt about the intendment, the outright imputation of stealing of N500billion without any attempt to hear the side of the CBN or even the Governor, clearly erases same.

One only needed to take a peek into the attending public discussions to determine that the corruption angle cut no ice with Nigerians. Rather, the issue was reduced to who among the President, the importers of the 41 items that had since been shut out from the CBN Forex window or the numerous enemies of its boss, was actually responsible for the plot.

Many were sure that it was actually the same Buhari that loaded Emefiele’s head with salt that caused the rain to fall on the way, so that he would find it easy to appoint a Northerner, without the fear of being accused of nepotism. But, was that the case?

That is the danger here. Interestingly, this is a scenario that could have been cured by the simple task of applying the principle every trained journalist learns from the first day in class up until graduation and which every notable media organisation in Nigeria or elsewhere still holds as sacrosanct.

It needs not restating that an untrained journalist sitting behind a computer, is as dangerous to the society as a mad man handed a sharp cutlass or the key to a military arsenal, if not more dangerous.

There have been so many outcries against the government interfering or moving against media. Yes, but the task must now be left to practitioners to take plausible initiatives capable of taming this obvious dangerous monster. The media must not be an all-comers’ game, like other professions.   

Again,, must restate its revulsion for corruption anywhere and everywhere with the intention of exposing and fighting it. But this is one case where we must tarry to give kudos to the lawmakers at the Red Chambers for being proactive. They certainly got it right this time.  





Posted on May, 17 2019

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