The headline news title of “ThisDay” Newspaper of today bears the misleading and mischievous title aimed clearly at deceiving the Nigerian voting public. How does the man Bola Tinubu on hospital bed roar?
Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the Presidential candidate of the All Progressive Congress APC was the subject of an emergency air evacuation to a London hospital about a fortnight ago. Before then and for nearly two years, Bola Tinubu has been running in and out of hospitals in France and all over Europe without let.
His ailments though not disclosed, has been a subject of snide remarks, media speculations and frenzied discussions across the country, particularly because he is the presidential candidate of the ruling political party in Nigeria.
In the two weeks of his absence, Bola Tinubu missed at least two events that are major milestones in the presidential campaigns for the election coming early next year. These are the inauguration of his own presidential campaign council (PCC) of the APC and the signing of the Peace Accord between the presidential candidates standing for election next year.
Tinubu, a mortal like everyone else, is in a London hospital fighting for his life but ThisDay Newspaper and his political confederates, without evidence or reportorial verification of their own, will have us believe that he is hale and fit, exercising on a bicycle and flipping around on an exercise stanchion.
ThisDay did not see or hear directly from Tinubu or even interview aides close to him nor did it undertake the most basic fact checks and reportorial standards demanded from a serious newspaper. It just reported that Tinubu, who the public knows is in hospital is roaring back to the presidential campaigns without presenting validation or the evidence.
But Bola Tinubu is not flipping around on an exercise stanchion, he is lying possum on an hospital bed, fighting for his recovery from a debilitating illness. The lie has always been part of and has defined Tinubu’s life.
This newspaper story goes beyond Tinubu and his many lies about the deep enigma of his life and touches the kernel of Nigeria’s survival going forward. It is also a shameful tale about those who enable and defend those deflections and lies. Nigeria is about the only country in the world which advertises and lie about the “good” health of a person who is seen to be sick in public view, peeing on himself. And the liars double down on the lies that we all see, pushing the narrative of the good health of a person we see falling and tremoring in public.
ThisDay reports that Tinubu roars back and the video shows a man riding a bicycle for seven seconds and flipping around on a stanchion for another five seconds. The story does not connect us to what will happen in the many seconds, minutes, hours and years that the man is pushing to rule the nation if we allow him ingress to the presidential seat of power.
On the basis of a ride on an in situ bicycle for seven seconds, Bola Tinubu is entitled to rule us for four and perhaps eight years. It takes the ride on a stationary bicycle to give Bola Tinubu an entitlement to the presidency of Nigeria. This is what a serious Nigeria newspaper reports and writes to convince the Nigerian public that Bola Tinubu is roaring back to the presidential campaigns.
How about the healthy men and women riding bicycles to and from work everyday? How long are they entitled to rule? And the true story is not about a man roaring but a sick man still whimpering on a sick bed.
ThisDay newspaper presents here the media’s institutional complicity in enabling bad leadership in Nigeria. For the pecuniary interest of publishers and editorial staff, news are twisted and truth abused, deceitful opinions are written into news reports and false flags are raised as totems to the failed national ethos. The media in Nigeria has created a fetish for the worship of mammon, for the celebration of the liar and the artful dodger, washing the plunderers of public treasuries and presenting them as new messiah’s.
We have been in this business for so long now to know that the Nigerian media is a failed national institution which needs urgent remedy and rescue, even more than the political institutions. And that is why we choose to cultivate our own audiences in the social media. Let every man answer to his father’s name so no one tars everyone with the same paintbrush. The occasional appearances in the mainstream media can always be excused.
Our hope is that the Peter Obi revolution will sweep away the rentier economy where the patronage of the media by the same people who steal us blind will not continue to undermine and compromise the agenda setting functions of the Nigeria media.
The headwinds of the Peter Obi revolution must accomplish this urgent task to set the Nigeria media on the right course of history.