The media and the democratic process in Nigeria (1) By Professor Sam Oyovbaire
widespread government abuse of the media in Nigeria, it identifies with .. With respect to state-media relations, this is most commonly espoused as vertically into two equal parts, with a column offering a Yoruba text and. Introduction: A historical overview The Nigerian press is not the oldest on the Irohin fun Awon Ara Egba ati Yoruba (literally: Newspaper for the Egba and Yoruba). In , the federal government set up a large web offset printing press and .. journalism and public relations is often blurred in Nigeria and the press has. An historical account of the the media in Nigeria by a former Minister of Other newspapers followed the Iwe Irohin not only in Yoruba, but also in English of the relationship between the media and government in their joint.
Professor Akinfeleye emphatically supported the submission of former America President, Thomas Jefferson who said that if he was to choose between a Government without a Press, or a Press without a Government, he would not hesitate to choose the latter!
This submission I argued, cannot hold if every person is investigating and probing into one another as a reporter, without a law by legislators to protect the people, and the existence of the judiciary to adjudicate over disputes and the executive arm to check excesses and unethical practices.
Nigerian Media and Indigenous Cultures Transformation: The Journey So Far | OMICS International
Such a society, I pointed out can only exist in a jungle, where there are no rules of law but animalistic interpersonal relationship. There is no problem with any government. Antics of some characters in government create the negative perceptions about public institutions. Added to the unbecoming and petty behaviours of some officials in government is the reality that public information management is very weak largely due to unskilled manpower, ill-equipped departments and political interference where a seeming straightforward and truthful information is deliberately distorted for egocentric ambitions of principals.
In fact the Freedom of Information Act FOI could not have been a necessity if the public information officers have been allowed to discharge their roles responsibly and professionally. A study and adherence to basic principles of Public Relations could be a clear guide for spokespersons rather than the fire brigade approach and combatant posture of such image managers to simple issue management.
Therefore spokespersons, as the intermediaries between the government and the media, should not only rely on prerequisite and relevant qualifications and experiences but should have humane temperaments and friendly dispositions while discharging their responsibilities.
While a well-trained and well-behaved public officer can easily court friendship of the media and earn the respect of the public, journalists too should imbibe the PR instinct and principle by initiating cordial relationships with officers in government to minimise mutual suspicions and misgivings.
At the end of the seminar, participants issued Guidelines for Communication in Times of Conflict for Government, Media and Civil Society in which they recommended that the media should always separate facts from opinion while urging journalists to be mindful of public and national interest in providing honest, factual and accurate information at all times.
While participants agreed that there are presently neither laws nor regulatory bodies to monitor and check online and Social Media in Nigeria, they strongly recommended capacity building and training on the use of latest technology for effective communication by those in government and the media. The press, radio, television and other agencies of the mass media shall at all times be free to uphold the fundamental objectives and highlight the responsibility and accountability of government to the people Sec.
Their core function which they always boast of now is entertainment. But it is full of western contents. To this end, Obasanjo [ 10 ] describe mass media as any agency, modern or traditional, that operates for the articulation and dissemination of ideas and information, generally with the intent to influence or control an audience or the institution that constitutes legalized power and authority. Unfortunately, Nigerian media have no influence on government, the legalized power and authority, and negative influence on their Nigerian populace, audience and cultures.
Anyaegbunam in Yusuff [ 11 ] writes …In this bizarre cultural dissonance among the Nigerian citizens, Nigeria and the global culture…We [media practitioners] share some of the blame. The intensity of it suggests that beyond the nature of governance is a profound need to reorient at the media towards the new trends in the world.
Chiakaan and Ahmed [ 2 ] say the pollution is a product of pornographic films or programes on television and pictures in newspapers, magazines and internet. It was an abomination for Nigerian females to appear in jeans or trousers generally. Nowadays, they do not only appear in jeans trousers but do so sensationally by leaving bare the most sensitive parts of their bodies. Our higher institutions are among common places where this unfortunate uncultured act of immodesty is mostly practised.
Allimi [ 12 ] laments, when you therefore take a global look at the communication channels operating in Nigeria today, there seems to be a successful imposition of alien values, alien faith and alien psychology on our culture.
Why should this be so?
Nigerian Media and Indigenous Cultures Transformation: The Journey So Far
For instance, must we further the maddening consumption of musical works of foreign artistes on our airwaves …foreign artists whom we owe such obligation? No one says he is giving the public what it wants unless the public knows the whole range of possibilities which the medium can offer and from this range chooses what it wants… Usually if people say they know what they like, it does not always mean they know.
Western culture mimicry has become the order of the day. Anything indigenous is old-school, barbaric, archaic and local and so on.
It is now common to see a Nigerian in suit in a hot day on the street. They imitate this without realising that most Whites go in suit and regalia because of their cold frizzing environments. Freedom is meaningless without cultural foundation as its springboard. There are not one people who neglected or compromised their culture that did not sink into oblivion.
Depend on others and do things of their point of view and you are finished because you are an imitator, a cipher, and nothing worthy can emerge from within your being [ 11 ]. And, of course, the mass media the press are the lead parrots of neo-colonialism that is sporadically eroding our indigenous cultures and all their embodiments. This exploitation of the wealth of the colony for the benefit of his home country has the unfortunate effect of assimilating him from his indigenous culture.
Fortunately, the assimilation was only halfhearted and haphazard and therefore unsuccessful; the unhinging from tradition was also far from complete. The phenomenon has given the westernised Nigerian the character of a Mongrel; he is only half westerner and half an indigene. Robert and Dibie [ 5 ] write, The Nigerian mass media, over whelmed by colonial-western-majority mentality, preach the sermon of gross negligence for a digression from Nigerian cultures, as only the obvious social aspects of the claimed major cultural groups are blended with the adopted Western.
This is very pathetic and unfortunate. The Media and Indigenous Cultures Transformation By developing and promoting indigenous cultures rather than the current attrition and westernisation gestures of the mass media, these cultures would be transformed. First, the orientation of the media must change. Allimi in Yusuff notes,Cultural journalists must be the vanguard for portraying our good cultural values and societal norms to our children especially through relevant art, music, dance, drama and sports.
Let us use all the components of our art and culture to show that hard work and honesty pay [ 12 ]. The family system, the most effective instrument of public education, the core of any nation, must not be left out.
Your role is that of social mobiliser, championing the cause of development and the promotion of societal values and norms. Dear colleagues [the press], we need to develop Nigeria and Nigerians, the perception of being a Nigerian of Nigerianness. We must, as apostles of cultural journalismchampion the culture of tolerance and accommodations of our tradition.
The media must preach this cultural value to both our civil and military leaders and Nigerians in general. Further, on the socialisation role of the mass media, Moemeka writes, The mass media help unify society and increase social cohesion by holding and teaching a broad base of common social norms, values, and collective experience.
Through this activity, the mass media help transmit culture from generation to generation. Social norms, values and culture in general have become topics for conscious education by the mass media through the formal school system.
The mass media are also seen as playing the role of motivating and mobilising people to attain their goals politically, socially and economically as individuals and collective members of the society, which they do with some consideration of certain vital elements for sustainable national development [ 12 ]. The mass media ought to promote and sustain indigenous cultures through publicity. But unfortunately, Nigerian mass media are yet to deliver significantly in this area. Belch and Belch describe publicity thus: Publicity refers to non-personal communications regarding an organisation, product, service or idea not directly paid for or run under identified sponsorship.
The mass media, both print and electronic, as institutions, socialisation agents and part and parcel of the Nigerian society, must continue to play their part in order to ensure that development is realised and sustained. Journalists must be visionary and original indigenous and face the realities of their core existence, environment and society, with which they can unite their peoples, give them a sense of identity, purpose and direction, and develop as well as rouse the peoples to develop their cultures, assets and systems.
Anyaegbunam in Yusuff Where such issues are left to lie dormant, other issues that are extra-cultural, with the impetus and spontaneity of technology easily fill the vacuum. Thus, rather than the mere task of sourcing issues, it becomes a tougher battle of dislodging an alien issue or at least modifying it to suit the local sensibility. According to Angaegbunam in Yusuff [ 11 ], our journalists can start by looking at our year old culture of inferiority complex in the face, ugly as it looks, and address it.
After that, we will be imbued with the necessary insight to redefine certain high issues from democracy, population, environment, war, peace, poverty, womanhood to language to suit our peculiar situations in Nigeria and Africa. Information managers, processors, experts and disseminators must constantly get training that would spur them up and rouse them to becoming more and more familiar with their background, peoples, and those phenomena and characteristics they often tend to neglect, abuse and pay little or no attention to so as to deeply analyse, develop, promote and transform them.
As people and socialisation agents with heterogeneous audience who rely mostly on them, the negative role self-immolation of the media translates and transfers monumentally to more than half and one quarter of the whole population of the nation, Nigeria [ 11 ]. The media should greatly and constantly assist in providing the medium for transmitting knowledge and education of our culture to the populace.
While functioning as an agent of mobilisation, the media should set an agenda for priorities within our culture, which translate into consciousness for popular participation and indeed a proper democratic culture.
They should ensure a deep sense of objectivity, ethics, truth and respect for our culture s in their news and programmes.
They must be mindful of what they receive from foreign media and spread about and to us. According to Isa in Yusuff , in every culture, there are certain characteristics or traits which no matter how the culture changes, still remain very important.
It is the role of the media to identify these aspects of the culture and emphasise them to the people, to preserve, maintain and uphold. The media should encourage government to set up institutions that would ensure the promotion of our culture. Those aspects of our culture that are autochthonous, for example, languages, arts, dressing, kinship, marriage, festivals, etc.
Nothing interests the people so much like seeing their indigenous activities and ways of life broadcast and showcased in the mass media. Isa [ 9 ] posits that the moment the different ethnic groups in Nigeria begin to appreciate their various cultures to such an extent that such cultures receive media coverage, it would be very easy for the nation to adopt, develop or evolve a national culture. And, by so doing, these cultures would have been transformed. Africans had been and are still being brainwashed by both white and black elites and academics alike.
Robert, Besong and Dibie [ 14 ] further lament, Robert and Dibie [ 14 ] had lamented on the above likewise. Amidst all that, our education is still struggling to gain standard and recognition, as it continuously decline, beleaguered by various serious issues like poorly trained and motivated personnel, corruption, cultism, exam malpractice, indiscipline, moral decadence, parental irresponsibility, failed elites and bad governance, negative acts of the mass media, theoretical-based education, lack of infrastructure and good learning environment, etc.
Ndimele in Orru [ 15 ] descries the situation thus: For more than a half century, African nations have been battling with the imposition of non-indigenous African languages on the educational system and the situation had been aggravated by globalization and the overwhelming presence of the imperial languages in the ICTs.
African languages and their native speakers live in a more intense and harsh linguistic environment, as access to information is one through imperial languages. One third of African languages will die before [by] the first quarter of this century as the domains of use of the languages continue to reduce. According to Arowolo, the trend of cultural westernisation of Africa has become very pervasive and prevalent, such that Western civilisation has taken precedence over African values and culture and the latter is regarded as inferior to the former.
As with other societies and cultures in the so-called Third World, the impact of Western civilisation on Africa has occasioned disunity in forms of life throughout the continent.
This has led to cultural dualism that often presents itself as a real dilemma in concrete real life situations. African traditional values have undergone and still undergo culture change and acculturation, which affect social relationships, behaviour, systems and all human endeavours in contemporary Nigeria and Africa at large.
Nwauzor [ 16 ] observes that changing values affect the ideological bases of a society. The changing values, norms and culture of Nigerian society is greatly affecting it and greatly accounts for its ageing underdevelopment and national issues, besides the lasting effects of colonialism. Gyekye as cited by Lassiter maintains thus: We need our music, we need radio and television programmes, we need features and essays that uplift the spirit that uplift life.
But then in Nigeria, we value things alien, not for their relevance to our lives but simply because of their foreignness. Is it not unfortunate that most video movies produced by our own producers and directors celebrate violence and immorality which corrupt our values and cultural norms?
Why must we promote prostitution as being creative? But guns on the streets and in the hands of evil men do kill. Bad, violent language, fetish content of video movies, dirty clothing, fetish beliefs, page 3 girls are not cultural. These have led to our Nigerian actors and actresses being bad role models in our society… especially to our children. The borrowing, importation and diffusion of certain positive alien cultural traits are worthwhile but when otherwise in most cases, as in Nigeria, it becomes abnormal and crazy.
Thus, relegating and bidding extinction of our indigenous cultures which should not be. If the media live up to their expectations, peers and religion as well as the society will only complement the socialisation processes of returning our new generation s to our prestigious cultures rather than pursing shadow culture s [ 14 ]. Then, the family and the school would finish up the remaining task, while playing their cards well within their own respective jurisdiction [ 141718 ].
Artificial beauty and fashion contest rules on the continent now. Immodesty in all regards including dressing, more by women and young ladies, is gradually becoming the more appreciated and valued African dress code. Premarital sex, prostitution, lesbianism and promiscuity, among others, have become the order of the day too. Dibie notes, the crazy inherent ways of living of the Westerners seem to have crept most into Nigeria like no other Black nations.
Their cultures are rapidly submerging our prestigious cherished indigenous cultural norms, values, traditions, customs and morality. Pervasive socio-cultural, religious, political, economic and educational decadence and laxity have taken precedence in our contemporary society [ 17 ].
In the same vein on indigenous culture erosion, Robert [ 19 ] poetically writes, Who becomes the owner of our treasures? Our fertile land is now deserted by many for her unfertile mates Our decorated invaluable cultures, deserted By many for the uncultured Our mother-tongue, silenced for the aliens Our treasures are totally robbed off [lines stanza 1]. Where are our ancient treasures? Instead of procreation, we bomb them With raw acid-atomic bomb and Gradual rapid painful rocket launcher bullets of extinction [lines 13 stanza 2].
Where is our religion? Ours had been swallowed by the alien, Giving her blasphemous damnation, Dabbing her fetish, juju, false belief system and thereabout [lines 17, stanza 3]. Our treasures are stormed with thunder and atomic bomb Planted beneath to explode Day on, day night, until they are no more [ stanza 4]. The above lines and stanzas describe the present ugly situations of our indigenous cultures in the hands of many and in the face of alien cultures purported to be superior, better, more civilised and truly religious.
This fake, baseless, prejudicing conception message is spread by the mass media, the indigenous ones more. Where is our pride now that all run from our treasures? Imagine our fertile arts, cultures, customs, values, norms, Races, religion, literature, languages, philosophy, cosmology Talents and potentials, vegetation, soil.
Water bodies, government… coveted by many outside Neglected, rejected and dejected from the alien All for White lives that worth not ours [stanzas ]. Following Westernisation cum Western mimicryNigerian indigenous socio-cultural norms and values as well as cultures have barely little or no place in the contemporary globalised society, having been westernised and incessantly craving to be westernised by Western imitators and Western masters rhetoricians.
This emerging neargeneral trend is a product of poor cultural orientation, confidence and consciousness, misinformation, neo-colonialism and poor socialisation.
It is an ageing scourge that emerged with the advent of colonialism vis-a-vis westernisation, civilisation, globalisation and what have you [ 5 ]. Robert and Dibie [ 5 ]: The so-called learned elite and families no longer speak their Mother-tongues. Only [the Hausa, who mostly believe that a Nigerian who does not understand or cannot speak Hausa is not a Nigerian], the Yoruba, the Tiv, a [very] few Igbo, among a few others, still value their respective indigenous languages.
Yoruba are even decreasing greatly in the gesture. Immorality and unholy living have become the order of the day. Pervasive corruption of all kinds now characterises most African societies because of greed.
Embezzlement and misappropriation of funds besides failed leadership, elitism and misrepresentation have crept into our local politics [ 220 ].
The Nigerian Press: Current state, travails and prospects
There is no accountability in both private and public institutions anymore. Religious groups are even more corrupt now than other groups. Even the little of those who lack is exploited as religious members by their leaders.
If the media have been criticising this trend, it would have since been dropped by at least most of these leaders consciously or unconsciously.
This is where the press media have failed the common citizens who are why they are there. All these sprawl from the extreme crazy quest for modernism, civilisation and Westernism, pride, Christianity and Islam, globalisation and so on at the expense of our cultures, our rich heritage and indigenous assets.
Mimiko argues, the social fabric was completely devastated and a new culture of violence was implanted.