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Media Pallying: The True Sense Of It

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By Moses Okpogode

Most Nigerians are panicky as the economy seem headed for the rocks. The currency is on a free fall as manufacturers take a hit from the central bank’s restrictive foreign-exchange policy. The uncertainty is palpable. The average Nigerian is confounded, petrified even, that the economy may fail to rebound at this rate as it groans under the strain and weariness of a 12-year low crude oil prices.

While the situation remains worrisome, the administration seems clueless, at the very least, or unperturbed, at worse, by the economic suffocation inflicted on the masses. The government plays up its trump card of anti-corruption, back-up by the now almost soap opera-like unending drama of probes, media prosecution and the promise to recovery stolen loot. Of course, closely related to the daily drama of arraignment of accused persons, detained suspects and the bail subplot.

But the public people remain curious, if not disappointed, so far as the anti-corruption circus continues. Supporters of this administration seem very concerned that the media campaigns against corruption could be loosing steam, especially as the government that rode to power on the promise of change continue to disregard court rulings on bail of allegedly corrupt members of the past administration. Lai Mohammed’s recent concerted consultations with various media stakeholders to solicit support and loyalty lays credence to the fact. Especially as it’s becoming apparent that an anti-corruption campaign ,hitherto shouldered selflessly by the media, is starting to wane.

Unfortunately the more change is promised, the more things remain the same. No roads. No jobs. No improvements in the power situation. No infrastructures are been added. In fact, things seem to be worse than the previous administration left them. Budgets implemented in the past eight months have been on recurrents, most overhead and personnel costs including payments of salaries (which continues to be delayed), foreign trips, payments of military allowances in the fight against Boko haram. Amidst all this, fuel crisis loom over inabilities at securing letters of credit to the tune of $4.2 billion and on the repayment of loans acquired by oil marketers.

A time-bomb like the issue of Niger delta militants’ threat are taken lightly, treated almost as inconsequential matters. For the government, its a one-way street of loot recovery. The the ordinary man on the streets is expected to toe the line but they are unable as the economic strain continue to bite harder. For owners of small businesses and industries, it’s even worse. They have long rested their case, like we say, as credit facilities are a forlorn hope made worse by the mirage of power despite a new regime of higher tariffs.

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The youths who were promised N5000 naira by the administration have long withdrawn into their shells because the budget to which their allowances have been tied, even if they have to resort to being farm attendants, is mired in controversy. They are still amused by how a budget was not withdrawn as claimed by spin doctors of the government but got it figures changed in a new submission to the Senate by President Muhammadu Buhari. While they have not stopped in their admiration of the President’s integrity, most youths are worried about lies that pervades in governance.

Trust is still in the air but with the application of caution because since the youths hero promised in the United States of America that it is reeling out the names of those who stole our yams last October but all they have seen is the accused, the allegations and their charges. Neither the Governor of the central bank, custodian of the treasury, nor the Finance Minister seems to be aware that anyone has returned any loot and where it was deposited.

All they have continue to hear and seen replayed are the dramas that have dominated headlines. Issues bothering on contempt of courts, bogus allegations and anti grafts’ weightless charges hanging on the noose of the accused persons. These days when you put on the television and people see those scenes that now look orchestrated all they bark out is frustrations turned against the supposed ineptitude of media houses over lack of contents.

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People are worried that a country that relies on oil and the accompanying fallen oil prices should refrain from increasing budgetary allocations on frivolities that gave it reasons to query the previous administrations’ spendings as an opposition. Majority of the people are now sad that government has to continually sit on the neck of the media tribunals to sustain its campaigns against corruption when it holds the power and prima facie cases against accused persons. Why should a minister be obsessed about meeting with all stakeholders in the media industry at least twice in a month with all its genuine cases against the societal corruptions when it has journalists at its beck and call every other day on whatever clarifications.

Such exercises are in futility but affirms the Presidents’ earlier position that the ministers are ‘noise makers’ after all. Because in every government the work is suppose to speak for itself. It’s not about owning the media or making media friends at a time the opposition is so weakened; but on taking the right steps toward achieving enduring legacies by bringing about the change promised both obvious and the intangibles, in all spheres of our national life. And not allow a Donald Trump to smear us as rogues and thieves because our leader takes every opportunity to carpet Nigerians as corrupt at foriegn public forums without recourse on the overall implications of such statements to the generality of the citizenry. Unfortunately for the citizens, it is mostly the public servants and their permanent civil cousins that have recorded more cases of high profile corruption than the man on the streets since the formation of this republic in 1963.