Friday, 4 November 2011

Nigeria: The NEXT awards expose an unconscionable kakistocracy

Our pride

It is always heartening to read of Nigerians winning awards or receiving international recognition for their work most especially if they are resident in Nigeria.

At the best of times, it is not the easiest country to set up business in and going from the experience of some, it is even harder to be a newspaper and a quality newspaper at that.

A few weeks ago, we were informed that the NEXT newspaper will no more appear in print, many lamented the prospect whilst opining about the course that newspaper charted that made it a pariah to advertising agencies thereby starving it of essential revenue to thrive.

NEXT was the best

This blog is not being written as an exegesis to those failings; those issues are for others to ponder. However, accolades have been raining on the newspaper like Noah’s flood; last week, Dele Olojede the founder won [1] the 4th John P. McNulty Prize and the citation read “in recognition of his ground breaking work to deliver unbiased information to the Nigerian public, demand government transparency and advance journalistic standards in the country.

On Tuesday, at the FAIR [2] (Forum for African Investigative Reporters) African Investigative Journalism Awards in Johannesburg, South Africa, NEXT reporters Peter Nkanga and Idris Akinbajo emerged as African Investigative Reporters of the Year for their joint work, entitled “Last Minutes Oil Deal that Cost Nigeria Dear” whilst the editor Musikilu Mojeed carted away the Courage Award.

Courage in the abyss

It is important to recount the citations that accompany these awards; in the case of the reporters, “The report is one of the six-part ground-breaking series which catalogued a courageous journey into our heart of darkness, the oil industry, as we investigate brazen attempts by our senior officials, including petroleum minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke, to corner the oil industry for themselves, openly demanding bribes, and using cronies and fronts to grab oil blocs in secretive deals.

Having compiled their report, it was left to the editor to weigh the consequences of the age-old saying, “publish and be damned,” he courageously published the report and for that he “was honoured for demonstrating rare courage and providing the right kind of leadership to get the stories published in spite of high-level pressures, police harassment, attempted monetary inducement and threats to his life.

They never cared for corruption

From the analysis that followed awarding these prizes to the now eminent personnel of NEXT, it was suggested that in any other country less corrupt and less tolerant of malfeasance, prebendalism or neopatrimonialism, the minister will not only have lost her job in disgrace, she would duly have lost her freedom too, having to go to jail.

Sadly, it is Nigeria where with all the incontrovertible facts and evidence presented to all that matter, the President with his transformational agenda re-nominated the minister for her old position after the elections and the Nigerian Senate being derelict, irresponsible and nonchalant about these rotten allegations barely questioned her but ratified her appointment thereby granting a seal of approval to a corrupt enterprise that reeked to the high heavens.

The award corroborates the reports

Now, there is no reason for FAIR to wade into the political quagmire of Nigeria and expose the sows with their snouts deep in the trough of corruption, they could easily have adopted other less politically inflammatory pieces to grant their award.

Each entry would have been judged on more than its merits for good reporting but would have been reviewed against the kinds of pressures militating against such activity being exposed to public knowledge.

It automatically lends a lie to the idea that everything that constitutes this government we now have in Nigeria with the majority PDP ruling party have a desire to tackle corruption at any level. They instigate, promote, espouse and embrace corruption as their modus operandi suborning as many as can be bought to that same cause.

They are a corrupt lot

Where the President might have had the backbone to stem the tide at the top, he acquiesced and celebrated the epitome of corruption as the lifeblood of his regime and in swearing-in the minister gave license to impunity, the minister probably continuing from where she left off knowing nothing will come of the investigations of the puny inconsequential reporters of the moribund NEXT newspaper stable.

With this award, one will hope the whole Corrupted Industrial Complex (CIC) that makes up the totality of the Federal Government of Nigeria is duly exposed to the world and our foreign partners that they have no consideration for good governance, probity or transparency and sadly, Nigerians thinking they have a democracy are in fact, caught in the merciless iron grip of a heartless and unconscionable kakistocracy – a government by the worst of men.

For the salvation of Nigeria – woe betide them all.

Sources

[1] 234Next.com | Olojede wins John P. McNulty Prize

[2] 234Next.com | NEXT editor, two reporters win African investigative journalism awards

[3] 234Next.com | Last minute oil deals that cost Nigeria dear

1 comment: