Nigerians Are Objective & Brutally Honest!
Saturday, 17 June 2006
There have been various reactions to CNN’s sloppy, shoddy and lopsided documentary on some Nigerians in Houston. Some Nigerians were ebullient and pugnacious in their justification and defense of CNN, but why? Shouldn’t the default position of Nigerians be to defend Nigeria? Why the sorts of auto-response to rally in support of CNN’s denigration and disparagement of Nigeria?
Nigerians must be clear, that there are no reasons or justifications for the denigrations and disparagements that American and European media seem to specially reserved for Nigeria and Africa. We should realize, as Dr. Reuben Abati of The Guardian Newspapers has pointed out, that Western media never even pretend to be politically correct, when it comes to Nigerian and African issues.
Dr. Abati discussed CNN and added the BBC which had recently aired a live program “Africa Have Your Say" in which BBC asked listeners about the perception of Nigerians Dr. Abati then commented “For sure, there are criminals in other nationalities, but in the international media and most especially CNN it is often so easy and convenient to present Nigeria as the global headquarters of crime. Frank Nweke, the Minister of Information has since protested, noting that the CNN portraiture of Nigeria was tendentious and unfair.” If the CNN were to investigate Italians and Hispanics, its investigators would find a lot to put on air, except they may not consider it politically correct to do so.
Abati’s excellent article on this important matter of Nigeria’s image is a must read.
It should be clear to us all, that Nigeria and Africa, gets no respect, mostly or even solely because we are perceived as powerless and inconsequential. Might, have always received respect; Even undeserved respect. Might is admired, feared and have always received respect, from slavery to colonialism and to the invasion and occupation of Iraq. Africa will receive respect when we have nuclear power, when we have money and when outsiders perceive dire consequences and heavy price to pay for being politically incorrect about Nigeria and Africa
Presently however, Nigeria and Africa are being told to get powerful, become a boxer or pugilist on the block or get rich, be mighty to get respect or get discounted. There is no logic or fairness in it. We are being told that we are poor people, deserving no respect.
Some Nigerians, in the face of all these, defend and justify CNN’s labeling and castigation of all Nigerians, with the impressions created by CNN on its documentary. But when will these same Nigerians, and in fact, when will all Nigerians defend Nigeria with equal passion with which some tend to always condemn and denounce anything Nigerian? Why will our best and brightest always seem to invest all their wondrous skills in defaming Nigeria, all in the name of criticisms?
How about defending Nigeria’s national interests with same vigor?
In all this CNN, and now, BBC stirred controversy regarding perception of Nigerians internationally; Those reactions that gripped my attention are the ones by some Nigerians, some who Nigerians shouted their feelings, feelings they expressed, which amounted to “oh call a spade what it is, a shovel and be done with it, they echoed in unison in support of a clearly jaundiced CNN documentary that generalized about Nigerians.
But are those sorts of reactions not just too naïve? Too simplistic and from some simpletons of Nigerian descent? Why would any Nigerian, at home or abroad, and contrary to all the evidences, accept the lazy journalism as is now common in the American and European media? In matters concerning Nigeria or even all of Africa, Western press, get careless and sloppy.
CNN, BBC and most other media, do not even attempt or pretend to aspire to political correctness. This was exemplified and exacerbated by the vexing CNN documentary on some Nigerian fraudsters in Houston.
Ninety percent of the cocaine that is supplied to the American cocaine consumers are produced and in Colombia! This is not guesstimate or the result of guesswork; it is actually based on the empirical indisputable evidence of different agencies and departments of the United States of America.
Conversely, CNN and its Nigerian supporters possessed no such empirical evidence against Nigerians! And yet, CNN aired a silly sensational documentary in which one of CNN interviewee asserted falsely, that 40% of Nigerians in the Houston area are into frauds. CNN knew and CNN ought to know, that such assertions are false.
A reasonable and diligent news organization would not have used or relied on such baseless percentage as alleged by the interviewee, but instead, CNN chose for its own malicious reasons to rely on a non-expert on Nigerians’ in Houston. CNN in depicting and portraying Nigerians in CNN’s repulsive and reprehensive documentary relied on an interviewee who is not a statistician or demographer and yet, a Nigerian abalidiegwu audaciously defended CNN and actually argued that 75% of Nigerian adults, at home and abroad, are fraudulent! http://www.nigeriavillagesquare.com/board/showthread.php?t=21025&page=2
Abalidiegwu moronically stated that “agree. Nigerian communities abroad have an image and fraud problem. so long as you live in a culture that glorifies the end as justifying the means, Nigerians will continue to seek short cuts. this is the root of our problems. CNN IS RIGHT. MY OWN ESTIMATE IS THAT 75%% OF ADULT NIGERIANS ARE CRIMMINALS.”
I guess, if it is on television and on CNN, it must be true (na oyinbo talk am)! abi?
It is completely outrageous that CNN denigrated Nigerians and Nigeria, as CNN chose. And it is with profound regret and sadness with which the rest of us Nigerians must view CNN and its Nigerians supporters. We must, with utmost disgust. It is an unacceptably offensive act and it epitomizes bad judgment on CNN’s part and on the part of its Nigerian defenders. It is distasteful to seek to justify what is clearly an extremely nauseating and repulsive documentary. It maligned Nigerians and Nigeria, in an extremely generalized manner. We must be clear about that.
It is an act of self immolation for any Nigerian to excuse those who denigrate Nigerians and Nigeria. CNN was talking about Nigeria period!
And we should not pretend that we are not all being abused and maligned.
CNN used unverifiable assertions against Nigeria. CNN cannot defend its published falsehoods by hiding behind an Area Boy in Houston, a person who simply made unsupportable claims, spurious claims which CNN was too happy to repeat. CNN repeated such falsehoods publicly, CNN in its mission to portray Nigerians and Nigeria in a predetermined unsavory manner. Any lawyer will tell CNN that if you commit slander and or libel, you are liable; Furthermore, that your repeat of a slander or libel, even though already committed by someone else or by other entity, your liability is not removed, it might diminish quantum of damages, but it does not excuse your liability. You are independently liable, jointly and severally liable, in conjunction with the first offending publisher of the slander or libel.
The first defamer may be defendant number one, and you will take your turn as defendant number two etc, to the degree or extent of your liability. It is not the case that you are exonerated because you were merely repeating the offensive statements of slander or libel. Hence you verify and ascertain before you publish and this is why reputable media house employ facts-checkers!
Some Nigerians have sought to ‘explain’ and excuse CNN by stating that the forty-percent statements in the documentary was nothing CNN said, but instead, it was by a Nigerian /African interviewee. To that, I say hogwash! The question I would like to ask such Nigerian is this, would CNN broadcaster a documentary in which a Nigerian assert that 40% of the population in American use cocaine or that 40% of the people in America are violent criminals? Would CNN rely and broadcast an assertion as such, by a Nigeria/African interviewee? Would CNN broadcast such disparagements against the US, especially, where the assertions are not based on hard facts and solid evidence?
John Gotti is an Italian American, so was Paul Costellano before him, and Ditto Vincent Gigante etc, they were all friends in organized crimes, also known as the Mafia. How could it be possibly fair to judge the average Italian, Italian American by the standard of these Mafioso?
A Nigerian who goes by the name Naija for Life at www.nigeriavillagesquare.com has actually made my arguments and contentions, when he asserted that the nation of Switzerland is known for being bankers of looters, but the Western Press only barrage us with stories about Swiss Alps and ski resorts and all the good stuff about the Swiss.
Just when I thought that we have heard enough bizarre efforts by some Nigerians in defense and justifications for CNN’s denigration of Nigerians and Nigeria; then came Mr. Wayo Guy! Who is Nigerian lawyer in Washington DC; Perhaps it is better that Mr. Wayo Guy should be promptly ignored? Who takes advice or chastisement from a way guy anyways? Mr. Wayo Guy with countless clichés and anecdotal spews, he lectured us on why we should light candles and desist from cursing the darkness et al.
He insisted that our government should have looked for two or perhaps more Nigerians to rebut CNN interviewee assertion that 40% of the Nigerians in Houston are up to no good. Truth is, Mr. Alaibo and Mr. Adujie are Nigerians living in the United States. Both of them, in published opinions, have debunked the forty-percent spoil rate crap by the CNN interviewee! What rebuttal is enough for this Mr. Wayo Guy? Or for any wayo-man for that matter?
Mr. Wayo Guy also naively believed that CNN is not mindful of what it does and so, there is no “conspiracy” against Nigeria through CNN riff raff documentary. When CNN or any Western media write stories about the United States or say, Israel, they are alive to the possibility of vocal and vociferous reactions and defense of the US and or Israel!
Western media engage in circumspection in stories about America and Europe.
But when it comes to Nigeria and Africa, western media do not generally expect reactions to whatever lies they spurn about us. They do not expect reactions or adverse consequences for maligning and lampooning us. Western Press engage in no political correctness in their Nigerian African coverage or stories, precisely because, they do not anticipate consequences as part of the equation. They do not ever expect anyone to exact a cost from them, a cost or price for doing the wrong thing. Just imagine CNN’s attitude, if CNN thought that doing a stupid story or documentary on Nigeria will cost them money or viewership?
In the case of Nigeria, on the other hand, CNN and other Western media can always be sure to trust tepid reactions and even arguments by some Nigerians like Mr. Wayo Guy and others, defending the offending CNN and justifying CNN sexed up salacious and gratuitously insulting trash called documentary by CNN!
Would CNN similarly rely on an unverified assertions or claims by a non-expert, non-statistician without empirical data as CNN relied on, to make spurious conclusions about Nigeria… if CNN was doing a similar documentary on the nations of Israel, the USA or Italy? My Jewish friends will call CNN anti Semitic if CNN tried these shenanigans on Jews! But Nigerians are easy targets, because we are so objective and brutally honest about ourselves and our country, especially when Nigerians and Nigeria are castigated by foreigners, Dianne Abbott or by CNN!
Thank goodness for Nigerians such Mr. Ebi Bozimo and this Naija For Life fellow, otherwise you are forced to wonder why every Nigerian, or some of them, seems to be in their most objective, brutally honest when it comes to damning fellow Nigerians and Nigeria! Whatever happened to the idea, maxim, to the effect, nobody does cooking better than your mother? Why are so many Nigerians in the business of always assuming that the foods cooked by other moms are ALWAYS preferable and better than foods cooked by their own mother? CNN, BBC and others, in their portrayals of some Nigerians with unsavory characters, do not isolate their depictions, these negative depictions are extrapolated in effect to cover all Nigerians. Mr. Wale Akin just made that point again regarding how decent Nigerians are treated in airplanes, airports and in banks in the UK!
Some Nigerians deceive themselves, in thinking they are decent and sexy, so that when CNN and BBC and other media houses castigate, stigmatize and malign Nigerians and Nigeria, it does not include them. But the truth is, they are referring to you, to you, to all Nigerians! They make no distinctions, neither do their viewers or listeners. CNN and BBC cater to a world with short attention span. A world that is unwilling to engaged in analyses required to separate Nigerians with virtues from Nigerians with vices. Especially, when these issues relate, touch and concern Nigeria or Africa; the inconvenient part of the world?
Too many Nigerians tend to always, always, give the benefit of the doubt to foreign institutions and foreign governments, but are loathe to belief in and applaud anything that Nigerians and Nigeria does! Some Nigerians are too quick to assume that Americans and Europeans are always dealing with us in altruistic and benevolent manners and that they are acting in good faith! But geopolitics and world affairs is like a soccer game, everyone plays for his team to win.
Why is it? That some Nigerians wax and waltz most eloquently, only when they criticize Nigeria, why can’t these Nigerians put their eloquence to use, in Nigeria’s defense? Nigeria’s national purpose vide national interests