A nation is as transparent as its media. A nation is also as corrupt as its media. The more corrupt a nation’s media is, the more corrupt that nation is also. In fact, the corruption of a nation is directly proportional to the corruption of its media. You can also replace the word ‘media’ with ‘social critics’ and the import of the sentence is still the same.
Why am I reflecting on the media and social critics today? A few weeks ago, we were regaled with news of allegations of Babatunde Fashola’s corrupt acts – the 2 boreholes that cost N139m, the untraceable construction project in Onikan that cost N1.2b, the personal website he upgraded with N78m and the several choice plots of land he hurriedly allocated at the end of his tenure which Ambode has reversed.
When ‘they’ saw that not only will Fashola be demystified but even their own Asiwaju may win the battle but he may never win the war, Asiwaju released a statement to bury the case. How many people remember the case of the 2 beds in Ekiti Government House purchased at N50m each by Fayemi?
How about the N3.3b Ekiti Government House? How about the role being reversed and Ayo Fayose were to be the one who purchased the beds or built the mansion? Where was the outrage when the news broke that Aregbesola purchased a helicopter? Does anyone know the cost of the helicopter? And this same Ogbeni will be shouting about transparency and accountability? Can you imagine how the heavens will fall if Ayo Fayose purchases a helicopter? Or if he tries to build an airport in Ekiti like Ogbeni is doing in Osun?
Now, not even a single media outfit has carried the news in the past one week. The case has been buried and we are back to feasting on Jonathan and his ‘goons’. Sahara Reporters? Ha, don’t mention. Premium Times? One day, they will just wake up from their self-induced slumber and do FACT CHECK. Vocal social media critics like Pius Adesanmi and others released updates of convenience.
Their words were carefully crafted – no bile, no disgust, no angst. They refused to even mobilize their social media followers like they did against other politicians not in their good books. Curiously, Femi Falana was also quiet. Did you hear any word from Festus Keyamo on “Fasholagate” while it lasted? Did the revered Prof Itse Sagay say anything? What of even the most respected Wole Soyinka?
Does it mean corruption is corruption only when it is carried out by Diezani and the likes but the definition changes when ‘poster boy’ Fashola is involved? Social activism died and was buried with Gani Fawehinmi. That is why I can’t be bothered if Femi Falana is made the Attorney General of the nation today. The man in him worships at Asiwaju’s temple. The real Femi Falana died a long time ago.
Fashola is back on the speaking circuit. His sins have been forgiven since Asiwaju has said so. No one has investigated further. No questions asked. The list of contract awards has disappeared from Lagos State’s website. Case is closed since the quarrel has been settled. Let’s all start calling Jonathan a thief again. Yes, we only have one thief in Nigeria. And his name is Jonathan.
That is one of the reasons I don’t believe this government (FG) will fight corruption successfully. Let Buhari commit a faux pas and the media will be used against him to bring him down – just the same way the media was used against Jonathan.
And for the social activists? They are waiting for Asiwaju’s whistle.
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