By Tunji Ajibade.
It is fine when a man has his praise singers. Praise-singing is a section in the creative industry that’s a major cash earner, so I support it. The Abia State Mass Choir is creative. My concern is that choirs which are set up everywhere to praise God now praise man in Abia State. Someone has said the woman who leads the Abia choir to sing the praise of Governor Okezie Ikpeazu in a TV advert dramatises well. But Christians out there would recall that after the David-Goliath encounter, women were the ones who praised David until they got him into trouble with King Saul. One shouldn’t also forget that all the kings in the Bible who used dedicated vessels in God’s temple for purposes other than to serve God paid dearly for it.
Not long after I pointed that abnormality in Abia State out on this page (July 27, 2018), another choir group in Rivers State began to praise Governor Nyesom Wike on TV. They go further to adore Wike as though he’s their God. “Anything you say, we go do; Anytime you vex, we go vex.” they sang all the way into this November. That, in a state where Christian leaders should be appalled and insist Wike who likes standing on their altars should stop it. There’s something distasteful, indelicate, and untidy about this and I’m surprised the choir members and those who promote them don’t sense it. I suppose it’s an indication of what the God of heaven means to the people who encourage this vanity fair. Their governors can share in the use of God’s vessels and it’s normal. This can only happen in places where mere mortals have begun to take themselves seriously. We know a church choir is an exclusive vessel unto the Maker of mankind. If state governors must praise themselves, they should deploy secular praise singers.
To other matters. Television stations continue to allow their reporters get away with unpardonable errors. How can journalism improve here if news editors and news producers don’t put their foot down regarding basic professional practices? I’ve stated this before on this page but it’s getting worse on most TV stations. Not long ago at the time when Mrs Josephine Anenih’s 70th birthday party was shown on AIT, four guests spoke with the AIT reporter about the celebrator. None of them was identified on screen by their names. At least, I saw the wife of the governor of Imo State as well as Mrs Ifueko Omoigui, former Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service. If the personal details of such public figures weren’t taken by journalists in such a well-organised setting, what shall we expect when they conduct interviews in a rowdy environment? One thing that I do which ensures I get personal details even under difficult conditions is to ask my interviewees to first mention their names and the appropriate designation they want before I start the interview. That way, personal details are part of my recording and I find them when I need them. News editors at the AIT shouldn’t allow their reporters to continue to get away with reports that don’t contain the names of their interviewees. It gives a certain impression about them and their reporters.
The US president, Donald Trump, baffles as ever. The last time he showed up in Europe, it was all drama from the first day. He got to a summit in Brussels and was telling other leaders off. Blunt diplomacy is what Trump engages in, not the usual pampering of America’s allies. He was accused of being close to the Russians whose gut the Europeans claimed they hated because of the annexation of the Crimea by Moscow. In response, Trump said, “Germany get 60 per cent of their energy from pipeline from Russia”. So, he asked to be told how Germany wasn’t in a cozier relationship with the Russians than himself. He inferred that Germany was even working against the interest of the West by depending on an outsider for its energy supply. He went on to say all the things an American leader was not known to say so openly against Allies. He said he had doubled America’s defence spending to four per cent from two per cent set for all NATO members. He said the Europeans were cheating the Americans by spending less to defend the free world. Subtly, his European hosts said there were disagreements during the Summit, but they and the Americans were better together. Meanwhile, Trump did all of that to please his people back home. He had promised a cheering American crowd before he left the US that he would challenge Germany during the Summit to live up to her leadership role and stop cheating Americans by paying less in NATO: “I will say to Angela; ‘Angela-’” he had promised. He did deliver on his promise to his people that time. For me, the Trump drama that time says only one thing to politicians in Nigeria: People. People. People, first.
Like most TV stations, WAP TV displayed a little laxity not long ago. In the course of the latest lunar eclipse, its scroll bar had this: “Nigeria to experience total lunar eclipse Friday.” That information was displayed on a Sunday night, two clear days after the globally-advertised lunar eclipse had happened. I had pointed out on this page in the past how TV stations often failed to be current regarding the information in their scroll bars. This leaves impressions on viewers. One of them is about which TV station is the best to tune to when current and reliable information is needed.
The Independent National Electoral Commission defended its budget for the 2019 election at the National Assembly not long ago. INEC’s boss said they needed N189 billion. Asked why the amount was that high, he said INEC needed to buy food for the military, the police etc. He said INEC can’t give its workers meals while the officers guarding them go hungry. However, we know provision has been made for this in the budget for each of the armed formations. INEC’s concern is understandable. But its approach is a shortcut that I’ve insisted on this page doesn’t help accountability, probity and responsible leadership on the part of the armed formations that have charge of the allotted funds. Rather than encourage this shortcut, the National Assembly should question the process that makes funds unavailable for the assignment for which they are allotted. The different armed formations as well as the executive branch of the government should be engaged to ensure funds meant for specific assignments are not held up for any reason whatsoever at any level. Anything short of this breeds corruption and absence of probity.
On a few occasions, I’ve had reasons to think newscasters on TVC News sit too close together on set. I’ve not seen such arrangement on any other TV station. That of July 19, 2018 on TVC News at 6:34pm was too noticeable, distracting even. The shoulders of the two female newscasters were hardly one small ruler apart. Do they need to sit that close? It doesn’t look good to me, really. However, when two female newscasters sat on November 22, 2018, at 10pm, it was fine, normal. I think the news producer should set a sitting standard that mustn’t be breached.
Stakeholders continue to proffer solution to the challenge that the NNPC poses to this nation. The more we think this corporation will get better, the worse the revelation of sleaze that we get. Lately there is a N9tn mess the NNPC is involved in. There is also oil subsidy that it denies exists. We don’t see solution to major problems that confront this nation. But we learn about funds that are missing all the time. Many have accused the NNPC of being the main means by which a huge proportion of our funds are siphoned. It didn’t start today though. Not long ago, Governor Abdul’aziz Yari of Zamfara State said since the NNPC fleeces the nation through subsidy claims that only the corporation could verify, then each state should verify what it consumes each day as oil and pay the exact amount. He’s of the view that such a step will help reduce the humongous amount leaking from the NNPC’s ever leaky pockets. I believe we should give Yari’s proposal a thought.
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