Nigerian Leaders Have No Direction…. Legal Practitioner.
There is no doubting the fact that journalists, especially in Nigeria have become an endanger specie in the course of discharging their constitutional responsibility. To worsen the matter is the non-payment of salary by their employers, majorly the privately-owned organisations. In this Interview, a Lagos base legal practitioner, Barr. Evan Ufeli, who spoke with Victoria Hanson on safety of Journalists, the youth and other salient issues, submitted that Nigerian leaders lack direction.
What Should Journalists Do To Avoid Getting Into Trouble?
Well, I think journalists should try as much as possible apart from the knowledge of the profession, to also understudy the Nigerian society properly. This is a society where people are easily lynched, sometimes people are set up for offences they did not commit, sometimes journalists are harassed , their right are being infringed upon, the society is highly an illiterate one. Sometimes they go to a society where area boys ceased their camera and recorder from them. It denied them of their right, so if you are a journalist and you work in an highly illiterate society, you need to understand the indices much more than getting your job done. You need to also understand the practical nuisance of people in a society like this. What I mean is that journalists should also acquire training on how to safeguard themselves, because they are usually maltreated by people in the society that do not understand the role of journalists.
A journalist is the last hope of a common man, even though the common man does not know. But that is the irony in it. Journalists in doing their job, must also educate the society properly on the constitutional responsibility that they are saddled with to hold government accountable for the people. The 1999 constitution as amended in section 38, subsection 39, made provisions for media practitioners to be discharging their responsibilities as well.
Why Was Defamation Act Established Against Journalists?
Well, defamation act was enacted to checkmate the possibilities of publishing defamatory and libellous information against individual,
During the military era, there were a lot of laws enacted to curtail the operation of journalists, majorly, because the military did not want to abuse its fold, why journalists serve as agenda setter for government. Firstly, the law is meant to checkmate the excessive of some journalists because they are also guilty of what they don’t know, sometimes rumour. As at that time the freedom of information bill was not available and once there is no information, rumours must set in. Rumours then became a channel in which people extracts stories. That was why the Act was enacted, we also have other Acts that was enacted.
Back To Nigerian Situation, You Said Any Society That Neglects Education Is Not Ready For Change, How Will Education Brings About Change To Nigeria?
Now, this is what education does, there is this saying that ‘’Education is the ornament of prosperity and value,’’. Education, first of all enlightens the mind and individual itself, everything that evolves round is from the mind, the level of intellection of man determines the nature of working, it means that you find it either progressive or retrogressive and a lot of them. So, if man is the major, it is the role of man to acquire education because education is what will set the pace for development, if man is properly educated, we would not be talking about journalists being lynched or their cameras being snatched from them. and where you have a few that are not properly educated, the well-educated ones will over shadow them. But here we have more of the uneducated ones, so the voices of uneducated tend to overpower the educated. The way education develops a community cannot be over emphasized because education is first of all, apart from the fact that it gives you the ability to think for yourself, I’m not talking about certification, certification is different as well, there are people carrying certification as education, certification is not education. Education simply means developing your inner person. which means to be built from within. When people are properly educated especially in Nigeria, we will have a better bill, when the president is talking about national income, budgeting, GDP, the average person understands and then it makes it easier for them to go and ask intelligent questions and make informed choices. but when people are far away from what the government is doing, then there is a huge gap in implementation. they will always take laws into their hands because they do not understand the process of anything.
Moreover, Nigeria is a big nation, therefore excuses shouldn’t be given for lack of performance because Nigeria has been in recession for a very long time. Nigeria has never been good. Let me tell you at my age now, I don’t know what is good governance. We were born into deprivation and we are still living in deprivation, so for me I think for me the recession started even before we were born so it is not a question of what should have been given out in this time of recession. The governor in Nigeria don’t have direction, providing roads , providing water and electricity is not good governance. It is the primary objective of the people you were voted into power.so implement the fundamental objective and direct principle provides the bases for citizens to aspire to whatever height they need to aspire to.so it is annoying when a governor says he has tarred a road to the people of the state, here is a governor who doesn’t understands his role so he converted that into a gift because we were born into deprivation.
What Do You mean When You said Nigerian youths are Not ready For Leadership?
Well, I said that because of the kind of things the youths have been occupied with. The youths have been occupied with entertainment and sports and they have all the information in those areas. Now is not wrong or bad to have an in depth knowledge for entertainment and sports, but am saying that if you have that understanding of entertainment and sports and you don’t understands the precept of governance, you don’t understand the tools for economic analysis, you may not be able to confront the leadership of Nigeria with ignorance.So Nigerian youths should begin to divert their attention to things that matters apart from entertainment and sports, they should begin to ask question like what are the tools of measuring national income, what are the tools for economic analysis, what is budgeting, what kind of budget do we operate, do we operate in zero budgeting or any other kind of budget system? What kind of political economy do we run, how can we make it? So by the time the youths begin to ask this question, then they would have transcend into the main stream. We need to question that and say no the youths must also be involved, before we protest or before we go on a civil work , we should have understanding of the workings of governance, not just entertainment and sports that we are buried in, we must get to know how government works. It is when we know that, that we can begin to have intelligent questions that will begin to make informed choices of life.
What Message Do You Have For The Youths Regarding Unemployment?
In as much as we are calling on the government to create enabling environment for Nigerian to aspire to any height they want to aspire to develop themselves beyond the structures of academic pursuit, the youths must be able to diversify and recreate, because now the world is getting towards the knowledge of economy where people can become creative, even in the media. In the past few years, we’ve seen some online media owned by young stars and they are bringing all into deep creativity and they made a lot of progress and wealth like online PR, blogging, there are those who are into other things. So, what you need to do as a Nigerian youths if you cannot find a job, look at the environment and identify what the people need. I think for them to be going from one uncle to another is not the best. What you need to do Is to package a proposal, go and meet a rich man and tell him there is a particular business you want to repackage, he will listen to you than when you are coming for value but you are not bringing value. so by the time you present some vital information to him, if I place this one, this is what the result will turn out to be, I have a strategy mapped out, this is how to go about it. then he will listen to you. Before you know it, you have gotten the employment you wanted, but if you go about with your CV and asking for money or seeking for employment, you have a very long way to go. People are looking for value givers, people who can bring that ex-change that will promote a core about an idea, that is what Nigerian youths need. Until we begin to see ourselves as individual who must create a platform for ourselves. Government is not going to create a platform for everyone, government is going to try to create enabling environment that will provide basis or much more than basis, life transcends basis so if you want to clinch it, you need to be exceptional in your field or whatever area you are studying multi and extra courses, if go online develop yourself, get proposals and talk about it on social media, send out information with your contact, let people know this is what you can, before you know it something will come out of it and your cosmic administration as heard will amplify your voice and your information will be heard and you will be called.
Do You See Change In Any way For Nigeria?
Well, the question is so broad, how this Nigeria can be changed. The first thing is the individual. Let me start from the human angle, we must first of all begin to demand for our rights. Our socio – economic right as enshrine in chapter 12 of the constitution, there is no country that has succeeded on the face of planet earth that the citizen did not push for the implementation of socio – economic right. What are socio- economic right, section 33 of the constitution: we have a right to life, from there it transcends to freedom of expression, education, then we have so many other right so I have answered the question since the beginning of the interview. We will change that when we begin to push for our socio – economic right that is one. Two is when we begin to hold government accountable with their manifestos and when we begin to vote in credible leaders, not when we are given bags of rice or we are given handout or we are given N2000 naira to vote. Until we change that, until we extricate this poverty mentality. The mentality of getting things pampering and sacrificing a long-term pursuit enslaving ourselves for the rest of our lives, get 2000 naira and enslave for the next 4 years. Until we change that, Nigeria will not change.