SAHARA REPORTER: NATIONAL SECURITY AND SOWORE’S AMBITION
It is a popular saying and believe that leadership is a major challenge in Nigeria, however, in as much as this is a reality that needs urgent attention, ineffective followership and failures of followers is one of the cancerous cells that has made this nation bed ridden for a long time. If the urgent attention and treatment is to be properly focused and channelled to get a better result, then the treatment should begin from the followers. Over time, the nation has forgotten that leaders grow or develop out of followers and if you don’t follow well, you can never lead well. As you follow, you also lead at your immediate sphere, so, what are the antecedents of such follower at that level of leadership. The nation is in its present state because much focus has been on the leadership at the top gear of governance, we have forgotten the roles of parents as leaders in their homes. We have forgotten the role of teachers; who though are followers, but are important leaders at their own sphere.
When as a teacher, you trade grades for flesh and other material inducement, you are a danger to the society When you inflate invoices and randomly cheat your customers, you are also a nuisance to the society.
When you beg for marks for poor students that are better off learning trades and crafts or you took part in sustaining the ‘innumerable miracle centres’ where results are minted for students, you are directly and vicariously liable for catalysing the death of the society.
When you wake up and curse Naija and its leaders, you are speaking misery into all our future. The list is endless. But all of these are every day actions and choices of citizens, not leaders, that invariably determine whether our society will look like a paradise or hell on earth.
We also seems to have completely forgotten the roles of Local Government Chairmen who also are followers, but an important leader at their level. Media owners, nollywood stars, military personnel etc are all followers and leaders at their own levels. The failure of these developmental agents, will rub off on the whole nation. Many of them have failed in their responsibility as followers and junior leaders, hence, when they climb the ladder of governance, they failed woefully!!!!! A potential leader who is not patriotic as a follower, can never be a patriotic leader. One could therefore likened Mr Omoyele Sowore as unpatriotic based on his Sahara reporters’ activities.
Patriotism is the quality of being patriotic; devotion to and vigorous support for one’s country. A facebook User @Revolution Sokoto 2023 fascinated me with his thought on patriotism. He said, “Hypocrisy is not Patriotism. Party politics is not patriotism. Followership is not patriotism. Supporting and upholding the best interest of the country 1st before other things is called patriotism.” In my interpretation, aspiring to be a governor or president does not mean you love your nation, carrying placard to protest government policies does not mean you love your nation, while some are paid to do that, many protest leaders do it for financial reward and other selfish interests. In 1993, Chief MKO Abiola closest buddies who carried placards together with him later abandoned him and the people. So, patriotism is beyond all these aluta continua, paparazzi and show off, some citizens do for cheap publicity. A patriotic citizen will consider his country first, will gauge his utterances and actions in order not to have any negative implication on the nation, the people and especially, its national security. Hence, even when criticising government policies, he doesn’t compromise the interest of the nation and its national security.
National security, according to Science Daily is the requirement to maintain the survival of the state through the use of economic power, diplomacy, power projection and political power. The U.S. Department of Defense defines power projection as the “ability of a nation to apply all or some of its elements of national power—political, economic, informational, or military—to rapidly and effectively deploy and sustain forces in and from multiple dispersed locations to respond to crises, to contribute to deterrence, and to enhance regional stability. Force projection could be within and outside the country. As stated in the definition, information is one of the elements of force projection and national security, here is where the media comes in.
Role Of Media in National Security
Therefore, a nation facing challenges of terrorism needs to unleash it full scale informational elements to achieve deterrence and to project force into the military objectives where possibly, boots cannot be put on the ground. In this case, such nation needs the support of both the public and private sector media outfits to collaborate in fighting common enemies. The media should rise to their expectation and use their power judiciously or else national security will continue to be threatened.
Newsmen are expected to feed the public with information capable of promoting peace and
development. Government is after national interest or public interest and on their part to hear
positive information or news favourable to them from the media who are expected to promote
harmony and safety of their environment.
However, where some unpatriotic elements own a media outfit, they tend to use it against the state, thinking, that is the beauty of media entrepreneurship. Some see the media as a tool for aluta continua, not understanding the power of the media and developmental reporting in nation building. It is unfortunate that the concept of citizen journalism and the advent of ICT allowed such unprofessional media literates or maybe professional media illiterates to have a glimpse of the noble profession of journalism. One of such media illiterates could be likened to Mr Omoyele Sowore’s Sahara Reporter.
Mr Sowore contested the 2023 elections to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari. This will be the second time he will be contesting for the position as he was the candidate of the African Action Congress (AAC) in the 2019 presidential election. He established Sahara Reporters in 2006 to promote citizen journalism by encouraging everyday people to report stories about corruption, human rights abuses and other political misconduct in Africa, with special focus on Nigeria. What a great feat! While this is a great feat, the failure is the approach of reportage of Mr Sowore’s Sahara Reporter as a tool to shame the country, to destabilise the state, promote disunity, to embarrass the Nation and its agencies; the Nation you plan to lead and claims that you love. He takes delight in embarrassing the institutions that brought him to this level, he sits without scrutinising the editorial process so they could apply some decorum. Secured Naija is not against criticism, but criticism should be objective, pro-development and be done with common sense which actually is not common.
One of the major felons of Sowore are the security agencies in Nigeria. Sowore’s Sahara Reporter has so many times attempted to embarrass the Police, the Nigerian Armed Forces, especially, the Nigerian Army. It takes glory in reporting subjective stories about the armed forces without recourse to hearing from their spokesman or checking back. This is called, balancing the story. This is highly against the ethics and principles of journalism. The media house enjoys ruining the reputation of these institutions in the forefront of our Nation’s national security for a shine! They possibly opined that breaking the news, even when it is not true or when not suitable for public consumption is a plus to their CV. They play politics or do business with sensitive issues as serious as national security and agencies that safeguard it. The media house hardly report the successes recorded in the counter insurgency operations of the Nigerian Armed Forces while giving credit to stories that boost the morale of insurgents and puncturing the morale of his own countrymen. This is sad.
The sad truth is that Sahara Reporters has infiltrated and corrupted so many systems in Nigeria with its style of investigative journalism. The principal preaches against corruption but leads a media outfit that buys peoples’ conscience, compromise principles and promote indiscipline in organisations. The organisation encourages staff to screenshot sensitive documents, manipulate pictures, make voice recording against organisational ethics and victims’ moral principles. It becomes very disturbing when such activities are extended to sensitive sectors like Defence.
Nobody has been able to confront Sowore and his Sahara reporters on these critical issues, but Secured Naija, though a start-up, but we shall speak the truth and be objective in our criticism as we are hopeful for a great future for the Nation where sycophants and unpatriotic elements must repent or be bypassed.
What is expected of Sahara Reportes and its Principal(s)
Be objectively proactive about issues of public concern
Stop spreading indiscipline among Nigerians and avoid creating state of distrust in organisations as every staff is weary of other, nobody knows who Sahara as planted to illegally take official sensitive documents
Show true patriotism
Demonstrate appreciable values and virtues
Constructively engage the system
Render constructive criticism and proffer solutions
Practice developmental journalism
Be fair in your reportage
Remember, Nigeria first, only then can we see signs of seriouness and virtue of leadership in your principal. Nobody will vote for a commander in chief who does not have the interest of the Armed Forces he wants to command at heart. What goes around comes around.