It is often said that in the world of the blind man, the Cyclops must be crowned King. Hence, in a world that has become dominated by the media, whoever controls the media, controls the masses. In Nigeria today, what many people do not know is that there has been a systematic scheme of one man to dominate the daily news, influence the outcome of events, and control the opinions of the Nigerian masses through the media.
The media in general, has historically been used to inform and educate people about the happenings around them. Over the years, since the advent of print and digital media, people have come to trust that the news that they receive everyday is in all actuality a narrative of the events that occurred. However, this is not always the case.
In Nigeria today, the media has derailed from being an informative ‘watchdog’ entity that keeps institutions honest and accountable by shedding light to the people on the events that happen in the dark corridors of power. This derailment, has led to the media becoming a negative tool that is used to promote lies and confusion; brainwash the public; and push certain parochial interests.
These days, it is a common practice for politicians to attempt to own a medium of mass communication, simply to control the flow of information in their favour. One man in particular, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, a self-styled National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, and a one-time “bagman for heroin traffickers,” has made it his Machiavellian duty to own all the pieces of prime media around him. (See: Nigerian Pres’ Svengali Tied to Heroin: http://www.
thedailybeast.com/ articles/2015/04/27/nigeria-s- next-leader-s-ties-to-a- heroin-ring.html)
Tinubu, who is popularly called the ‘Jagaban of Borgu’ by his fans in Lagos, in his desperate quest for national domination at all costs, has utilized the Nigerian news media over the years to attack, discredit, dishonor, and at times – destroy anyone that shares a difference in opinion with him. This development is unhealthy for democracy, and is a threat to the sanity of the Nigerian system.
Like Australian billionaire businessman, Rupert Murdoch, who has many times been caught using the news for dishonest reasons, Tinubu’s overbearing control of the media in recent months has caused his ruling party a lot of embarrassment. Tinubu, who out rightly owns The Nationnewspapers, is also believed to have acquired a silent majority stake in The Punch newspapers, one of Nigeria’s most widely-read publications. Additionally, Tinubu’s noiseless funding of both Premium Times, and SaharaReporter’s visual platform, SaharaTV, has made him the undisputed overlord of Nigeria’s media space.
Despite these acquisitions, a thorough look into the life of Tinubu, will reveal that he is a man who delights in extending olive branches to even his most despicable enemies – as long as he stands to benefit from such actions.
An investigation revealed that as far back as the 2003 presidential elections, Tinubu struck a deal that sold out his former party, the Alliance for Democracy (AD), to the then-incumbent President Olusegun Obasanjo. This deal allowed Obasanjo to sail away with the votes of the South West, which was controlled by Tinubu’s AD.
Even Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, has been at both the giving and receiving end of Tinubu’s double-dealing antics. In an article published in ThisDay newspapers on the 19th of April 2011, General Mohammadu Buhari, the then-presidential aspirant of the now-defunct Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), made some high-wired comments on how Tinubu sold the South West to Jonathan in the 2011 presidential elections, in exchange for him (Tinubu) being able to nominate some juicy ministerial positions.
In the article in question, Buhari asked Tinubu to “stop hiding under false excuses after striking a deal with President Jonathan.” Buhari went on to state that: “Tinubu should leave me alone – he even lost his ward to the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in what should have given birth to a new Nigeria.” (See: How Tinubu Gave South-West to Jonathan:http://www.
thisdaylive.com/ articles/buhari-how-tinubu- gave-s-west-votes-to-jonathan/ 89907/).
Additionally, Obasanjo, who had benefited from Tinubu’s two-faced antics, corroborates Buhari’s claims in his autobiography, stating that truly, Tinubu did in fact collect a bribe of N16 billion from Jonathan in the 2011 elections to betray his party. Many Nigerian political observers believe that it is amazing that till date, Tinubu has neither refuted nor denied these claims.
While Tinubu is not out there being a modern-day political Judas Iscariot, some of his other exploits include purchasing choice Real Estate and companies – using his money generated from ill-gotten means. Tinubu is said to own the Oriental Hotel in Victoria Island, Lagos; several choice houses in Ikoyi and the Lekki axis; Oando Plc – one of Nigeria’s largest petroleum companies; Lekki concession company; the Ikeja Shopping Mall, TV Continental station (TVC); Radio Continental; and Alpha Beta- a tax consultancy company.
Tinubu no doubt is a smart fellow. Given his political history and precedents, he has undoubtedly scored an own-goal on several occasions. However, the problem that the people of Nigeria will have if they are not careful, is his proximity to President Buhari. Based on his antecedents, and his numerous backstabbing manoeuvers for personal gain, the earlier the Nigerian president realizes who he has gotten into bed with, the quicker he can pull out and save himself – and perhaps, his country.