December 4, 2020


AfricaTopForum – News Around Africa

Security, culture and credibility

6 min read

Dayo Sobowale


It  was a mere  coincidence that Nigeria’s anti SARS protests happened about the same time as the American presidential elections of November 3 2020. The aftermath of  both  in   this   era  of a deadly pandemic with the attendant lockdowns and the  effect  of that    on the security and stability     of  both  nations,  form  a  part  of our discussion today. The anti SARS protests ended in arson and looting in Nigeria and the ensuing insecurity has been sadly on such massive scale,  all over the nation in a way that makes Nigeria look a lot like a failed state. In the US there is what  one can easily  refer as a ‘failed election’ in that the loser on paper for now, has refused to concede which is  not only a strange  thing in American politics, but President Donald Trump  has  also   blatantly shouted from the rooftops as it were, that the 2020 US  presidential elections were rigged and that was why he lost. Nevertheless there is an institution celebrating the loss of the American president and pressuring him to concede  by all  means and that is CNN. It is the role of the CNN in the coverage of the US presidential election as well as its documentaries on the anti SARS  protests in Nigeria especially with the alleged killings at Lekki Toll Gate   on  October  20 that  we shall also examine today to assess the credibility of CNN as an impartial  or objective  news  outlet. We shall also  see the import of that for the security and stability  of both Nigeria and the nation where CNN is  domiciled, which is the USA.

Let  me state clearly that prior  to the election of Donald Trump as US president in 2016 I have always had the greatest respect for  CNN as  an  objective news medium  and institution. That  changed because  CNN could  not contain its disappointment that Trump won the 2016  presidential election just as it could  not contain its glee that Trump has lost the 2020 election even though he has gone to court to contest what he called a rigged election. Similarly CNN coverage of the Lekki alleged killings  showed such recklessness in promoting discord and violence in Nigeria that  only accentuates my distrust and disrespect for CNN as a  credible news outlet. I expect the Nigerian government  to make its views known on the matter. But as a patriotic Nigerian proud of the anti SARS movement and the guts of its leaders, CNN simply used the Lekki alleged killings which the Army has denied saying it fired rubber bullets into the air, to portray Nigeria in bad light. It was a coverage whose  aim is to set Nigerian youths against their  nation and its leaders. Surely this is a sign of things to come in the Biden Administration which  the CNN  proudly  supports  but whose cultural  and value orientation are at odds  with  African values culture, customs and dignity. As I have always written the Biden Administration will promote LGBT and  homophobia and will try to influence Nigeria and its youths in that regard. This anti SARS Lekki  killings documentary is a Greek gift  to Nigerian youths that they have overseas  support and our youths should learn from history. The same Americans of the liberal ilk promoted the Arab Spring of 2011 which overthrew despots in North Africa like Muammar Gaddafi  of Libya     and Housni Mubarak  of Egypt. Today many of the youths in the Egyptian uprising are in Egyptian jails  under a quasi military  dictatorship and Libya is in ruins and Nigerian youths  who fled there enroute Europe on the false excuse of being discriminated against in Nigeria as gays, are being sold as slaves in Libya and are running back home with tales of woe. Nigerian  youths  should use  their resources and  intellect which are good enough to challenge the authorities for  a more humane leadership that appreciates youth development, justice, and advancement of equity within the ambits of the law. That is where a rosy future beckons not on the mischief and antics of a media institution like CNN that has contributed to the division of the USA such  that  some people  refer to that nation as the  UDSA – the Union of Divided States of America.

This  is not to say that CNN needlessly  picked an ax to grind with Donald Trump who  drew the ire of the media giant when he branded them dangerously as ‘fake news’, which  has stuck ever since. To  any news media worth  its name that  was an unmitigated assault on their credibility and CNN has  never forgiven Trump  on this. But then CNN threw caution and objectivity to the winds in attacking Trump on any  issue whatso ever. They used the pandemic to portray  their president as wicked, uncaring and careless with the pandemic. They  assailed any measure he was optimistic on with regard  to the pandemic and only admitted he was right that the pandemic vaccine was on the way this year only when they  saw  he had lost the election.  As  at now CNN and the anti Trump  media have led the US to the brink of insecurity and horror of political instability with their handling of the hatred of Trump both since  his election and now the unbridled gloating over  his  purported reelection failure. It  is no wonder then that a senior Republican senator  has raised the alarm that if the Republicans accept the results of the mail box election without ascertaining its integrity, the Republicans will  never taste power in the US again. That  shows real desperation and it says a lot on how far the Republicans will go to make Donald  Trump win a  second term. That, certainly, will be over the dead bodies of media giants  like CNN who already are celebrating Donald Trump’s  electoral  funeral in the 2020 presidential elections.

Whilst  the US is reeling from the prospect of political confusion arising from alleged electoral  fraud by its incumbent president the main after math of  the anti SARS protests in Nigeria is pervasive insecurity and lawlessness. In Katsina state, home state of the president, bandits reportedly kidnapped six Assistant Superintendent of Police –ASPs–and are demanding a ransom of 100m naira. The  owners of luxury buses on Lagos North routes have threatened to boycott such routes because of incessant robberies and kidnapping on such routes. In Lagos the government is trying to bring sanity  to the roads where okada drivers have been banned and danfos drive against traffic rules but these drivers and riders attacked the government team trying to enforce the law. One grim consequence of the anti SARS protests was the burning of police stations and the killing of policemen and that  has created a security  vacuum  and lukewarm police presence in areas where the protests  were  held as well as areas where bandits and hoodlums hold sway normally nation wide. It  is an issue that government should arrest urgently. A government in a democracy is government of the people by the people and for the people. That  is the essence of political stability where people feel safe during the day or  night. It  is the guarantee that is the mandate of government, that  the state must  not lose control of violence in its territorial area, which is the meaning of territorial integrity. The alternative is the usurpation of government power by bandits, hoodlums and miscreants which seem the order of the day nowadays. Government  must  nip that  in the bud urgently in our collective interest. Once  again. From the fury of this pandemic, Good Lord Deliver Nigeria.