The Media, COVID-19 and Village Panorama by Adeola Soetan | Rights Monitor

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Since Law and Development mainly resides in urban centres, villagers will still converge undisturbed at their Abete to drink Palmwine, eat smoked fish and play Ayo Olopon together. That’s how they roll to keep alive.

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They are hardly part of government health programme or any developmental plan no matter how precarious it is. No potable water, no electricity, no good road, no hospital. The few villages that are lucky to have “rugbe rugbe” health centres have no nurse or doctor. Villagers are the abandoned Nigerians left to farm, die and rot. They are regular hosts and carriers of different bacterial, fungal and viral diseases. Who do they turn to for cure but their deities, herbs and God?

For them, government is an unseen flying object, that they hear on the radio. When they are afflicted with preventable and curable diseases and they die like Obasanjo Chicken, they take their sorrow with equanimity. So why should they be bothered with Covid-19? They are familiar with strange illness and death.

The only contact villagers have with government and politicians is always during electioneering when fake promises are made and on the day of election when INEC brings its ballot boxes and politicians with their thugs invade the villages to buy votes or snatch ballot boxes.

So, don’t blame them much because they have nothing to lose than their poverty. For who is down needs fear no fall. Those who ordinary malaria kills cannot be afraid of convid-19. That’s the true and the village reality in this season of fear and uncertainty.

I am mow missing Frank Olize, the ace broadcaster of NTA Network Newline. A unique comparative report would have been on Newline. Creativity is the word. One needs to watch again Chris Ayanwu’s serial news report on the problem of water hyacinth in Nigeria and Africa rivers to appreciate the best of broadcast media in a serious of crisis

I am also missing Messrs Demola Oladosu and Gbenga Gbesan of NTA Channel 12, Abeokuta. These were some of the very few brilliant “human angle” socially conscious journalists of yore who liked to report the uncommon news behind the conventional news. They were not the stereotypical “He said and I quote” reporters. I closely worked with them as a national award winning television cameraman and I knew their passion for qualitative difference.
I trust that by now we would have been combing “ruraliest” of the rural areas to feel the pulse of many villages and their poor inhabitants on their understanding of coronavirus epidemuc, to report and produce documentary on their lives, healthcare before and during this pandemic season and how will the nation cope in case of an outbreak in backwater areas that have been neglected over the decades.

I am sorry, many of today’s media organizations and practitioners are too elitist and too conventionional in their scope of coverage especially during a pandemic like we have at hand. None of the popular national television stations I watched has done a documentary or do extensive news reportage from the other “world” This is not good enough, let’s get news from the “other life”. Now that Nigerians are at home please give us the benefit to know that there are Nigerians and there also are Nigerians united daily by neo-liberal assault.

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