From Journalist To Political Media Aide...
The sum total of a number of Nigerian journalists' career goal is to become a media aide or spokesperson for an elected politician.
It's desperately evident in the indirect and direct auditioning for the job through jostling for proximity, rump licking, and other gross means.
When I think about it, i see it as a clear indicator of how far the profession and the society it serves, has fallen.
As our national pride, moral and social fabric crumbled under successive military dictatorships, so did the collective psyche of Nigerians.
We became a society where consciences are traded for not just a loaf of bread, but proximity to the perceived bread distributor.
The blatant theivery and psychological abuse of military dictatorships, followed by the winner takes and controls all attitude of the politicians that came after them, changed the Nigerian society and mindset to be one where power is revered and proximity to power is coveted.
The fourth estate whose erstwhile vocation was to keep society together by acting as a check and balance for those entrusted with power, found itself at the scary end of military barrels, the recipients of letter bombs and unwilling guests of secure government lodges.
Eventually, a number of them found a way to turn this seemingly inevitable fate around by offering first their services and eventually their souls to their oppressors.
As time passed, it was no longer a means to an end; it became the end in itself.
Yoruba people say when a leaf gets stuck to a bar of soap over a period of time, eventually it becomes soap in itself.
Well, here we are. The leaf and the soap are one.
But now, like in George Orwell's Animal farm, a new generation is born that didn't really know what happened to their elders.
They saw their mentors and seniors "elevated" to becoming political jobbers, propaganda merchants and image launderers, enjoying the perks of their assumed proximity to power, while still being called "veteran journalists", holding court at panels, publishing memoirs and being courted as "captains" of the industry and they want that too. So they aspire.
Sadly, all this aspiration breeds is a derelict profession, a seared conscience, mediocre output and general disrespect for it's practitioners.