I must confess that I read with uncharacteristic caution the Reno Omokri’s article titled: ‘The Cartoon Loving president,’ as published a week or so ago in the Vanguard on-line daily and for the most part I wasn’t disappointed at the end
of the day. Except for the critical news peg of the write up.
of the day. Except for the critical news peg of the write up.
I wasn’t particularly disappointed partly because of the antecedent of the writer being the special adviser to the former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan on social media and the fact that he still finds the time and space to demonstrates his unflinching loyalty to his erstwhile master.
Throughout the said write up, there are enough signposts that clearly underline where his supports lies. And who can begrudge him for that?
To this I say kudos because it goes on to prove the Yoruba adage which says: “He who demonstrates loyalty in one’s presence is not as commendable as he who does so behind.”
I am disappointed, however, because he took off into the journey of his pathetically intellectual or supposedly analytical creature by suggesting to the readers to perform a cheeky exercise namely to google the picture of President Muhammadu Buhari reading. And he went on to say that no result would be found unless someone had recently attached one to which it would be so indicated by google’s team. He added also that if conversely the same exercise is perform.starting with his former boss and other world leaders there would be an avalanche of results to that effect.
While this may be true it doesn’t, however, prove his punditry case beyond the exercise suggested no more no less.
And there are few premises for this:
In one futile attempt, he tried to link the state of Nigerian economy now officially in recession to the fact that President Muhammadu Buhari has a penchant love for cartoons which usually is his first port of call if presented with a newspaper. And to compound such presidential anomaly, his senior media aide in the person of Mr Shehu Dikko condescended so low to sincerely revealed same in a tweet while he should have given a blind eye. He went further to query his professionalism which has always been skewed in ethical honesty and truthfulness.
This is so because working with someone in the mould of president Muhammadu Buhari who is known to be frank, tectonic and strict. makes the job so easy. No self-censorship of any kind from the team members is needed because there is nobody to embarrass with frank media commentaries on presidential activities.
Reno also seems to have issues with responsible journalism which upholds truth and honesty as visible in the presidential media team headed by Shehu Dikko. And he suggested he no longer wants to celebrate him for having the effrontery to dismount from high horse of standards he personally sets for him. To these, I beg to differ.
And here are my reasons:
First, as a candidate of mass communication, I know there are two grounds on which people regardless of their social, economic and political status consume or use mass media contents. Its ether for the news or for escape. And the two overlaps in no particular order.
While the president might decides to visit the editorial cartoon page or any cartoon strip of a newspaper or magazine before tracking back or forth into other areas as covered by the same print medium. Another person, to start with, might decides to go to the sporting page and so on and so forth.
It is the prerogative of individuals concerned to decide where to start reading any printed page from whether it is for the purpose of grasping their meaning informationally or for entertainment.
This is so informed by what communication experts called the selective processes in mass media content consumption by the audience. The selective process debunk the old notion that mass media is all powerful and in total control of people’s lives. It states clearly that it is the people who are actually in control because they choose what to expose themselves to, perceive or retain in a media content.
Here, the president is no different from the rest of us except that he is the president. He loves cartoon and so be it. Just like I love historical movies.
And what gives the impression that president Muhammadu Buhari doesn’t read whether the pictures of him doing so is in the public domain or not.
Everybody reads. The proportion, however, is the only thing up for measurement.
There is no need to argue also whether ‘readers are leaders or leaders are readers’ what is left to be seen historically is the connection between economic depression or recession and readership as being touted by the writer on the firing line.
For the records, economics studies belong to the field of social science which depends largely on the imprecision human thought processes unlike science pure or applied which relies on empirical methodologies to prove it case. For instance, one plus one is two in mathematics. This is simple and straight forward enough to follow. Failure in mathematics is usually caused by honesty or poor grasp of the dynamics. But the same thing cannot be said of social sciences or the arts where almost everything is relative rather than absolute.
Going forward from here, it is an historical fact that global economy has repeatedly suffered depressions with the knee breaker 1930’s serving as a good example and came out the same likewise countries which include the United States and Brazil to mention a few. If the assumption is correct that readers are leaders, then these economies should not have in the first instance suffered economic recession because they are gifted an impressive array of intellectuals. And what is more their presidents to say the least are products of some the best institution of higher learning you can think of.
It is a fact that the US economy was in recession when the out going president Obama came to power. Does that means the previous occupiers of the exalted office are no readers. The answer of course is ‘NO’. The factors responsible for economic recession runs deeper than merely reading all the newspaper in a country or not reading any.
As an icing on the case of this rebuttal, only recently, president Dilma Rousseff of Brazil who is an intellectual of no mean repute was impeached by the house for infraction which include breaking budgetary law among others. Come to think of it, this is a country which recently successfully hosted the Olympic games. Don’t also forget that the hosting rights was awarded long before the brazilian economy went into recession and still is.
If reading reading all the books in the whole world or economy pages of newspapers is the antidote for not experiencing economic challenges then first world countries economies have no justification at all going into recession. The example goes on and on to prove the futility of Omokri’s fallacious conclusions that Nigerian economy is in recession or that the Nigeria naira now exchange for between 350-400 to a dollar because the president reads cartoon.
Nigerian economy has been short changed by its managers over the years hence the present challenges it is currently facing. Since there is no conservation during the years of surplus definitely there is nothing to fall back on in the time of leanness. This was aptly echoed by Madam Okonjo Iweala, the coordinating minister of finance and economy in the Good luck Jonathan’s administration who said sometimes ago that they did not save for incoming government hence the inevitability of the current challenges.
Before concluding this write up, I would like to say a few word on Reno’s ridiculous attempts to detract from the excellence of journalistic tool called ‘CARTOON’. Whatever his professional forte is, seriously, I make bold to say he demonstrated a condemnable act of ignorance perhaps deliberately and maybe impudence towards journalism as a calling. Because his portrayals covertly make cartoon looks like a rotten apple in the basket of print variant of mass communication that people must not touch with the longest spoon.
Stripped of unwanted attachments, cartoon is any line drawn to report albeit humorously on the ills of the society. It serves the same function as real life pictures which in journalism equate a thousand words. In addition, it is a powerful editorial tool in the hands of editorial page members.
To the imaginative professional artists out there, I will say keep the flag flying regardless of what mockery public affairs commentator like Reno Omokri tried to make of it.
And to the avid consumers of cartoons in Nigeria and elsewhere your love and patronage is the oil needed for wheel of cartoon artistry to keep turning.
And what is more, you have a dependable co-traveller in Muhammadu Buhari, the substantive president of Nigeria.
Take it to the bank!