Onoshe Nwabuikwu: How not to commiserate on TV, Brila FM, Gulder Ultimate Search & more

by Onoshe Nwabuikwu

I know some people have been drawing attention to how the US government has tackled Hurricane Sandy. I wouldn’t go that far. Some Nigerians live ‘inside’ DStv by imagining they’re part of a civilised world. Whether we know it or not, Nigeria is still a third world country and a very badly managed one at that. And the US, well, is the United States of America.

Floods: How not to commiserate.

At this point in time, the floods which ravaged several communities across Nigeria may not be in many people’s consciousness. News about the floods is no longer priority on TV and certainly not Radio. Except that most of the news concerning the floods has something to do with the mismanagement of relief funds. In any case, we are a people blessed with relatively short memory, fortunately or otherwise. But I feel a need talk about certain things before the next disaster (No, this is not the point at which you say: ‘God forbid’ or ‘It’s not my portion’).

What came across from watching political office holders on TV as they visited flood victims was the glaring disconnect between the leaders and the people. First off, looking like visitors to a strange environment, most of them were inappropriately dressed. It’s possible some of our leaders have no ‘dress down’ clothes in their wardrobes. But even if it means sewing them specially and having a special box labelled ‘commiseration or pretend-suffering clothes’, you should not go to visit flood victims dressed like you’re on your way to or from an extravagant wedding. In some cases, it wasn’t even practical to be so dressed as there was the need sometimes to walk across rough terrains. In this regard, the governors of Delta and Anambra fared better. There was an attempt to connect with the victims as fellow human beings.

The worst culprit/example will have to be the Kogi’s Governor Wada. We already know from his wearing a bullet proofed vest (over his clothes) to visit survivors of the Okene church attack that he’s in a different planet altogether. The Bayelsa governor looked like a representative from on high as TV shots showed him towering over the flood victims resplendent in his Niger Delta ‘regalia’. But those from the ministry of environment didn’t fare any better. Speaking of which, when you go to visit people displaced by floods is not the best time to tell them that your house was also affected. Or that your grandfather’s house too has been damaged. I know the thinking is to show empathy, that you’re feeling what they’re feeling, bla, bla… But let’s be honest, even if your relatives were displaced, you’ll probably move them to a better house if not the government house. Some displaced people may not have been living in the best of houses before the floods but please try not to talk down on them.

And is it possible for the relevant leaders to speak with figures? How many people have been displaced? What’s the quantum of aid: money, food, and other materials? Perhaps, this would make it easier to monitor the flow. It could also help in checking fraud.

I know some people have been drawing attention to how the US government has tackled Hurricane Sandy. I wouldn’t go that far. Some Nigerians live ‘inside’ DStv by imagining they’re part of a civilised world. Whether we know it or not, Nigeria is still a third world country and a very badly managed one at that. And the US, well, is the United States of America. Call it the world’s last super power or God’s own country or whatever. The fact remains that Nigeria is not exactly in the same league with the US. This is not to say there aren’t lessons we can learn from the US. It’s not also to say that at 52 years as a nation, this is the best we can do. But it helps to begin from where we are.

This reminds me of the noise about how the meteorological agencies predicted the floods, etc. Beyond predictions, what were the people meant to do with being told of impending floods? Were there shelters in place? Did anyone know what to do in case of floods? Even as we read this, what’s on ground, what have we learnt from the last floods? Is there any likelihood we’d be better prepared next time? As measured in number of shelters, relief materials, etc?


My daily Rendezvous @ Brila FM.

I haven’t always been a fan of Brila FM. Even though I liked its founder Larry Izamoje as a presenter dating back to his morning shows on OGBC Radio et al, I didn’t like that almost every presenter at his station was trying too hard to be his clone with the (too) fast-paced and breathless style of presentation. Portraying excitement in sports presentations is good as no one wants to go to sleep especially when all you can do is listen without the option of viewing pictures. The flip is over-excitement which is extra painful to the listener when it sounds forced or gimmicky.

However, something has happened and at this moment Brila FM, Abuja is the Radio station I mostly listen to. And the reason is simply because of Ferdinand Duruoha (Super Fed), Bernard Gbadamasi (Koboko Master) and the Totori Master. And when all three are together, it’s maximum fun.

I’m not even sure of the exact times but I know that from sometime from 4 pm, one or all of the three will be on duty. The Koboko Master also known as Dr. Kobo who does all his presentations in Pidgin English reads the news, entertains phone calls from listeners on whatever the issues of the day are and at some point in the evenings, all three are together. Someone acts as the devil’s advocate, they debate, etc. There’s humour, there’s drama and you’ll be better informed about football.

I can safely say I know football better now.


Unravelling Gulder Ultimate Search 9.
From the daunting hills of Usaka, this is the ‘Gulder Ultimate Search season 9, of the Gatekeeper’s Fortune’… If Gulder Ultimate Search was a Radio station, this would have been a good way to introduce it a la Abuja’s Hot FM’s ‘From the Summit of Apo Hill…’

The 2012 edition of the Gulder Ultimate Search has started, as its many fans must know by now. And this year, all the action is coming from Usaka Hills in Akwa Ibom State, a fact which has brought excitement to Governor Godswill Akpabio and I imagine many other Akwa Ibomites.

Enter the gatekeepers.

Expectedly, the new season of GUS has brought several innovations or surprises if you like. First was the return of Chidi Mokeme (host of the first two seasons of the show) as host to replace Bob-Manuel Udoukwu who has hosted at least four seasons. Chidi was picked by viewers in a poll as the ex-host they’d want back. Again, for the first time, the GUS has introduced past winners into the game not as contenders but as gate keepers. Previous GUS winners Dominic Mudabai (Season 4), Michael Nwachukwu (season 5) and Christopher Okagbue (Season 8) are the three gatekeepers for GUS 9 and are also in the jungle giving out tasks to contenders.


From glitzy Tinsel to muddy Usaka.

One of the most familiar faces of GUS 9 is that of Uzoma Oluchi Osimkpa whose character was Philip Ade Williams’ (Gideon Okeke) girlfriend in Tinsel (Mnet/DStv). It was actually a big surprise to see her as a contender. Although highly emotional, she looks very motivated and focused on winning the final prize. Or at the very least, although not many would own up, to be the last girl standing.
Three down, nine to go…

As at the time of writing this, three contenders out of the original twelve who entered Usaka Hills have been evicted. This number would have gone up by the time you are reading this. And 25 year old Computer Science undergraduate and mother of one Kofya Brown (Cross River State) had the ‘honour’ of being the first evictee after failing Gatekeeper Christopher Okagbue’s task.

Ayo Ojueromi 22, from Ondo State and a Nigerian Institute of Journalism, Lagos student was sent out of GUS 9 after misplacing the giant key each contender was given.

Emmanuel Chukwunonso Ujam 26, from Enugu State and Sociology undergraduate at the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria became the third contender to be evicted after failing gatekeeper Michael Nwachukwu’s task.

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