Public hearings as TV entertainment? – Onoshe Nwabuikwu’s ‘Airtime’

by Onoshenuasi Nwabuikwu

Public hearings as TV entertainment?

If there’s any difference between the public hearings and other programmes on TV, it’ll have to be that the hearings are more interesting (invariably), for good or bad reason. However public hearings even though somewhat upgraded from the ubiquitous but toothless government committees, appear to be to (just) titillate (easily titillated) citizens with all kinds of revelations because in the end, few are held accountable.  Perhaps we ought to enjoy the drama, real and contrived, as that might be all we are getting.

You must know about the latest public hearing, the one being conducted by the Capital Market Committee of the House of Representatives. The first time I caught it on Channels TV; I couldn’t change channels fast enough which wasn’t very wise. I should be interested in what happens at the capital market if only because of my ‘teeny weenie’ shares. The next day, Thursday March 15,  I was ‘arrested’ by the forceful speech by the DG SEC, Ms Arunma Oteh at the end of which she levelled bribery allegations against committee chairman Iorwase Herman Hembe and generally accused the committee of lacking credibility. A lot has happened since then with the most current being the stepping down of Hembe and the entire committee replaced by an ad-hoc one.

But let’s look again at that TV outing on March 15. Did anyone remember to beware of the Ides of March? I was shocked that it degenerated into a ‘do-me-I-do-you’ farce. There ought to be some rules of engagement for the ‘probers’ and ‘probees’ regarding mutual respect and things like that. People should be presumed innocent by the House Committee until otherwise proven. And we expect better treatment of our elected representatives especially by government officials no matter how highly placed. Ms Oteh should’ve showed more restraint and regard for the institution if not for the individuals and she’d have thought twice if she was anywhere else in the world. I remember the Murdochs at the British Parliament last year. You think they didn’t feel like telling off the politicians or didn’t know that perhaps a few of them wanted to hog the limelight just to look good even if they weren’t corrupt? How can we complain of things but are fast to do worse? One commentator criticised the committee for leaving its main focus of investigation and going into personal matters. Like the fact that Ms Oteh had lived at the expensive Hilton Hotel for all of eight months at tax payers’ expense as opposed to the 28 days the federal policy on monetisation and even the 56 days SEC rules allow. But Ms Oteh curiously chose to answer the allegations against with bigger ones of her own which is very Nigerian. We are known as the people who reply a question with another question. The Yorubas call what Ms Oteh did ‘da si rough’ which happens in a typical roforofo/bolekaja fight. It would perhaps be naive to wonder why Ms Oteh didn’t counter the allegations with superior arguments/evidence. Jurisdiction notwithstanding, quite a few substantive issues still remain outstanding. Would anyone ever bother us with a proper answer?

By the way, on the day, the guys from SEC looked anything but efficient. Looking collectively like rain soaked hens; harried looking people with exaggerated titles (which they of course insisted on being correctly addressed) struggled to answer simple questions: ‘I was advised by Mr X and Mr Y said blab, bla’. Ask Mr X, and the stuttering begins. One of them even asked if monetisation was a law. No, it was a government policy, oga director. Then there was one Sani-Stores, executive so and so who supposedly advised someone else about the DG’s stay in a hotel. But Sani-Stores claimed on one hand he didn’t know that the boss had spent eight months, and then turned around to say when he discovered that allowing her to stay in a hotel was wrong, he…Asked when he had this epiphany, he took another turn. Didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. If these are the same people regulating the capital market, is it any wonder our market has reportedly lost N131 billion? What was so difficult they couldn’t explain? Unfortunately the best spoken person, the legal expert, was content to dissociate himself from the entire proceeding saying no one had asked his advice, his job is referral and he couldn’t go on the road stopping people from doing the wrong thing, bla bla bla. This attitude I can understand even though it doesn’t make it right.

Well, wait for another episode of the public hearings coming to a TV station near you.

STAR QUEST

Many are called…36 chosen

From thousands of eager musicians (or wannabes) who came from all over the country, the numbers have been seriously crunched to fifty-five lucky (or hopeful) finalists. These finalists have but one hurdle to be Fameland residents. That last hurdle is the Star Quest Grand Audition slated for March 23 at Eko Hotel’s New Expo Centre. There they have to give the performance of their lives to impress the judges enough not to be among the ‘nearlys’. At this stage and until the bands are formed, it’s every man for himself. After all, at fifty-five, even though the playing field may have drastically shrunk but only thirty-six (36) finalists are going to make it into the Star Fameland. This of course means almost one quarter of the fifty-five hopefuls would be going home after the grand audition on March 23. And by the time you’re reading this, those nineteen ‘nearly-Star Famelanders’ would’ve since gone back home.

With the grand audition out of the way, the stage is now set for the big reveal of the lucky 36 contestants headed for the Star Fameland who are going to form the six competing bands. This also means we are one step closer to the TV show. The beauty of auditions is that there’s no dull moment. Auditions are a necessary mix of drama, comedy, tragedy even. So you’re bound to pay attention. You’re going to come face to face with the good, the not so good and those who perhaps may have missed their way to the auditions.  This last group of people actually need to be commended for the sheer courage to show up.

You’ll also have the pleasure of seeing Paul Play Dairo, Waje and KC function as judges. And you’ll be seeing the man they call Giddy, Gideon Okeke host the show for the first time. And if celebrities aren’t your thing, you can watch young Nigerians displaying the Nigerian can-do spirit.

COME AGAIN?

“First Lady asks diplomats’ wives to guard secrets”.

-Channels TV, news headlines, Thursday March 15, 1.50 pm-ish.

There’s no grammatical error here. Contrary to what you might think, the First Lady isn’t a regular in this section because she’s not a broadcaster. If I had half the time to listen to ‘trained’ broadcasters ‘ripping’ the English language to shreds like the one who was ‘ri-prisenting’ ‘ri-prisentatives’ the other day on Radio, there would be little time left to listen to politicians or their wives.

That said, this advice from the PhD holding Dame got me thinking about secrets.  What secrets? I find it hard to believe that we actually guard our secrets talk less of leaving the task to wives. But you’d think that being diplomats’ wives, these women would have some idea about guarding secrets. Except if they had just got married and Dame was at a (mass) wedding reception for them and their newly married diplomat husbands.

 

“Kanu’s heart goes out to Muamba”.

How about that?

 

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