African journalists need to be bold

African journalists need to be bold

Does Africa have leaders capable of solving Africa’s problems? Olusegun Obasanjo is one of the continent’s most experienced leaders. He was president of Nigeria twice and his last eight year term ended in 2007. Now he’s a UN special envoy to the troubled eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Does his record inside Nigeria lend him any credibility as a regional statesman?

BBC and it was HardTalk with former Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo as the guest. As Stephen Sackur opened with his brutally-hot questions as usual, Obasanjo tried to maintain his cool. Obasanjo said his biggest worry about Africa was overpopulation and the journalist fired Obasanjo a question asking him how many children does he have. That question knocked obasanjo off balance. He said in African culture they do not count children for the owner. Stephen Sackur then dropped the nuclear bomb.
He said Mr. Obasanjo you have at least 20 children so you are the part of the problem … BBC journalists are so bold. I hope one day journalists in Africa will get to that level of boldness and ask Buhari why he is yet to construct a world-class hospital in Nigeria after enjoying the best of care in London. African leaders are not used to being challenged or even questioned so when I see them on HardTalk getting the grilling of their lives I laugh my head
off. I watched the one with General Buratai too and it was AN ABSOLUTE DISGRACE. He should never have attended at all.

Stephen said this: There are some leaders and senior politicians who really don’t want to go on HARDtalk; but thankfully there are many more who know the show has a strong reputation for being tough but fair, and are eager to make their case before an international audience of millions.

Ironically it’s sometimes the politicians in Western democracies who seem to shy away from the grilling, while some more ‘authoritarian’ figures (from the late President Chavez in Venezuela, to President Teodoro Obiang in Equatorial Guinea) have embraced the challenge. I always say to my guests, there is no better platform in the international media—you have 25 minutes of serious, in-depth Q and A to make your case; I think that appeals to many powerful people in this sound-bite age.

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Oludare J. Olusan
Oludare J. Olusan 249 posts

Publisher, Entrepreneur, Author and founder of The African portal / Presenter at The African Portal Radio / TV

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