Fellow Nigerians, you must be wondering why I chose this title for my column today. If you wait a moment and you want to know the real reason, I shall explain in the next few lines. Television has become a most important platform in the world of media today. Its attraction derives from the simultaneous usage of audio and visual mediums. As a young boy growing up in the ancient city of Ile-Ife, I used to marvel at the magic behind this extraordinary human invention. As a “bush” boy, I actually imagined at some point that some people must have been smuggled into television boxes by those wizards and goblins called oyibo (White people). Till this day it remains the eighth wonder.
In those days, television was a rarity. It was mainly in black and white. Only one big man, Chief S.O. Fadiora, popularly known as Baba Larele, had television in our neighbourhood. We had the privilege of standing by his window to watch some programmes. This opportunity fired our imagination. We saw events from far-flung places. We watched football. We enjoyed musicals. We savoured boxing. Wow, Mohammed Ali was the greatest. We had to stay awake and endure the giant mosquitos making a feast of our exposed parts anytime he was fighting. Even Nigerian television paraded exciting programmes. The adverts were nice, decent and easily remember-able. Life was good and Television was a must watch for us.
If television was that important then, you can imagine how powerful it has become now with live broadcasts in vivid colours from any part of the globe. There is no subject under the sun that is not covered by television. You can virtually study from the comfort of your home. You can visit anywhere in the world without going near any airport. You can witness human advancement at the speed of light and the collapse of nations at the drop of a hat. The world has become one box office movie. Everything has been demystified and decoded. Television has of course been amplified and expanded by its social media variants through You Tube and other variants.
Where am I going with this preamble? It is simple and straight-forward. No serious leader should have excuse for failure. Ideas are available practically free of charge to those who need and want it. Power is no longer a product of abracadabra. Videos, smartphones, laptops, iPads, and others have contributed immensely to the growth of television. Social media has even done so much to bring information nearer home. Any information can be obtained without fuss or stress. You can build or penetrate any library in the world. Information is knowledge and knowledge is power. How come our leaders have refused to take advantage of the globalisation of anything and everything?
Someone sat down somewhere in Dubai and said he wanted to build the tallest building in the world which used to be the exclusive preserve of American cities. The same man sat down and decided that the biggest airport in the world can be built in a tiny Arabian desert. He didn’t have to travel or globetrot. Anything he wanted was handy at the touch of a button. He probably got ideas first from watching television and thought to himself I could do this better.
I got inspiration for this column this week from watching the Brussels, Belgium, attack on television. Even as I sit down to write this the whole world is still gripped and held spellbound by events unfolding in that country which are being beamed live on diverse global news channels. They’ve killed our sleep at night and replaced it with insomnia. My brain is pounding and racing with endless questions about why we are not able to replicate these things despite being blessed with some of the brightest and smartest human souls on earth.
The first lesson I expect our leaders to learn from watching the spectacle on television is that our present problems would never go away until we learn how to do things differently. For example, the war against terrorism is largely a matter of intelligence combi