:: Cover Story...

Tuesday, October 21, 2014.

The Facts & Fictions Of Brouhaha Over Governor Amaechi's Alleged Insult On Nollywood At BON Awards
...Plus video link

The brouhaha over alleged insult heaped on nigerian movie makers to their face by Governor of Rivers state, Rotimi Amaechi appeared to have toned down a bit, but the ripple effect underground is till very much on. brings the fact and fiction of the development as packaged by very close watcher of all that transpired, Wale Olaleye.

'When Google, a few days back, reportedly shut down Linda Ikeji’s blog over alleged plagiarism and subversion of rudimentary journalism rules as they concern basic reporting within the limit of responsible journalism,

the jubilation that went on in the world of influential media as the new or social media is otherwise known should bother any rational mind.

Why would anyone rejoice over the misfortune of another? But the common response to this was even the more niggling. “Linda Ikeji is too reckless on her blog”, everyone seems to agree.

She would later vindicate her traducers when in the course of some damage control in that survival battle she published a private conversation with some guy by name “Aye Dee”, who according to her was the confidant, who betrayed her trust.

The decision to publish the chat unedited with all the security implications showed genuine lack of tact and sincere naivety on her part. Above all, it underscored the unfortunate but obvious inference on the turf that she probably has learnt nothing from that awful ordeal.

Such an understanding evidently manifested when Ikeji reported and interpreted to suit her misgivings, what she thought was the thrust of the speech by Governor Rotimi Amaechi of River State at the 2014 Best of Nollywood Awards, in Port Harcourt, last week.

Titled “Gov Rotimi Amaechi insults Nollywood practitioners to their faces, says they are products of circumstances”, Linda, who according to the report, did not even attend the event and was too unprofessional, if not laid back, to check her facts, wrote inter alia:

“According to a source, who reached out to LIB, during his speech at the award after he gave veteran actress Liz Benson a Lifetime Achievement Award, Governor Rotimi said that people in Nollywood are products of circumstances/necessity.

“He said that the only reason they are in Nollywood is because they couldn't find other jobs, that if they had, they won't be actors. Rotimi said these actors studied sciences, law, medicine etc but because they couldn't find jobs, they embraced Nollywood.

“Governor Rotimi also put two veteran actresses on blast. He told the crowd that he gives Joke Silva and Kate Henshaw bags of money whenever they come to Rivers State. And then claimed he was the one who encouraged Kate Henshaw to go into politics.

“Like that wasn't enough, Governor Amaechi then said he went into politics for money. Some of the Nollywood practitioners are angry about what the governor said and have asked the AGN to make sure it doesn't happen again.”

Sadly, if this is what Ikeji calls reporting, a majority of those who attended the event and were embarrassed by her deliberate misreporting have mooted the need for her to probably return to school and learn as well as understand the literature of journalism.

It is not enough to have the flair for writing; journalism transcends that. It is a serious and noble profession and people like Ikeji, stakeholders reckon, cannot hide under the guise of porous or non-existent regulation of the new media to wreck journalism.

There was no truth in all that she wrote, having clearly skewed and misrepresented the facts, perhaps, to suit a premeditated motive. Amaechi’s message was simple and intelligible even if her source had problems understanding the English language.

The governor had simply drawn a parallel between the state of the political economy of the country and the industry and charged the players to move away from seeing the profession as a means to an end. Instead, he thought they had a more defining role in mirroring the society, asking them to indulge more in what he termed “protest literature”.

Amaechi would later go on to make himself a quintessential example. He said while his joining politics was largely informed by poverty and the inability to find a better job, his first two years as speaker of the State House of Assembly opened up his horizon to the larger picture and saw the need to salvage Nigeria.

Suffice it to say that the governor did not insult Veteran actress Joke Silva. He only hinted, along the same line of argument, that he had commissioned her and a few others to interpret one of the works of the late Chinua Achebe – The Man of the People – because it had strong political message. He did not mention giving her money – not under whatever guise.

'The part involving Kate Henshaw-Nuttal was particularly humorous. He had only said in passing that he once overheard Kate and another colleague of hers dwelling on their past and how they had walked the streets on many occasions in search of job and found none before resorting to acting. And in response to this real life example, the entire hall went up in the flame of laughter. So, where from the pit of hell did Ikeji get her facts from?

There was no where that Amaechi insulted the actors and actresses to their faces and it is a failure of responsibility on the part of Ikeji to go ahead with such bile without as much having a second opinion, at least, for balancing sake. That was certainly not journalism – either the basic or the citizen model.

Journalism isn’t just about stringing together a few lines of hardly correct sentences depicting events; it is instructively about the application of rules to locating and situating events within the confines of truth and balance. Linda failed in discharging this responsibility and the way out is still following the rules: admitting to the error of good reporting and restating the facts as it were.

Although the BON organisers should have put up the video of Amaechi’s speech by now and set the records straight, quite a few people still think they should go a step further and reach Google on this too, also for the record'

...Here is the link for the speach later released by award organisers
NB: Some online news spotters pick and use our stories down to the dot of 'Ts' and 'Is'  without recourse to credit. We demand that this anormaly is corrected. Plagliarism is a crime.