On the Transmission Video


Nigeria’s Inspector General of Police Ibrahim Idris has been widely derided for a viral video in which he is seen struggling to read his speech.

Whatever happened, and what has followed since, I think is rather unfortunate. It has highlighted many things that have informed the kind of people we are. Those who laugh because it is fun to laugh at the incompetence of one of Buhari’s chosen, those who laugh because it is an opportunity to deride a group of people they consider intellectually inferior, or those, like me, who think there should be some kind of explanation for whatever happened that day in Kano. On the other hand, there are those who think the video was doctored. If that is the case, and I doubt this very much, whoever did it is a smart bastard and deserves an Oscar for cinematography (shows the range of talent we have in this country). But the irony is that those who argue that the video was doctored have not produced an original version. The bit of the clip they show, seems even more doctored than the one they suggest was doctored to start with. Clearly, in the first clip, the man was reading from a prepared text, in the second he was speaking off the cuff. It definitely seems like this was the bit where the IG decided to ditch the prepared speech, after it became too problematic. I am shocked that some people want everyone to take this short version of an obviously longer speech as the truth. It says something about us. Remember the story of the four blind men and the elephant? We choose which truths we want to believe. But more distressing for me is that someone has chosen to let people wonder endlessly and needlessly debate this when the truth is just a matter of releasing the original video. This shows the disregard in which Nigerians have been held. First lesson in PR we learnt is that in the absence of truth, rumours thrive. And if my Inspector General of Police, for the benefit of whom many senior officers were retired at great expense to the public, whose performance has so far not justified that sacrifice, whose competence is being questioned and undermined by this video, is in a situation like this, I would want to clear the air about this and share the original video or present a logical explanation. What is wrong with saying he suffered a health episode or something. We are not dumb, we will understand. After all he has read his speeches before without drama. But the silence suggests something worse. It says, I really don’t give a shit what you think about this. Have your fun at the expense of the man who is supposed to ensure you sleep peacefully at night, before the next scandal comes. If our leaders have paid any heed to rumours and the opinions of people, January ’66 would not have happened. July ’66 would not have happened and every catastrophe that has happened since would probably not have happened.
In the end, when you look at it critically, there is a lot to learn from this episode, about leadership and the opinion of people and about us and how we relate to national tragedies like this. These things say a lot about us.
(In case you don’t know what I am talking about, the video is here)


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