American Elections: Separating the Good from the Bad

Oct 21, 2016

There is no doubt that the rest of the world, especially developing countries like Nigeria, look up to America for inspiration in virtually every facet of life, politics inclusive. America is indeed, the hope of the free world. In moments of crises in any part of the world, America’s intervention is always sought. To therefore say that America is the world’s role model is to state the very obvious.

But the ongoing campaigns in America for who succeeds President Barack Obama in the White House have not exactly covered America in glory. This is no thanks to the acrimonious nature of politicking being exhibited by the candidates of Republican and Democratic Party candidates, Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton. They have been punching each other below the belt much the same way as it is done here in Nigeria. This development has left the world reeling in shock. It has been so unlike America’s issues-based politicking that the world has come to know and respect.

But beyond the brickbat associated with this election is the brighter side of press freedom which is the opposite here. It is this freedom that has made it possible for the world to know everything there is to know about the candidates. It has also brought together the two major candidates to debates through which the world further evaluated them.

Such freedom is healthy to society. In America and other developed countries, it is unfettered. Journalists are protected. It is however sadly a far cry from what obtains in Nigeria where to talk about leaders is to enter into all manner trouble. This is a place where only praise singing is acknowledged as good, developmental journalism but which in the end does a great disservice to national development.

This perception of the media in Nigeria has not given the media the kind of respect it deserves. Thus at the last presidential election in the country, one of the major candidates, Muhammadu Buhari, shunned a debate organised to enable Nigerians to have an understanding of those they would vote for. In the end, the person who shunned the debate was elected blindly and the consequences are what many Nigerians are facing today. That could only happen in Nigeria.

America is showing us how the media should live up to its responsibility and how the leadership and those aspiring to lead should treat the media. That is why American society is what it is today.

America is showing how we must rise above any situation and remain focused, according everyone and group their due. The importance of the media in any society can never be underestimated. The media in Nigeria should therefore be given the freedom to thrive in peace and do the job it needs to do.


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