The truth is a thing I like to dispose of as soon as possible. If I sleep with it locked somewhere within me, it will become the knife of gossip which is only effective when tossed at the backs of the unsuspecting.
At one party or the other, I'd meet Adesuwa Onyenokwe and say, "Good Evening Ma! Your interview with Bobrisky was so revolutionary that I seek only to be your student. To learn from one as accomplished as yourself would be my life's greatest honour."
And then I will walk behind her, find the most indiscreet acquaintance with a natural flair for the dramatic and whisper, "That interview that Adesuwa the publisher of the Today's Woman magazine was fantastically bad. Not only does she lack the most basic understanding of what is ethical and what is not, her many years as an interviewer have failed to teach her that sweat patches and cameras are a match made only in the darkest pits of hell."
If this is a stab I shall do it in her front, quickly and without very much ado. It's a nasty habit of mine, one that will make me enemies far more quickly than it will make me friends.
The problem with journalists and all who serve in a journalistic capacity is the power we wield. We expose secrets that are probably better left unshared and say things that are easier left unsaid, and most of the time we get away unscathed.
You could interview a vulnerable person so brutally that when you're done they find the nearest noose and hang themselves. Their family will be left with a body to bury and you'll get away with murder. A word could ruin a man and we'll dance to the notoriety it brings us like its the sweetest music. Because journalists are mostly the harbingers of gist and not the wreckers of lives, we must think very carefully about the material we publish. And that material must be treated with care. Facts must be checked and events must be qualified where need be. We should be objective, and if not that empathetic.
It would be impossible to continue if I did not tell you all a little about Bobrisky. He's a man who's learned a very important thing: that the respectable are never quite as popular as the scandalous. If this were another country, he would be a drag queen. A bleach applying, make up wearing, cross dressing staple at a disreputable bar. In Nigeria, he's a novelty. The most consistent opinion is that he insane, which is to be expected when you consider that we often call those who do not believe what we do crazy. He speaks often of a Bae, a political chairperson that's responsible for much of his excess. As we do not know who this Chairperson is we cannot say if he is real or not, but the clever know not to read too much into it. If there is a Bae, then good on Bobrisky. For several Nigerians life is so difficult that any come up no matter how nefarious is a good thing. When I say this in public, many fools say something that amounts to:
"But why doesn't he get a job? You know? Do some other thing that offends us less."
And I say, "You do not know how lucky you are to have a job that affords you the luxury of a good life or a family that sees that you are sheltered, bathed, clothed and fed."
For many in Nigeria the only thing they hold true is the hustle and the knowledge that they must hustle. We the comfortable should know better than to look at the uncomfortable and apply our truly wonky sense of morality to their activities.
How is it that we burn Bobrisky at the stake of public morality and publicly celebrate those we know to be corrupt?
Their thievery has done more harm than Bobrisky will ever do. They've filched the nations coffers dry. People starve because of what they've done. Salaries in the public sector have gone unpaid for months!
The interview shows this bias brilliantly. A part of the description the magazine wrote said, "BobRISKY is at the centre of sending people, especially the youth, down a path that threatens the future of family as we know it." It is a sentence so atrociously shameless that I feel scoundrelous for repeating it. Anyone with half a brain knows the real threat to the future of the family as we know it is the nation that we live in and the recession that we're faced with. With unemployment higher than the polite should ever mention and inflation destroying the value of our Naira the family as we know it has bigger problems than Bobrisky's snapchat or instagram.
And then this so called experienced interviewer had the gall to ask him whether or not he is gay in a country where the admittance of such a thing is punishable by public lynching, 14 years in prison, or death by jungle justice. The first time she asked it, he denied it brilliantly, but his denial wasn't enough for her. She thrust the question at him so frequently in different iterations that at a point the interview became something of an outing inquisition. I will never understand why people are so interested in the sexual practices of men and women with whom they share no relation. It is an ethical disaster that she cannot atone for. If something were to happen to Bobrisky as a result of that interview, he'd be in dire straits and she'd be fine. I do not think she'd even be as civil as to pay for his funeral or his rehabilitation.
If we fail to call out the villainous for their wickedness then we are their tacit supporters. As this is not a brand of villainy I ever want to be associated with, I will never regret this strongly worded article. It shall be a tonic for Adesuwa Onyenokwe's ethical inadequacies.
If you would like to watch this interview, here it is.