THEY’RE PULLING THE WOOL OVER YOUR EYES! (POEM)

I wrote this poem in August 2015 following Nigeria’s general elections and the reprehensible role played by both the local and foreign media in painting the Dr Goodluck Jonathan administration as a failure and packaging the opposition candidate, Muhammadu Buhari, as the answer to Nigeria’s most severe problems. These problems were sung as corruption and insecurity. The impression given was that the moment Buhari stepped into office, his “body language” and sternness will stamp out corruption and insecurity and usher in economic prosperity. The polls were held and Buhari was elected.

Months after the new government assumed office, the past administration was being blamed for everything and no discernible governance was going on, so I wrote a satirical poem, My Swipe at Jonathan. In fifteen stanzas, the poem detailed some achievements of the Jonathan administration in various sectors plus the constraints it faced and counselled for a more beneficial utilization of time and efforts by Nigerians rather than pummeling Jonathan as a scapegoat.

Responses to the issues raised in that poem, even from some highly educated persons, showed me the poor level of media literacy among Nigerians: to wit, the ability to analyse and interpret media messages correctly was so low it was alarming. Even the poem was misunderstood by some as a poignant indictment of the Jonathan administration.

Someone with a Ph.D proudly “asserted’ that Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the Finance minister under Jonathan, ruined the Nigerian economy. I said, “Of course she did, by making Nigeria the largest economy in Africa!” or words to that effect. He countered by declaring he read it up in Time magazine. I was dumbfounded.

This guy felt that if something was reported in a foreign magazine, that should end all argument. I reminded him that the media usually have agendas that often colour their reports. He rejected that. He rather insisted on sending me a scanned copy of the magazine and it turned out to be a local publication, TheNEWS. My-my! (Not that it would have made any difference if he had sent me such a report in a dozen foreign media.) But for the sake of those unfamiliar with the Nigerian media, TheNEWS is owned by a top member of Buhari’s All Progressives Congress, along with The Nation newspapers, Radio and TV Continental and these media, among others, were used to peddle misinformation and give negative spins to events, issues and personalities associated with the Jonathan administration.

I, therefore, decided to do another poem to explain to those who read it about the manner in which the media operate and warn them against some illusions they may hold about that.

Last week, the American presidential elections were held and try as they might, the media could not pull off what they did so easily in Nigeria. In spite of the huge media bias against him, Donald Trump emerged winner over media-anointed Hillary Clinton. But riots are persisting showing that many wholly believed the media’s propaganda, stereotyping and scaremongering.

That is why I felt I needed to bring this poem to public attention once again (I’ve made corrections on one line). Young and other impressionable people who bought the media narrative are bewildered and devastated. They are finding it hard to come to terms with reality. This violence is what we were spared in Nigeria because the hype was swallowed here. But for most Nigerians, the spell has long been broken and they are now grappling with the dire consequences of their gullibility.

May God restore peace all over America and grant our people the wisdom to make independent judgments rather than being deluded by a wayward press in Jesus’ name.

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THEY’RE PULLING THE WOOL OVER YOUR EYES!

Do you wholly believe all the stories in the news?
Do you honestly think that the press is on your side?
Do you scream yourself hoarse in support when they praise?
Do you echo, “Crucify!”, whomsoever they condemn?

If your answer is, “Yes”, then I’ve got news for you
You’re being taken for a ride, they’re pulling the wool over your eyes
For the stories that you read are scarcely neutral, my dear
They mostly reflect the point of views of the writers, you see

Governors with media-savvy Press Secs can just go to sleep
But by the stories that you read, they’re the best in the land
Or politicians can set up media or buy access in lots of them
And suddenly they are saints while painting others as ghouls

And if you think it’s just the locals, it shows you don’t know the game
All you need is – know their leanings, who is pulling the strings
Where’s the balance, who are their sources, what is missing and what’s trumpeted?
Once you piece it all together, out comes the agenda they’re pushing and why

Am I saying that it is wrong – to be subjective, to take a stand?
Am I pretending it can be done, being objective to the hilt?
Of course not, I’m not deluded but I am hoping for disclosure
That you no more be hoodwinked by endless rhetoric that’s bought and paid for

Ⓒ Edith Ugochi Ohaja 2015

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I am a university lecturer. I teach Mass Communication, mostly writing courses like Feature and Interpretative Writing, Magazine Article Writing and News Writing, and let’s just say I’ve been doing this for a long time. As you have probably guessed, I am a born-again Christian.

50 comments

  • Kelechi Chinedo

    Highly enlightening ma. And I must admit that it’s kinda scary to think these untouchable big international media houses could be guilty of such misrepresentation and deliberate colouring of candidates because of special interests.
    They are powerful and they know it. They know that they have the minds of a whole lot of people especially we here at the third world countries who look up to them as a last resort for truth, at their fingertips, and they play and manipulate us as they like. I think it’s pretty scary. I use to watch Press TV whenever I am chanced just to laugh at those ‘arabs’ who are always against the Americans. But right now I’m beginning to have a rethink in my perception of their coverage.
    Most importantly, I think this serves as a wake up call to us over here to get more intelligent. Just because it’s coming from CNN or BBC doesn’t make it any more credible. Let us think, research and really find out for ourselves how the ground stands. And since this ‘eye-wooling’ has been exposed on the domestic front, we should also be careful of our local media too. We shouldn’t let our belief or perception of a particular Media’s credibility influence our decisions.
    Once again, thank you for this ‘eye-wooling’ opener.

    • Edith Ohaja

      Bless you, Kelechi! Critical thinking is called for when attending to media content. Swallowing stuff they peddle hook, line and sinker is quite harmful.

  • Freedom Okpubeku

    Tis a good one. It underscores the importance of seeing and observing. However, if the high level of corruption painted of the Jonathan administration is anything to go by, then the good sides of his administration would hardly be noted. No govt would be popular that does little or nothing to reduce the crushing gap between the “rich” and the “poor”, But Jonathan put in his best People should be more critical in their views to avoid being misinformed and misled.

  • chidiogo Georginah

    This post shows that one should not believe everything she hears on the media as they have something that they want to achieve with some of the things they say on air

  • Akwolu Chiamaka MaryAnn

    The situation with Nigeria is really terrible. It started with “the more you look, the less you see kind of scenario” and right now I can say they really pulled the wool over the eyes of millions out there who ensured that the wrong people, became our leaders. Nice piece Ma

    • Edith Ohaja

      Thank you, my dear! You can see it’s still happening with how our people swallowed the Ponzi scheme scams. Many people are not willing to make the effort to find out the truth about situations before they act or perhaps, they hate to believe the truth because the lie is so appealing.

  • emekaobi ijeoma rita

    may God help nigeria.amen

  • Obetta Collins Odinakachukwu

    That’s politics: survival of the fittest. You have to do your best to make sure your opponent loses to you; and even if that means using the media. Media reports in Nigeria at that time, were all to favour Goodluck. But fate was against him. Nigerians were strongly behind Buhari.

    • Edith Ohaja

      I disagree, Collins! Many media supported Buhari but they blacklisted Jonathan’s administration. They didn’t offer meaningful analysis of Buhari’s and APC’s abilities to govern. That is why people feel they were misled by the media going by the current state of events in the country.

      • Olawole Ebenezer

        TRUTH!

      • Olawole Ebenezer

        “the media usually have agendas that often colour their reports.” I agree with this.
        Its really pathetic seeing how people, whose minds are so poor that they know nothing (thinking they know “something”) and don’t try to know something (simply because they know nothing), feed their minds with all that the media have to offer. That’s very wrong. These are the kinds of people the bible called “foolish.” People really need to wake up- the earlier the better.

  • Florence onyekaozuru

    This post tells us about the power the media has on the masses and also what ownership of the press can do. as ma you have clearly stated one has to check the source of the news and then seek a balance before one swallows the information received. the press has made us gullible to believe all they say especially those beyond across the seas that are seen as all powerful and concise. Indeed they have been and are still pulling the wool over our eyes……

  • walter nkemakonam onukwue

    Hmm… they over pulled it, for me i think the problem is media literacy, many don’t know which press is the right source. and also ownership influence…………….

    • Edith Ohaja

      One needs a diversity of sources with different leanings to piece together the truth nowadays. So in the end, it does boil down to a heightened media literacy.

  • The media is not all powerful and we need to be aware of this so that we can carefully scan the media contents and pick the truth while leaving behind the otherwise. May God help us.

  • UMEREMADU CHETACHUKWU ESTHER

    Honestly, people are not making me doubt by any means what some media scholars have said that “the media tell people what to think about” But rather every day by day, I see more reason to believe that the life of the society lies in the hands of the media. The media feed us with lies, and we go ahead in believing and accepting these lies without verifying if these presented “truths” are really the truths. The media have turned out to be Campaign leaders and party chairmen who tell the electorate who to elect and who not to elect, and guess what? we follow suit. God help us o.

  • Henrietta Okoye

    That is why the press are known for their agenda setting quality… We only know what they want us to know these days, they polish and coat lies to look like truth and they deceive the innocent citizens.

    • Edith Ohaja

      Yeah but the problem is that many people seem to prefer lies to the truth and wallowing in ignorance which makes them gullible than seeking knowledge.

  • Ijeoma Anita

    Very enlightening post. We should be careful what we believe.

  • Ezenwa Obinna G.

    People should be careful when dealing with what comes from the media as they can be deceptive based on propaganda.

  • Abugu Chinazom

    It’s such a pitiable condition, that Nigeria should be in it!
    However tough, God will straighten things someday.
    We all will be happy again!
    We’ll all smile again!!

  • The media is a powerful tool when it comes to giving people what to think about and that was the trick used to give Jonathan’s administration a bad name. Like they had committed an atrocity and only Buhari’s government could give us remedy. The Only ones that can make that positive change are not the leaders who gain wealth from politics but the rest of the citizenry. Those people at the helm of affairs have killed us!

  • Joseph Edidiong

    It’s well. Corruption has set a standard for politics in Nigeria. God is in control, He sees all and He is aware of everything

  • Ibe Chinwe Cynthia

    The media is a very powerful and important tool that can make or mar anyone or any organization. I totally understand why some Government officials use them for personal benefits. No one wants a bad image. They’d rather maintain a good image while going about their corrupt ways, knowing fully well that most people digest what the media dishes out.

  • To think that the media who are supposed to give facts accurately deliberately misrepresented facts so as to remove the incumbent President is a shame. It’s a good thing that they can now testify that their choice of candidate was a mistake. Honesty is the best policy. It’s good we avoid favoritism. It speaks ill of us.

  • Iheanyi Ugochi Elizabeth

    that is the power of the media,they influence the choice of the public .they can make you vote for someone you know is incompetent of a position because we are influenced by what we see and hear .

  • Nwele Euphemia Uzoamaka

    The media is a powerful tool for propaganda, which is been delibrated, prescribed and described to the masses to buy with no options. Critical thinking is the masses only way out

  • Joseph joy

    This post is making me to understand that not every news passed through social media is truth.in deed the media is a powerful weapon that can neither or either bring peace or war to people.

  • I’ve come to understand that it’s not everything that the media project that I should see as true. This is one of the problem we are facing today, ie, the media misinforming their audience all because they want to please whomsoever they are working for. May God help us. Thank u ma for this.

  • Its indeed unfortunate that international media organisations, with the aid of the agenda setting theory, the hypodermic needle and so on, are successfully confusing their mass audience. The people, on their part, swallow and digest the media content and then go about with protruded belly of not scrutinised news and we begin to wonder when labor will come. The truth is that “truth” is now a folktale and politics in the media, the real show. I crave for the objective journalistic style of Dele Giwa in this so-called “democratic era of the press”.

  • ojima faith

    The media sometimes give the wrong side of an information and the masses believe it and with their shallow mentality believe such things and vote d wrong person

  • harriet

    The media done more harm than good but the CREATOR is in control.

  • ologhofor sampson

    Indeed, they are pulling the wool over our eyes. The media feed us with bias information that is in accordance with the government in power. They only talk about the good side of the current administration but nothing about the bad aspect of their administration. In the other hand the opposition party attack the current government with their own private media making a lot of Nigerians bewildered. Learning from what happened in United state of America will go a long way in building a better Nigeria. God bless Nigeria.

  • egbo Rita Somtochukwu

    Nobody really trusts the media any more especially in broadcasting reliable and truthful news. They are biased, they black out the bad side of the current government and only talk on its good side. We should not be the subjective type but objective especially in matters concerning politics. May God help and save us from the hands of these corrupt leaders.

  • Kat

    Yes indeed. They blinded us, utterly, completely fooled us. The media know they hold enormous powers and they know how to use it to their advantage. Anything they say or do, we immediately support. And in this Nigeria, it’s even worse. We just follow blindly as we are led. Understanding that not everyone the media condemns should be condemned and not everything they preach is gospel would truly be the beginning of wisdom for us. I pray God has mercy on us and delivers us from Buhari’s administration, a predicament we put ourselves in. Amen

  • Afiadigwe Nnedinso Rita

    Mmmmmm
    Only God knows when the Nigerian’s situation will finally be solved.
    Politicians make all sorts of promises every tenure, they make us believe that things will be better again and at the end of the day,we will end up being fooled and disappointed.

  • Henry

    Eye opening from you Aunty. Following media contents with herd mentality should be history because with happenings in our country and the media sidings, one should be critical in media message consumption for it can be very misleading.

  • Ezidimma odinakachukwu oluchukwu

    Well to me you have said it all ma.
    They are pulling the wool over our eyes ma!
    For years now I hope many other people can read this poem and see what is actually happening.
    Although I don’t blame the media for giving the ones the government wants to hear but what can I say…
    This is Nigeria!

  • Oshana Oyaku Endurance

    The media indeed can be misleading but then we all are rational beings, all we ought do is not to take everything in the media hook, line and sinker; we should try to sometimes scrutinize media message.

  • In a free media world every thing is read must not be believed because we are rational to differentiate between truth and falsehood. Also, mind what you say in public.

  • Thanks ma’am for this wonderful post which I think should be louded all over the world not only Nigeria cause its content it what shouldn’t be missed out by any individual out there.
    We should all be conscious not to believe every single thing said by the media

  • Eze martins Tochukwu

    Yes the media over hype buhari and A.P.C and did not tell people how he will do all those things he promised, given the people a lot of unrealisable hope. Now that our hope are shattered, I think this saying that the devil you know is better than the angel you don’t know. Thank you ma for providing a solution to caricature that the media is making of us. Here comes the solution is to critical analysis this kind of write up to find out “Where’s the balance, who are their sources, what is missing and what’s trumpeted?”.

  • This post tells us about the power the media has on the masses and also what ownership of the press can do. as ma you have clearly stated one has to check the source of the news and then seek a balance before one swallows the information received. the press has made us gullible to believe all they say especially those beyond across the seas that are seen as all powerful and concise. Indeed they have been and are still pulling the wool over our eyes…

  • Akarule Adaeze Goodness

    Media houses have for long dished out controversial news mixed with the normal news under the guise of helping us know about happenings. It is easier said than done, because ownership of media houses also matters in biasness of news. Thanks so much ma for enlightening us.

  • Chinelobi Treasure Oluchi

    Rightly said ma’am.
    One of the greatest powers of the media is ability to steer the public to see things from their points of view.
    I feel that having independent views of our own will give the media less power over our minds.

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