This is Ask The Boss, the on-air, online and in-print Q & A platform of mine, which for seven years and counting has addressed social dilemmas. Today, focus is on the first-ever entry from Yobe State, indeed the first-ever entry from up North. It’s a matter that resonates beyond borders. Young people at the crossroads of career decision would find this serving especially timeous and talismanic.
Question of the day: ‘The Boss, I write from Damaturu; bringing you greetings and love from your teeming fans in Yobe. I can bet, Sir, you don’t know the impact and belief that Bush House Nigeria Network, especially Cup of Coffee, generates among the populace out here. I don’t know how you came up with it, but your persistent mention of the Yobe State Capital during Cup of Coffee is something that we, the good people of Yobe, celebrate and appreciate, more because of our peculiar circumstance. We thank you.
‘To the business of the day: my twin sister, Maya, and I plan to be broadcasters. She prefers TV; I, Radio. Now, may I Ask The Boss: is it true that the fundamental prerequisite to be a TV presenter is a pretty face just as a beautiful voice opens Radio doors? Two, are there other equally or more important requirements?’
My Take: Dear Mallam Suleiman, many thanks, brother. It’s refreshing to hear firsthand about Damaturu. We hope this means that henceforth our North Pole fans would start to write in, and regularly. Rest assured that since neither the state nor you were singed by all the combustibilities that threatened your very existence, this too shall pass.
I commend your sister and you for wanting broadcasting, which remains the last bastion of the professions. It is the best job on earth: one which makes your boss or subordinate; friend or enemy; the rich or the famous to watch or listen with rapt attention every time you come on. Broadcasting is the father of ‘em all. Clearly!
Now, let’s get serious. I have heard broadcaster mentors telling their audiences that a pretty face is basic for TV while a good voice is a Radio constant. I am afraid, I do not agree. That may be correct though, but it is not right.
A pretty face may be added advantage for TV the same way a good voice for Radio, alas both are not that fundamental. Well, to be on the safer side; let me concede that they used to be in the Old Testament of the trade. Getting on TV or Radio is no more that easy; except through the backdoor of ‘man know man,’ which exists only in Nigeria. Things had since changed everywhere else.
If you look around now or listen or watch a little harder, you’d find a legion of excellent, successful broadcasters on local and global TV and Radio who do not have the looks nor the voice. So, what’s the new Unique Selling Point in the broadcast sub sector? Brains. That’s all you need for this constantly evolving career: brains.
If you have the head (read flair) and the heart (read passion) to learn fast; to store a little knowledge of everything; to remember easily; to manufacture and appreciate clean jokes. If you have the head and the heart to swim with the Sharks and survive; to create something out of nothing; to laugh when you should cry; to walk tall no matter how short you are. If you have the head and the heart to manipulate your face or voice to look or sound the part per time; to outsmart ‘a strange object’ (eg. a word unknown to you) on air; to dare, and above all if you have the head and the heart to never betray any weakness or fear whatsoever; then, surely, no matter how star-studded the firmament might be, there’s space for you among the galaxy. Welcome to the Club of Gentlemen!
I dare to repeat that these twelve brain powers qualify you above any pretty face or good voice credential for broadcasting. My point is: if you have a pretty face or a good voice; without brains, you may succeed in getting in but you’d run out as fast as you got in when you find yourself stagnated without fame or money, or both. How then do you possess this all-in-one head and that massive heart? It comes naturally, but you can uncommonly transform even a coconut head or a sheep heart by accentuating it.
Study to show thyself approved. No, this is not necessarily only about school. You must also study by using your senses wherever you find yourself. I am sure you know that greater education is achieved out of the four walls of the classroom.
Go on: teach yourself; use your head; apply your senses. Learn more. Get confidence. And now, welcome to the microphone!
Mallam Hassan Suleiman, we hope this helps you. You may email or call us up anytime you face a challenge over which you think we could be useful. And, not to miss the point, we shall be watching out for any Hassan and Maya Suleiman on Radio or TV, in the next four, five, six years. Congratulations in advance. God bless Nigeria!
Sorry, what did defence minister say wrong?
‘We shouldn’t be cowards. I don’t know why people are running away from minor, minor, minor things like that. Let these people know that even the villagers have the competence and capability to defend themselves.’
Those words were uttered by defence minister Bashir Salihi Magashi, last Wednesday, hours after gunmen had abducted dozens of people, including 27 students, from Government Science Secondary School in Kagara district of Niger State. As soon as Nigerians heard or read the ministerial reaction, we flew into our trademark verbal righteous indignation. We taunted, insulted, cursed the retired major general to no end.
But, in just 24 hours, we had moved on as we always do. May hypocrisy not kill this country. May we receive sense to love Nigeria, to hate politics and to stand up for this great country at every point.
To be sure, Minister Magashi said nothing new or wrong. His clarion call was just a reminder to us all. Most Nigerians currently provide own water, own electricity, own school, own hospital, own security.
Then a man in public office is bold enough to alert us to add community security to what we already provide and we move against him? I don’t understand us. By the way, this is no satire.
The Nigerian situation demands truth and love and patience and courage and justice. Rather than sit by and badmouth the authorities who are clearly overwhelmed, let all hands be to the pump; let’s support with all we can muster: ideas, information, everything. Let traditional rulers be wired back into our security architecture, so we would readily know from where trouble emanates and by who!