BBC’s #SexforGrade documentary is trending and inspiring an honest national conversation for only two reasons: BBC’s institutional prestige and Nigerians’ instinctive, inferiority-complex-driven reverence for the foreign, which I have characterized as xenophilia in past articles. Had the investigation been done by a Nigerian news outlet, it won’t only have been a damp squib; its very authenticity and facticity would have been questioned.
When Daily Nigerian’s Jaafar Jaafar painstakingly investigated Kano State governor Abdullahi Ganduje for two years and captured him in 15 video scenes (nine of which clearly showed his face) collecting kickbacks from contractors, APC minions questioned the authenticity of the videos. Someone even wrote about “deepfake” technology to muddy the waters, and Buhari picked up on this to wonder “what tekenulaji was used” to show Ganduje collecting kickbacks from contractors.
Like Buhari, the man rigged himself back to power in spite of this scandal, and there’s a deafening silence everywhere. Had the investigation been done by the BBC, CNN, or any Western media outlet with enormous symbolic resources, and not the Daily Nigerian, I can bet my bottom dollar that there would have been no talk of “deepfake,” Buhari would never have asked what “tekenulaji was used” to make the videos, and he would probably never be governor today. We’re our own worst enemies.