Levi’s discussion with us about working in a military controlled dictatorship was intense and I have to ask myself would any of us be willing to ‘pay the ultimate sacrifice’ for our work, let alone withstand torture, public humiliation and other heinous spirit-breaking attempts.
He spoke of these unaccountable governments gaining power via coup d’etat and suspending the constitution so they cannot be impeached.
His list of ‘survival strategies’ which would be ragearded as general knowledge for a Nigerian journalist such as never sleeping in the same house twice in a week and travelling using different modes of transport to and from work seemed unbelievable.
I couldn’t ever imagine putting my life on the line for a job. You’d have to ask yourself was it worth it? But in the grand scheme of things life was restricted by such constraints then we as journalists have to be the ones who stand up to the government and demand accountability for the rest of the nation, for the greater good.
When asked why Levi would want to be a journalist in such a volatile area he humbly and matter-of-factly stated “These people come into office and no-one votes for them, they don’t have the right to be there and they believe that critical comment is destabolizing to society but that is your job. You can’t just sign away your conscience.”
So willing to be branded a national security threat and indefinitley imprisoned for fighting for freedom this Nigerian journo’ definitely taught us a thing or two about the easy run we have reporting in a western democratic society.