AND ALL THE OTHERS WHO FOUGHT FOR A DAY LIKE THIS IN AMERICAS HISTORY AND WILL PROBABLY BE WISHING THE WERE ALIVE TO SEE THIS DAY. THEY ARE WITH THE MOVEMENT IN SPIRIT AND ARE CASTING THEIR VOTES TOO....
THE CHANGE IS COMING....ARE YA'LL READY...CAN YOU HANDLE IT!!!
(YES I AM OFFICIALLY AND UNASHAMEDLY PUBLICLY DECLARING MY SIDE IN THIS WHOLE GAME. I AM BLACK AND PROUD TO ALSO BE AN AMERICAN FROM AFRICA. NIGERIAN LEADERS NEED TO TAKE A LEAF FROM ALL THIS AND STOP SHORT CHANGING US -- LITERARILY )
It has been a roller coaster ride leading up to today. The d-day. The polls have opened and I am down with allergies, The benedryl is shutting me out. The fact that I am the camera man is also 'not cute'. BUt hey...doing what I have to do. On Sunday one crew went off on a 5 hour drive to Ohio while I stayed in the city to attend a church service at the historic Quinn Chapel AME church in downtown Chicago where there was a very moving sermon. This church played a huge role in the underground railroad days when black slaves treid to make their way up to Canada to gain their freedom. Leaders like Ida B Wells and Martin Luther also stopped their to make speeches. Even Susan B Anthony of the women's suffrage movement. Then later on we sat with the Young Republicans of Chicago as they set up the final touches of their election night party. They agree they are the underdog but are fighting to the finish. After dealing with a few 'house keeping' with the entire crew, we set off to speak with the cook county elections clerk recorder and then guess who showed up in the hood. ASIWAJU!!! The former governor of Lagos State Bola Tinubu Uh hmh. I envisage some of ya'll scratching your head. Apparently he is in town as an election observer. He set us up with some of his contacts. Alderman Carrie Austin and Congressman Danny K Davis. We had been trying to get tickets to the Grant Park event for months but that didn't pan out and neither did getting press accreditation. However, the congressman got us tickets and his office is working on the press passes. As per 'West AFrican Media Corp.' Today we are checking out of Elk Grove and heading to a hotel downtown. We'll be going to some polling precincts and checking out what's happening as polls open up in 26 states. I had to hire a freelance cameraman for $400 to cover for me as I feel like a cat whose head is stuck in a jar.
Covering the US Elections: Day 1 (JUST REALIZED I NEVER POSTED THIS)
It's 4.45 AM Chicago time, which is 10.45 AM Nigerian time and I cannot sleep as we head into the second full day of our bid to cover the US elections. Basically our 'guerrilla' crew of Nigerian journalists arrived Chicago late Friday night aboard Delta Airlines. That flight was not funny at all. Not only was it just too long, it was a bit too scary as we had some serious turbulence in the middle of the Atlantic. As in come and see people firing prayers like we were in some Mountain of Fire Prayer and Deliverance service. In my head I started going over the sins I had committed before embarking on the trip and started asking God for forgiveness. I mean if it was my time, that's the least I could do to make the passage through 'the golden gates' less stressful since we can't tip the 'winged bouncers'. I shall comment some other time on the turbulence matter. But back to the 'guerrilla news crew' made up of Silverbird TV, Channels and a lone guy from the Punch Newspaper. MBI is supposed to be joining us today and I imagine the folks from 'This Day' are living large in some of the key cities and states. If they can spend all that money on concerts and spiffed up satellite technology they better give me LIVE VIDEO on the pages of their newspaper. Yes o. As a reader of their newspaper, that's the least they owe me. Dunno about ya'll. I am sure NTA and AIT are equally capable to the task so if you want a Nigerian style reporting on the election (mostly phone-ins and commentary) make sure you tune in to STV. It is not like we will 'do pass' CNN or 'BBC' but 'we dey try the wan wey we fit'.
We've settled for a Days Inn near the airport as opposed to downtown just because we figured we would need transportation for our equipment and road travel to neighboring towns. It was wiser to spend the money on transportation rather than comfort. Unfortunately I am the only person in the crew who has been to America or been here more than a week so naturally I have to play mother hen. We practically spent the whole day securing all the things we needed (finding a hotel down town only to discover that because we are cash customers we would have to pay walk in rate of twice the online listing as the only available and acceptable credit card, mine, could not hold the entire amount), establishing contacts, renting a van and Nigerian driver/guide (this worked out as he rented the van added me as second driver and we just reimbursed him). Now all this may not have been the case if I was rolling solo and I am sure the other guys would have 'sorted' themselves out eventually but by golly I would be a cold heartless bitch if I decided to pull the 'competition' card and not send anybody. That's the 'nice girl' in me talking and as I write this I can see one of my new self help manuals "NICE GIRLS DON'T GET RICH by Lois Frankel" saying "don't do it gurl, don't do it, don't be nice, not now..." (I'm now placing a pillow over it...I will pull it out when I get on the plane. Ya'll ladies need to read that and NICE GIRLS DON'T GET THE CORNER OFFICE by the same author. I'll blog about these books soon).
So right now we are all squared off and ready to start working on some stories. I haven't been very lucky with many of my US media industry contacts as it seems everybody is busy and bogged down trying to get their own election scoops and all that drama that plays out. Oh the fun of election coverage. How I miss that. I used to hate it in the past when I had to be the one collecting and collating the election data back at WTVD. Paying my dues. Now I can't wait for the elections to come. It needs to come like every two years or may be there should be a 'popularity or favorability' election two years before the general election so that junkies like me can get our fix.
Yes the coverage unfortunately cannot be wholesome as the interest of our viewership is because Obama is in the race (The theory of 'Obama's to win and his to lose'). I know how that sounds in general as a cynical and highly sarcstic Nigerian myself who can easily kill someones excitement and enthusiasm about something with a wave of my hand, a hiss and an "abeg, abeg'.
TALES AND COMMENTARY FROM A NIGERIAN-AMERICAN JOURNALIST ESCAPING THE RECESSION AND GLOBAL CREDIT CRUNCH IN THE CHAOS OF LAGOS AND DISCOVERING AFRICA IN THE PROCESS.
(Please note that certain content are highly embellished, reflect only the inner workings of my head and do not represent the views of any organization, past or present, to which I am affiliated. Dig?)