It’s been an interesting week. Finally, the much-awaited blockbuster movie, heralding the fall of the ruling All Progressives Con- gress (APC) is out. If you haven’t secured your copy yet, visit the next newsstand and get all the juicy details. But no one is really shocked. Political pundits saw this eclipse coming.
On Tuesday, the presidency went overboard and shamelessly told Nigerians to give up their lands for ranching. According to President Muhammadu Buhari’s media handlers, giving up your ancestral lands to Fulani herdsmen to graze is a safer option. At least, our lives which have been so made cheap by this regime, will be spared.
Just when we were yet to recover from the threat, the same regime, which has become notorious for its weekly distractions, claimed that over 300,000 poor Nigerians had benefited from its N10 billion welfare programme since 2015. Sincerely, who are these poor Nigerians? Time shall tell.
Lest I forget. Buhari’s administration will soon roll out plans to doll out $300 million to poor households. Who says Buhari is not a messiah? He is a blessing to Nigeria and posterity will be fair to him. If you are from a poor home, get ready to benefit from this loot.
How ironic and stupid. Every year, Buhari’s regime borrows trillions of naira to fund our annual budget. Questionably, the same regime populated by saints, wants to doll out whopping
$300 million. Who does that? Oh! I forgot. Elections are here and excuses must be manufactured to justify how our recovered loot will be re-looted.
Away from the distractions, let me address one salient issue that has silently crept into our public space. It is not new, but this regime has unleashed its online tigers to promote the narrative. Unknown to Nigerians, they are succeeding. It’s called fake news.
During the week that just ended, the Nigerian media were in the news for the wrong reasons. A recent bloodbath that occurred in Plateau State, where scores of Nigerians were gruesomely murdered, took another twist.
A reputable national daily and an online newspaper, were accused of publishing a fake reaction from the leadership of Miyetti Allah. While the national daily is unwilling to backtrack, the online newspaper has issued a public apology.
I have no qualms with that. Someday, the story of what truly transpired will be told. Rather than treat the said news story as an isolated case, this regime has covertly launched a campaign. Its online witches and wizards now tag every story critical of the regime as fake news.
Let me address what I understand by fake news. In making this attempt, I will rely on existing definitions and researches. We need to define a clear line between journalism and purveyors of fake news.
According to Wikipedia, “Fake news is a type of yellow journalism or propaganda that consists of deliberate misinformation or hoaxes spread via traditional print and broadcast news media or online social media.
“This false information is mainly distributed by social media, but is periodically circulated through mainstream media. Fake news is written and published with the intent to mislead in order to damage an agency, entity, or person, and/or gain financially or politically, often using sensationalist, dishonest, or outright fabricated headlines to increase readership, online sharing, and Internet click revenue.”
Donald Miller, an American author, public speaker, and business owner, once said that “in the age of information, ignorance is a choice.”
Fake news is real. I need to establish this fact. Sometimes, it is impossible to extract real stories from fake online. While bloggers and self-acclaimed journalists, who with their internet connection and an android phone, can publish nonsense without any regulations, the traditional media still exhibits some form of decency. No sane editor or a trained journalist, will deliberately publish a fake story to mislead the public. Whenever media houses goof, they quickly retract such and issue apologies. These exceptions are not peculiar to Nigeria. It is a global practice.
At the risk of incurring the wrath of some people, I can safely posit that the Nigerian media, despite its many inadequacies, is not a purveyor of fake news. Yes, journalists sometimes go overboard and embellish their stories. These cases are the exceptions.
Gradually, this regime, in a desperate bid to protect itself, is intentionally destroying strong institutions. It flouts court orders and clamps down on folks who are critical of their nuisances. Any action is viewed from the lenses of opposition.
When this regime came on board in 2015, its first casualty was the National Assembly, specifically the Senate. The leaders of the Senate were shamed and disgraced. Lawmakers were labelled thieves and bribe seekers. Resolutions of the parliament were flouted with disdain and Nigerians went to bed while the symbol of our democracy was destroyed.
Today, every senator or a member of the House of Representatives is seen as a thief. Appointees of President Buhari seldom honour summons extended to them by the National Assembly. When any chamber sanctions the probe of anything that will expose the executive, it secures a court order and stops it.
The icing was the invasion of the Senate by armed thugs in April. The man who allegedly led them into the chamber is a now a close ally of Buhari. He was never arrested or charged to court. The thugs who carried out the attack were never arrested. They were not declared wanted either. Unknown to many Nigerians, Buhari’s regime has succeeded in destroying the Eight Senate.
While Nigerians were yet to recover from the unbundling of the Senate, the judiciary, the third arm of government joined the list. Like a thief in the night, security agents, led by the Department of State Services (DSS), invaded homes of judges. Like hardcore criminals, they were shamed and disgraced.
Today, an average Nigerian doesn’t trust our judiciary. Judges are now seen as thieves. Court judgments are now misinterpreted and flouted by this regime. Everyday, we are told that the judiciary is corrupt and that judgments are secured through the black market.
Out of the three arms of government, the executive which is supervised by Buhari is the only organ populated by saints. Judges and lawmakers are thieves. This regime is very calculative and it is succeeding in where previous administrations failed. If the media, which is seen as the fourth estate of the realm, is allowed be destroyed by this regime, we may just wake up someday and realise that there is no one left to checkmate the excesses of this government.
In another six to seven months, Nigerians will return to the polls. Nigerians, you need the media to check the excesses of this admin- istration that is becoming desperate to remain in power. Yes, we are not perfect, but this house (media) must not fall. The media remains the last hope of the ordinary Nigerian. The media will always be on the side of the people. We are not infallible and sometimes, we will make mistakes. Don’t buy into the conspiracy of this regime by concluding that every story critical of it is fake. It is a lie from the pit of hell.
I so submit!
One more thing…
Senate’s gamble on state police
Few days after the Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremandu, revealed that he will sponsor a bill for the creation of state police, the Senate, on Tuesday, commenced moves to amend the 1999 Constitution, as amended.
In the planned constitution review, the Senate is expected to create state and community police to complement the efforts of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF), which the Red Chamber said has proven to be ineffective.
Senator Solomon Adeola from Lagos State, moved for an additional prayer, following the consideration of a motion sponsored by Senator Jonah Jang on recent killings on the Plateau.
The Standing Senate Committee on Constitution Review, headed by Ekweremandu, has been mandated to submit a copy of the bill within the next two weeks.
President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, who presided, said the bill will be given speedy consideration to enable President Muhammadu Buhari sign it into law before the expiration of this administration next year.
The Senate also mandated the Constituency Review Committee, to come up with another bill on the creation of a Peace and Conflict Resolution Commission.
The committee is also expected to submit the bill within two weeks, alongside with the planned bill to unbundle the police. Ekweremandu moved for the additional prayer.
As lofty as this intention maybe, I don’t think it will fly. I have my reasons. President Muhammadu Buhari, who has the final say on whether to sign the bill into law is not in support of state police. He abhors restructuring and enjoys the current deficient system.
Buhari, privately or publicly, has never told anyone that he supports the creation of state police. His poster boy, Vice President Yemi Osibanjo, for reasons best known to him, is telling gullible Nigerians that state police is the way out of the current security mess. The same executive arm, has not sponsored any bill to unbundle the police.
We know the National Assembly lacks the guts to override the veto of the president. Now, this is the poser: if Buhari has not openly canvassed for the creation of state police, who is going to sign the bill into law when passed by the two chambers of the National Assembly?
I rest my case.