There seems to be a lot of similarity between rumours, fake news and politics in Nigeria. And with the increasingly access to the internet by majority of Nigerians, coupled with easy means of information dissemination through the various social media handles, generation of these two societal evils is now a serious concern to the world.
It is on record that former American President, Barack Obama, was the first world leader to win election due to the effect of the social media on the younger and new voters in America at that time. Today, the effect of this means of communication has increased the rate of rumour mongering, and new level of fake news in the world, especially in politics.
Our dear country, Nigeria witnessed the negative effect of the social media at the build up of the 2015 General Election, when the political parties tried to undo their opponents with concocted materials, sourced from only God knows where. The then opposition party saw it as a means of riding to power, by daily churning out economic and political information that showed that country was in a bad state, under the presidency of Dr Goodluck Jonathan. They, the leaders of the party directly and indirectly insulted the Sacred Seat of the Presidency, calling the then leader all sort of names, just to garner sympathy from the perceived frustrated Nigerians, especially the youths.
However, it had shown that most of the information then were fake, as the propagators can still not show proof of such allegations. The country after then had not find her feet, as that same party who rode at the back of the social media, churning out fake news, based on rumours is still relying on the same means to run the country, while at the same time complaining and calling for the enacting of laws to control the use of the social media in the country.
It has now dawn on every one of us, the rumours had grown bigger than what it used to be, because it was locally, but now it had grown beyond international boundaries, daily it is ruining this country, thanks to no other source, but the government and her agents that are becoming used to making comments without facts in many occasions. These could be seen, in most of the widely celebrated cases of arrest and break in by the security agencies in the name of fighting corruption.
We as a nation is set for another journey of election, the rumour and fake news millers are set and are already carrying out the instructions of their paymasters. They look for anything that they can use to destroy their opponents. And mostly they involve jobless youths who had found solace to coarse, intimated the supposed opponents of their paymasters with lies of their activities in other to gain the upper hands.
It is good to note here that fake news and rumours in today politics, also happened in the world largest and strongest democracy, the united states of America, during the 2016 election that brought President Donald Trump, and today we had seen that someone in Russia created the agents that confused the entire country, that gave Donald Trump victory over Hilary Clinton of the Democrat. So the fake news and rumour millers are not only in Nigeria, but are growing round the world. However the question is, must we allow this to continue in our country. The answer to us here, in Ndokwa Reporters is no!
Something must be done as the act and action of few, parading themselves as Social Activists, using the social media to carry out their activism is doing nothing, but injury to our nation and society. Investigation had shown that most of these so called social activists are frustrated because either they were not empowered financially by their victims, or they had committed one offence in their place of work, and were either disciplined or dismissed. They start campaign of calumny, in other to gain political and economic attention.
In our today life in Nigeria, especially in politics, we are now living a life of social media, and most person tend to believe whatever that is published or copied and pasted on social media platforms. This is alarming, because the social media in advanced clime are used by the smart, and not too smart to spring to live, as they had found out that, it is the easiest and fastest means of business information. And they are cashing in on it. But what do we have in our own dear country, self destroyed youths who had found the use of the social media to create more and more rumours, and turn the rumours as news.
In all this, we believe that to stern this tide, the governments of the states and the federal need to check what on their part they give to the public as information, as they had become source of fake news and rumours, and this is embarrassing. Remember the incident of the abducted NNPC workers and some soldiers in Borno state by the Boko Haram Militias. Remember what the Army said, before they retracted their statement. That is Nigeria. Where even the authourity lies to her citizen.
The politicians in Nigeria cannot tell us that they want to fight fake news and rumours, when they are mainly the architects of the octopus problem. They have to do more by stopping the encouragement and the arming of the youths with tools to destroy their perceived opponents. They should provide them with better jobs to help the society, instead of engaging them on negative ventures. Enough of all this politicking with our future, and future of the unborn Nigerian child.