By Adeola Aderounmu
If there is one war Yar Adua will NEVER win, it is this one he has decided to wage on bloggers and internet/online news services. Let no one be deceived, this regime is going down as one of the worst in Nigeria’s history. This government is not only clamping down on regular information providers (like we saw in the case of CHANNELS TELEVISION), it is also spreading its evil tentacles across the global web service.
That anyone could even think of waging war on internet/online sources of information is the height is tyranny. Let it be heralded in Nigeria that the era of global voices is here. Let it be told to stereotyped buffoons that freedom of speech and expression will never be tamed again in the present digitalised world.
If it is not yet known at the global centre of corruption aka Aso Rock, let them get it now that there is nothing they can do about blog, blogging, bloggers and freelance online journalism. It doesn’t matter if the information is junk, real, imagined, true or false. The most important thing is that information is flowing continuously in our global village. It is left for the consumers to discern or filter their intakes. Therein lies one of the toughest challenges for a daft leadership.
What responsible governments do when wrong information is flowing is to issue press statements or address press conferences to state their sides of the stories and clear the air of ambiguities. The unnecessary arrests, detention or persecution of journalists without trials are the elements of dictatorship, tyranny and undemocratic governments. To which of this category does Yar Adua belong?
Mr. Yar Adua should be told that not everyone recognises him as the president of Nigeria and there is also nothing he can do about. People have rights of association or dissociation and you cannot force your wish on all people. The era of complete dominance is over as far as the information and knowledge industries are concerned. No amount of threats, detention, persecution, arrests and killings can stop the truth.
If Yar Adua and his cohort are not aware, there are people who are now prepared to die for the truth about what is going on in Nigeria. Those are the people who know that the people’s democratic mandate was not given to the PDP in the 2007 (s)election. Many Nigerian activists and pro-democracy bodies believe that the country is on a free fall due to the absence of a legitimate and purposeful leadership.
There is no amount of Supreme Court judgements that can equate to the absence of election in Nigeria in 2007. There is nothing anyone can remove from the fact that the worst (s)election process known to mankind took place in Nigeria in 2007 under the watch of two heartless Nigerians-Obasanjo and Iwu using the ruthless machinery of the nest of killers aka PDP.
No amount of persecution of bloggers and online information services can take away the fact that Yar Adua’s government is oiled by corruption. Who does not know that Yar Adua is paying lip service to the war on corruption? Prove us wrong: tell Farida to arrest Ibori if you’ve got the liver! Show what an anti-corruption Czar is made of: go after Babangida, Obasanjo and the other corrupt governors together with whom you looted the country for 8 wasteful years! You cannot even return to any viable clinic or hospital in your home state where you held sway for 8 years! Igbinedion only has to refund a mere 3million naira after looting Edo State for 8 years. What a joke! Who is fooling who?
The person I pity most is Dora Akunyili who has refused to see and read the handwriting on the wall. Money, fame and power cannot be it all-there ought to be a time to say goodnight. As the new Minister for propaganda and misinformation, she’ll have to do silly errands and destroy the reputation that she built as the boss of NAFDAC. She will be at the war-front against bloggers and online journalists. She would be forced to explain the government’s position on the reasons for illegal arrests, detention and torture of innocent Nigerians. She will contribute to the slow death of some of the people she saved from fake drugs. She may even have the misinformation about the next lesser hajj made only for Nigerian leaders. Soon, she will find out what online warriors can do to people who mislead the public.
I wish Dora all the best in the new arena. Umaru, leave Nigerian Online Warriors alone. At least we are not competing with you and the other cronies in the looting game. We are happy travelling home to Nigeria in economy class as we do not have 12 billion dollars to fix private jet to Monaco or Minna. We are happy to tell the truth. We did it before you and we plan to do it after you. This is one battle you’ll lose because there are no bias judges or diminishing witnesses.