Friday, April 25, 2014


In George Orwell's 1984, we read how the government of Oceania through it's Ministry of Truth misinforms and manipulates citizens while the Ministry of love tortures and conditions those who fall out of line. Nigeria's current government appears to follow suit as a citizen almost became an "unperson" but for  vigilance of social media activists.This makes one wonder the number of people (especially non-journalists) that have disappeared by reason of security agencies before the rise of new media and those who have no social media presence.

Indeed all governments engage in public manipulation in national interest- though it's definition of national interest is  personal. However, when a government's primary function becomes misinformation and manipulation  in the face of the many challenges a nation faces, it shows that there is a blasé and puerile attitude towards decision making. To be fair to Nigeria's current government, predecessors have plied the propaganda route. The difference is that it was done with more tact and adroitness.  For instance, human right abuses under President Obasanjo's government  were and are viewed are necessary and not for the abuse that it is. President Obasanjo is perceived as a strong leader and not civilian dictator. Obasanjo's downfall was his third term bid, otherwise he did no wrong. However,  this government's attempts are so haphazard, casual and slipshod. From the unthought Oduah's assassination attempt story, Reno Omokri's failed attempt at labelling Sanusi Lamido Sanusi as Boko Haram's sponsor to SSS's (they should know better) spew on Boko Haram's attack on it's forte  and the various versions that was given (you can read them here and here), the stance that Boko Haram is a Northern problem the North should deal with, questions the government's ability to govern and if indeed the government understands its purpose is to improve the welfare of citizens. If this government understands that, our president would not make petty comments like"I could vividly remember that the Kano State governor, Kwankwaso, did not vote for me during the primary and secondary elections in 2011, he was part of those who worked against me during that period and did not celebrate with me after the victory".  If a government cannot take responsibility for Nigeria's electricity crises and blames the opposition and the opposition knows no better than to take needless swipes  at the government whilst failing to take responsibility for its part in the  sorry state state the nation is in  one wonders which way Nigeria. 
For a country whose population is expected to hit 210 million in 2020 and 273 million  in 2030 (source: United Nations Department of Social and Economic Affairs), where 120 million people have no access to electricity, where about 15% of her 200,000 km roads  are paved and at least 10.5 million kids are out of school with a projected illiteracy rate of  42 million  adults and 10 million youths by 2015, the government should be hard at work  addressing these issues and  planning for the next 50 years rather take to the airwaves comparing the president to MLK and Nelson Mandela egging him on in incompetency mischievously noting that "those who are for him are more than those against him". It is  reckless of government institutions and officials  to promote tribalism and beer parlour talk by mis-informing citizens. The government  also needs to get better in the way it interacts with citizens especially critics. In this age of the citizen reporter, it is  laughable that SSS- Nigeria's highest intelligence unit  would  tell barefaced lies on the whereabouts of a citizen and hold this citizen for days without. SSS's behavior shows the low level of intelligence gathering and citizen engagement of the country and the knowledge our security agents have. 
Nigeria's 1999 Constitution (Chapter 2, section 14b) states that the the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government. It is time for the presidency to ignore the cheers and jeers and focus on achieving that purpose. Actions speak louder than words. 

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