Amaechi: Nigeria Was Inching Towards Civil War in 2015

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Says Jonathan’s removal posed bigger threat than Biafra Warns social media will destroy this country
Olawale Olaleye

The Minister of Transport and former Rivers State Governor, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, yesterday said not many Nigerians knew that the nation was heading towards another civil war in 2015 had the election results of that year been tampered with.

Amaechi, who spoke at the maiden edition of the CKN News annual lecture, held at the Renaissance Hotel, GRA, Ikeja, Lagos, explained that the removal of former President Goodluck Jonathan posed a bigger threat to the nation than the current agitation for Biafra, dismissing the possibility of a breakup in the country.

The minister, who expressed grave concern about the degree of abuse on the social media, also noted that if care was not taken, the abuse on the social media could destroy the country, even as he sued for an informed and educated use of the opportunity provided by the platform.

Speaking on the topic: “The Role of The Social Media in the Socio-economic and Political Development of Nigeria”, Amaechi, who noted that whilst the social media was generating huge funds on the one hand, it was also creating crimes on the other hand, citing the instance of the recently apprehended kidnap kingpin, Chukwudidumeme Onuamadike, known as Evans, who claimed to have garnered information on his victims from the social media.

“The removal of President Jonathan was a bigger threat than Biafra. Nigeria was inching towards the civil war. So, forget the talk about secession; Nigeria cannot breakup,” he said, claiming that the Muhammadu Buhari Campaign organisation used the social media effectively to expose some of the undercurrents as well as tame the possible outbreak of a civil war.

Amaechi, who noted that the social media had created jobs for more unemployable people than their employable counterparts, maintained that government was angry with the social media operators but also happy because they had been creating jobs.

“They misinform the public. They have no rules except for the few that are credible and it is because those ones rose from the traditional media like The Cable and The Eagleonline. Social media can destroy this country. It is good for society and its polity and it is also very bad,” he said.

The minister, who spoke extempore because he wanted the lecture to be interactive since social media matter was one that interested all, said the social media often times helped to solve depression through some of the sarcastic postings and gave different instances of some of the posts he has had to share because of their comic slant.

“Don’t believe everything on the social media if you want to remain sane,” he said, noting that it could be used heavily to influence the elections of 2019 in the country.
The minister, who also took questions from the audience after his lecture, dismissed assumptions about the non-performance of the Buhari administration, saying “our problem is not that we are not working; our problem is that we are not talking about what we are doing, reeling out some of the achievements of the administrations region by region.”

According to him, the state of the nation was so bad that salaries became impossible but the president looked into it to get the economy going. He therefore contended that to successfully fight corruption, government must jail at least 10 prominent rich people found culpable to serve as deterrent to others.

Amaechi, who was circumspect in his choice of words as he addressed the undoing of the social media said the fear of the social media operators and bloggers misquoting him or over-sensationalising the headlines of the story from the event had held him back from saying much, especially the need to observe the oath of secrecy, otherwise, he would have provided more information about certain persons to buttress his points.

Speaking earlier, the Editor-in-Chief of CKN News, Mr. Chris Kehinde Nwandu, said gone were the days when bloggers and online publishers were seen as blackmailers or in negative lights, but that they were more development partners to those who see them as such.

He added that after yesterday’s lecture, he reckoned there would be some kind of re-awakening about the online publishers and bloggers, noting that the choice of Amaechi as the guest speaker was because he remained the most bashed politician on the social media, when indeed some of the things written about him were untrue.

Also present at the event were the Corps Marshal, Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Dr. Boboye Oyeyemi; Executive Vice-Chairman/CEO of Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC), Professor Umar Garba Danbatta, who was represented by the Director, Public Affairs, NCC, Mr. Tony Ojobo, and presented the keynote address as well as the publisher, The Oracle newspaper, Mr. Ikeddy Isiguzo.