Last week, violence marred two gubernatorial elections, outcry trailed a proposeed social media bill, and the senate president took a worrying stance…
Predictably, reactions trailing the results of last Saturday’s elections in Kogi and Bayelsa states dominated tje conversation on social media in the days that followed.
The elections in both states were marred by violence, with Kogi especially described as a “theatre of war.”
Lives were lost and it wasn’t just violence before and during elections but also after, with sickening reports including that of Mrs. Acheju Abuh, the Women Leader for the campaign organisation of the Peoples Democratic Party governorship candidate Musa Wada, who was burnt alive in her home by thugs.
Yahaya Bello, the much vilified governor of the state who, in his first tenure became the ‘’poster boy’ of state governors who salaries , got re-elected. Which raised the question on many people’s lips, and posed by Fela Anikulapo’s vocal son, Seun Kuti, on Twitter: Are the workers in Kogi State’s employ happy at being owed a backlog of wages running into months? Because how else could Bello have won? Unless of course, the election was manipulated.
Not a problem for members of the APC and their apologists. They were quick to congratulate Bello on a “well won victory” as President Muhammadu Buhari described it. The President’s glee at winning the election by hook or by crook was apparent in the photo-op with Bello who went to present the spoils of victory (his INEC return certificate).
Senator Dino Melaye also lost his senate seat in the Kogi election. His initial victory had been upturned by a court and the signs were ominous. Especially after that picture pof President Buhari pointing a finger at him at the National Assembly surfaced on social media. Melaye says he will report the allegedly rigged and obviously violent election to the international community.
Meanwhile Bayelsa witnessed a shock result with the APC winning the oil-rich state for the first time. For those in the know, it wasn’t such a surprise though. #
The running narrative on social media was that former President Goodluck Jonathan helped mastermind victory for the APC. On the surface, this seems a preposterous idea as the PDP stalwart has over the years been repeatedly ridiculed by both officials and supporters of the APC.
However, the notion that Jonathan lent a helping hand to the APC was given credence by cryptic remarks by a few, including a media aide to President Buhari. They used a recent picture where both president shared a laugh to buttress their point. In politics they say, no permanent friends or enemies, only permanent interests.
In whose interests is the widely condemned social media bill – formally known as Protection from Internet Falsehood and Manipulations Bill – which has gone through a second reading at the senate? Certainly those who bear the brunt of criticism by the generality of the citizenry. You can say that it serves the interests of President Buhari and the ruling APC government who – lest we forget – rode to power on the back of propaganda spread via social media.
Now though, the administration is hell bent in silencing dissent, with the continued detention of publisher and activist Omoyele Sowore a case in point. More worrying is the stance of the Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, who said aid any request from President Buhari would make Nigeria a better place, and such would be acted on “expeditiously.”
There was outcry on social media over the social media bill which has scaled a second reading in the senate. This is in contrast to its overwhelming support by senators, including Elish Abbo, earlier this year suffered the ignominy of having a video where was seen assaulting a nursing mother, being circulated widely via social media.