For an increasingly predatory local social media hemmed in by unrelenting insecurity, the Janus-faced COVID-19 and bruising socio-political uncertainty, any diversionary relief is just fine, writes Lewis Chukwuma
Recently, local social media platforms came alive with titillating tales of alleged office romance between a boss and his subordinate officer in the banking sector which produced two kids and willy-nilly led to the death of the female worker’s husband. Nollywood could hardly better the script.
But the real catch here is that this involves real life personalities, reputations, the future of young kids, cultures and a key industrial sector in this instance. Ungoverned by some of the professional strictures of traditional mainstream media which require rigorous investigation and substantiation of stories, for the social media, it is game on. What are the issues?
Nuru Adam, the erstwhile managing director of the First City Monument Bank, FCMB, was alleged to have sired two kids with Moyo Thomas while she worked at the bank. Tunde Thomas, Moyo’s husband, reportedly died from trauma after discovering the children were no his biological offsprings.
Yet another version of the story says Moyo revealed to Tunde that the kids were not his after she moved to the US and that the deceased had moved on and arranged to marry another woman before his death on December 16, 2020.
All these raunchy tales were fed by a petition posted in the social media allegedly signed by over 1900 people asking the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and FCMB to sack the Nuru. But emerging facts show the petition was not signed. The so-called petition alleged that the bank MD was responsible for the demise of Tunde Thomas was the source of the allegations peddled by social media’s commentariat.
Given the nature of the allegations, why would a nameless group deliver an unsigned petition to the CBN to sack Nuru? What is really the underlying motive? What quirky calculations are afoot?
The unfolding drama looks like a well-orchestrated plot to damage Nuru professionally. Nobody even heard from Tunde before he died. Notwithstanding the social media spin, there is actually no DNA report to prove that Nuru sired the young kids in question. Somebody or group just scripted an anonymous petition and put it on social media and based on the preposterous lie all hell was let loose. The post went viral. Even Moyo, the lady allegedly at the centre of the narrative had left the bank four years ago and relocated to the US. Nobody even cared about the potential psychological damage to the kids involved.
What are the responses from both sides of the character cast of the drama? Besides some reactions from the Moyo Thomas’ family which even debunked the entirety of the allegations circulating on social media, there is pretty little to go on. The FCMB board must look at the issues dispassionately.
But good a thing Moyo Thomas herself has spoken up – essentially pulling the rug from under the foot of the slimy social media crisis entrepreneurs who would stop at nothing to destroy an innocent man’s reputation.
And Moyo Thomas Speaks
According to Moyo, the widow of Tunde who spoke up for the first time on Friday, at no occasion did she ever tell her now late husbands that he was not the father of their two children. In her words: “On no occasion did I ever tell him he was not the father of our two children.
“It is, therefore, deliberate falsehood and certainly malicious to allege and insinuate that I informed him that the children are not his. The children still bear his name. Only God knows why he died in an untimely period.
“It is not in my place, or anyone’s place to play God and talk with certainty as to the cause of his death, without proven medical facts,” she said in a statement, late Friday.
She said she refrained from commenting on the issue to preserve the memories of Tunde who died on December 16, 2020. “Memories, not only to me, but to his children, who are still young, and to everybody who had a relationship with him,” she said.
According to Mrs. Moyo, they had many differences in their marriage, some of which led to police intervention but she remained committed to keeping only positive memories of him.
She said despite their separation, they never allowed their differences to affect their relationships with the children. “He still had conversations with the children like any father will, up until his sudden and unfortunate death.
“It is quite sad and disheartening to see the pictures of these innocent children splashed all over the internet with very disparaging and weird comments,” she said.
She implored everyone to respect her privacy and “allow those grieving his loss, including the children and I, to do so in peace.”
Moyo Thomas Family’s Position
Even much earlier, a formal statement issued by Moyo Thomas’ family had clarified matters and affirmed that Moyo’s two kids belong to Tunde and that they were not legally divorced before their daughter’s husband’s death despite the fact that she had relocated to the US.
The response, signed by Adetunji Iromini, on behalf of the family, said in part: “This is quite unfortunate in many ways. It does not augur well for the memory of the departed soul especially as we are all grieving the loss of Tunde, who was buried on Wednesday 30th December, 2020. The pictures of the children are being posted in the social media, without care.
“There would not have been any need to respond to issues raised in the petition but for the sake of posterity, the memory of Tunde and for the sake of his children. Like any marriage, there were differences between Moyo and Tunde leading to their separation and eventual relocation of Moyo to the USA in December, 2017.
“It is important to note that the divorce process was never thought of or initiated by Moyo. And to the best of our knowledge, no divorce papers were ever served on Moyo. This means that they were still legally married. In the opinion of Moyo and her family, the channel for reconciliation was still open up until Tunde’s unfortunate demise.
“Tunde is the father of the 2 children and Moyo never told him he was not their father. Moyo and Tunde clearly worked to ensure the differences they had did not affect the relationship they respectively have with the two children. Tunde paid a visit to the USA to see the children in June 2018. He met them and interacted with them unhindered. This was after his recovery from the stroke he had earlier that year.
“It is very sad that a group of people have decided to take the differences between a married couple and misrepresent it into a sensational story. It is unfair to have the pictures of his young children splashed all over the internet.”
This may have informed the position of FCMB when Nuru Adam, being the professional he is, decided on principle to proceed on leave to allow his bank investigate the whole saga. Based on Nuru’s decision, the FCMB top management appointed an acting MD, Mrs. Yemisi Edun.
Good a thing, the FCMB, a key industry leader has signalled it is investigating the alleged affair. It correctly recognises that it could lose goodwill if it acted slowly in the face of concerted social media onslaught.
Significantly, in a Twitter post mid last week, the bank also clarified that Mrs. Edun has only been appointed in acting capacity, “and that she has not been made the substantive managing director”.
Cut to the bone, the so-called “facts” being paraded by the social media are fundamentally mere conjectures. Transparent fact-based cases are not anchored on social media conjectures or titillating speculations – no matter how seemingly entertaining.
Clearly, folks cannot simply be judged, demonised and sentenced based on the social media. This is simply because social media trial is no trial. It’s based on who spoke first. Nigeria is a law-governed country and procedures abound to deal with genuine cases of rights infringement and more.
The crooked script here simply needed adroit positioning to generate a feeding frenzy for social media sharks and stakeholders who may already have an axe to grind with the inimitable FCMB MD.
Nuru who holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with specialization in Finance from the Ahmadu Bello University, has over 20 years of experience covering Corporate Finance, Consumer Banking, Public Sector, Treasury, Commercial/Retail Banking and Human Resources Management. He has faithfully paid his dues in life. He is by no means a saint and good a thing he has not been heard claiming that arcane status. But he deserves fair treatment even in the den of ravenous lions with an agenda.
According to Canadian-based philosopher, entrepreneur, and author Matshona Dhliwayo, “Never judge an eagle by the opinion of turkeys.” This because those who judge will never understand, and those who understand will never judge.