Social Media 4 : 0 Social Vices
By Ogbeni La


My dad while disciplining a younger me with his fine leather belt used to say that if you won’t stop commiting vices because they are wrong, you will stop because you have a father that won’t condone it and will beat the hell out of you. He wasn’t bluffing. It seems if people won’t stop commiting despicable and condemnable actions because it is the wrong thing to do, they will at least desist because of the fear of social media. The past seven days on Nigerian social media space lends credence to my assertion.


When a former member of Commonwealth Of Zion Assembly COZA and wife of one of Nigeria’s beloved gospel artiste, Busola Dokolo made a rape allegation against the founder of COZA, Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo a week ago, neither herself nor her husband could have rightly and accurately predicted how it would be received by Nigerians generally.


Rape is despicably immoral and criminal, yea but Nigerians are reputed for being over religious to the extent of literally worshipping their men of God. Not surprisingly a lot of condemnation followed her confession. While some poked holes in her narration, others didn’t even bother about absolving the alleged accused. Their concern revolves around the timeline of the confession and the alleged crime. In all, the voices of those who wanted justice irrespective of whose ox is gored somehow prevailed. Right on the same social media people coordinated themselves in different locations and protests were held in Abuja and Lagos parishes of COZA. The result was a follow-up press release signed by the accused that he has stepped aside as the Senior Pastor of his church pending investigation. This is not the Nigeria many of us used to know. Twelves years ago when a similar allegation was made by Ese Walters, same man barely gave her audience and everything was quickly swept under carpet.


During the scandal and the attendant online attention it garnered, the Federal Government surreptitiously intensified the implementation of a programme she had the misfortune of naming RUGA. It was her reply to the lingering crises between herdsmen and farmers. Nigerians already have enough reasons to suspect the Buhari led government is insincere and pursuing a fulanisation agenda and as far as they know, RUGA is one of the final plot in a well calculated agenda. Twitter was set on fire as even social media users that hardly show interest in politics lent their voices against RUGA. Despite conflicting narratives as to the true intention of the RUGA’s sponsor, enough social media outrage was raised to make the Federal Government see the decision as unpopular. The Government backtracked. It is so unbelievable some conspiracy theorists have sworn the government still has an ace up her sleeves.


A day after RUGA was suspended, a CCTV video of a 41 year old senator from Adamawa surfaced online. It sparked an outrage. The young senator, Ishaku Elisha Abbo was shown in a sex toy shop hitting the female attendant uncontrollably. Her offence as shown in the same video is asking the newly elected lawmaker to calm down. It didn’t matter that the incident occurred in March, social media users went crazy. It became even embarrassing for the senator’s political party to associate with him. Former vice president and major candidate at the last Presidential election took to his twitter handle to condemn the bullish actions and even tasked the police to carry out their lawful duty. Elisha’s colleagues in the hallowed chamber set up a committee to look into the case. Barely twenty-four hours later, the arrogant buffoon had been forced to offer a formal apology. Hearsay has it that he is willing to pay 50 million naira in damages to wish away the backlash. As you read this, a photo journalist attached to him during his senatorial campaign has also come out to make similar accusation of physical violence. It is an interesting time to be alive.


Finally, seven Madonna University students jailed for the past six or seven months because they criticised the higher institution on their Facebook account have been bailed following social media outcry that raised awareness about their predicament. I won’t be surprise if Father Ede the man in charge of the varsity is dragged in the social media mud this week. Already more people are sharing tales of high handedness despite glaring infrastructural inadequacies in the school. I’m banking on social media to win this one again.


So in one week, Nigerians got to find out their voice really count if they shout it loud enough. Thanks to social media with its democratisation of information. I’m begining to suspect the country might not be doomed after all as I’ve always feared. Social vices trailing Social media by four goals to nothing.

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