BY ABRAHAM OJO
Indeed, they are masters of the game. And the game is spreading rumour and mudslinging. This act of the opposition has lent credence to the belief by decent people that indeed “politics is a dirty game”.
And these perpetrators are adept at using the machinery of propaganda to perpetrate the dastardly act to the detriment of the entire society.
This captures what happened in Ibadan penultimate Thursday when a rumour made the rounds that the government has distributed poisonous food to students and that quite a number of the students have died, claiming that the government needs the bodies for ritual and fetish purpose.
And this reminds us of the “Hitleric” period when, while he was losing the battle, he kept “confusing” his people that he was on top of the situation. And of course, we all know the role of his propagandist, GOBBELS who believed that once you tell a lie, all you need is to sustain the tempo of that lie, and at the end of the day the people will be convinced that you are saying the truth.
But this has been proved to be a fallacy as no matter how long a lie is sustained, once truth surfaces, the lie disappears like a vapour
We can forgive machines as they do not have their mind to decipher any information, but what of human beings who have become robots, swallowing any piece of information hook, line and sinker, without making their own interpretation to ascertain the veracity of such rumours before jumping into conclusions.
What is important to these rumour mongers and uppermost in their mind is to confuse the electorate so as to achieve their aims without giving any consideration to the consequences and negative implications of such heinous action.
The opposition in the hey days of the former Governor of Ekiti State Engineer Oni floated the despicable rumour that the Governor’s free meal in schools was to use them for ulterior motives, to wit, to use the children for ritual purpose.
It was so apparent that this laudable move by the then Governor will endear him to the heart of the people as it was a popular move to relieve the parents of some financial burden.
But alas, the opposition could not prove that the free meal had any adverse effect on the children neither could they tell the world the number of deaths from the free meal project.
This same strategy was last Thursday adopted by some political miscreants and cohorts of some so-called political big wigs, who, having failed in their bid to gain political relevance, unleashed the heinous rumour in the people of the state, causing mayhem, confusion and panic among the populace.
In their desperate bid to force themselves on the people of Oyo State , they concerted a dastardly lie to the effect that the government has distributed poisonous food to students and that quite a number of the students have died, claiming that the government needs the bodies for ritual and fetish purpose.
This rumour suggests that it is what they are capable of doing that they assume any other person could do. Otherwise, how would a sane person with a sane mind, sit down and concoct such a devilish idea that the government had perfected plans to use school children for rituals by distributing poisonous bean cakes. The question that really comes to mind, to achieve what? and for what purpose?
Those who know Akala know him as a God fearing being who cannot hurt a fly. He is humane, compassionate, generous, kind and empathic to peoples cause such that he has assumed the status of a philanthropist.
This is a man who at various times, stopped his convoy to convey accident victims to hospitals, and even pay for their treatment, this is a man who has sent some patients unannounced to overseas for treatment, this is a man who has paid fees of indigene students at the Nigerian Law School and Universities; this is a man whose wife has floated Community Link Advancement Programme (CLAP) that have been giving succour to the needy.
This is a man that has comprehensively transformed Ibadan city to a befitting status of a State capital. To therefore ascribe this fetish disposition to an altruist is not only inhuman, wicked, but ungodly and condemnable by all right thinking persons.
The Joint Campus Committee of National Association of Nigeria Students (NANS) vehemently condemned the dastardly act, describing the perpetrators as agents of darkness who have engaged in deliberate use of falsehood to discredit the constituted authority in the state. It therefore advised all parents, guardians and the general public to remain calm and ignore the ignoble lies.
The perpetrators of this heinous and sinister act may think they’ve carried the day, but not so the least because at the end of the day, they are the losers. Now the people know better, the people now know them (perpetrators) for their antics, do-or-die to get to the political office by whatever means.
The students and teachers will not forgive them, neither will food vendors and posterity. They disrupted the school programme for the day and teachers too were greatly embarrassed as claimed by the Assistant Secretary of the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), Mr. L. A. Oyediran who described the act as an attempt to destabilize the existing peaceful and orderly learning in schools, adding that it caused a lot of embarrassment to its members therefore urged parents to shun the perpetrators.
Food vendors has now been banned by the State Government from selling food in public schools thus denying them their means of livelihood due to this rumour engineered by the political desperados.
Politics should be seen as a personal desire to offer oneself for service. If there is indeed a genuine and innate interest to serve the people through seeking political office, then politicians should not be too desperate as demonstrated by the perpetrators of this heinous, despicable, dastardly and sinister act of spreading unfounded rumours in Oyo State on Thursday, 10 February 2011.
Abraham Ojo is the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Adebayo Alao-Akala.