IN one of my recent articles published in some national dailies, I did raise my discomfort with the wave of abuse which the social media via the Internet is presently enmeshed in. I took Abia as a case study. My reason for the choice of Abia is unarguably obvious.
Not quite long after my position was made known, I read one of the most wicked and mindless posts courtesy of Saharareporters all calculated at maligning the government of Abia State under the stewardship of Chief Theodore Ahamefule Orji. In its latest onslaught, the gladiators in their usual manner stood the the truth on its head.
The most bizarre of all was its poisoned chalice to readers that the beneficiaries of State Youth Empowerment Scheme were made to pay for the vehicles that were issued to them. Of course such blanket lies do gain myopia believers.
The Internet came alive with comments from mostly jaundiced scoundrels who love to hate the name Ochendo. While recently I sat quietly in a public gathering where commentators rose in strong discountenance of the worthless report, I felt inward joy that albeit all mundane efforts by detractors, the average Abia indigene is not unmindful of the political mixture of wheat with chaff otherwise known as “mixkogbuo” in local parlance to hoodwink ignorant masses.
What has remained a puzzle to me and should be to all discerning minds is whether Saharareporters for its obvious disdain for Abia State woke up and went to town with the story or that its reporters spoke to some of the beneficiaries of the Scheme who made such allegation.
I was and am still one of those who believe that the government was carrying too much burden in giving out a Toyota Sienna free of charge to any person under whatever guise or considerations. Empowerment, yes. The government owes it as its obligation to its citizens but there is also a corollary obligation on the part of the same citizens.
There is no free meal any where and not even in Freetown. Even in the so-called developed countries, quite a number of our frustrated nationals rush to escape perseverance, citizenship or residency demands and obligations are non-negotiable as manifested in system and rate of taxation.
Like I stated in my expressed opinion, my knowledge of the feelings of the average Abia man does not in any way suggest that these actions syndicating falsehood have any bearing directly or indirectly on how the people of Abia see their Governor. The fellowship and follower ship are devoid of any form of adulteration.
For record purposes, there are various volunteer agents on the “Project Destroy Abia” who would leave no stone unturned to bring the state to opprobrium.
They come in different styles and approaches armed with their target missiles of destruction, without any regard for their casualties. In military parlance, they are called mercenaries, while media practitioners brand them hack writers.
They write for their fee, not minding whose ox is gored. For these men, once the fee is right, they can kill their mothers and later go begging to be admitted into the nearest motherless babies home.
Take the case of one self-styled political poet with the media identity, Odimegwu Onwumere. Each time he is doing a “damage” to “ that Ochendo man” you will see a man at pain, like the Biblical Pilate, to condemn an innocent man but will however do it since some interests must be assuaged and at the end of it all “man must wack”.
It is in the state of this moral imprisonment that the man must find fault in every action of the government, whether utopian or political. What more? Each time he writes, he dedicates space to anticipated reprisals from the government spokespersons because he knows he is being used to stir the hornet’s nest.
It is not unlikely that his command is where the reporters of Sowore will likely see those unnamed sources who told them they paid for the vehicles given to them. In the course of this mission to Abia, I have read the likes of Onwumere allege what government was giving out to beneficiaries in terms of empowerment were tricycles and I laughed.
I laughed because the writer was like the proverbial bird at the bush path dancing to the tunes played by the spirits somewhere inside that bush. I laughed because if he was the poet who brands himself, he should know more than the ignorance he advertised.
And if he knew, he would have remembered that there was a time those spirit beating the drums he was dancing to were empowering the youths of the state with WHEEL BARROWS and we cheered because that was what was within the vision and resources of those in-charge then. That is if our friend as a poet knew. What many Nigerians do surely know and pretend not to is that issue of pecuniary interests in today’s writing and commentaries.
Majority of the Internet scam apprentices have found an untapped revenue base in the area of using the Internet to blackmail. The negative advantages are quite unlimited since there is no minimal qualification to get on board and regulation is still elementary. All sorts of stench are now dumped on the site. Many failed writers and journalist are now successful bloggers. But that may be another innovation towards strengthening our economy, but at what price?
Just recently, one notorious blogger was accused by no less a person than a man of God for making inappropriate financial demands in lieu of a so-called damaging story. What again is the surname of blackmail other than this from the highly sanctimonious blogger who had in 2011 made similar demands on the government of Abia State if the state wants her to soft-pedal on her position over the now confirmed false news of alleged gang rape in Abia State University.
Her story is just one of many. And like a virus, it is eating deep into the fabrics of the otherwise authenticity expected from these outlets for the benefits of the audience.
The truth is that you can’t put something on nothing and expect it to stand. The present government under the stewardship of Chief Theodore Orji has effectively risen above elementary tradition of governance by merely paying monthly salaries and annual rehabilitation of roads. It has successfully upped the ante in those monumental projects seen in the health sector, judiciary, education.
They will surely outlive him and when they are seen, the name that will come to mind will be Ochendo just the same way the late M.I. Okpara is never been remembered for the roads he built as a Premier but the legacy he left in establishing farm settlements, industries and commerce.
Mr. KINGSLEY EMEREUWA, a commentator on national issues, wrote from Umuahia, Abia State.