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Enugu, Mbah
Governor of Enugu State, Dr Peter Mbah
By Samson Ezea

By May 29 this year, Enugu State Governor, Barr. Peter Ndubuisi Mbah will clock one year in office. So far, unless one is narcissistic, picayune, cynical, biased, mischievous, bigoted and envious, it is crystal clear that Governor Mbah’s administration is on the right track with a lot of developmental and infrastructural strides in virtually all the sectors of the state economy.

It is obvious there are better days ahead in Enugu State and for Ndi Enugu. Governor Mbah is not only churning out progressive and developmental ideas and programmes, he is walking the talk by disruptively and innovatively executing and implementing them amidst daunting challenges. His government is transparently and prudently ploughing the state resources in the development of the state for the good of the people. This is by the way and back to the topic of the day.

As could be clearly seen, witnessed and observed, before parties’ primaries, during campaigns, elections and after the 2023 elections, the Enugu State social media spaces were polluted, flooded and abused with fake, malicious, fabricated and libelous news, articles and stories by the oppositions, particularly a political party and its supporters and apologists from a particular senatorial zone of the state.

They constantly, covertly and overtly churned, fabricated and even regurgitated fake news and blatant lies against the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) guber candidate, Barr. Mbah and other PDP candidates like tom tom.

They never campaigned on issues, track record, or evidence. Their campaigns and manifesto were anchored on creating multiple online news platforms with no specific address or identity, fabricating, propagating, peddling, sharing and forwarding of unfounded allegations against Barr. Mbah, INEC, and judiciary on social media platforms, taking advantage of the weak regulatory framework of the social media platforms.

While all these their social media shenanigans and subterfuge lasted, Barr. Mbah was neither distracted nor perturbed. He remained focused and had his eyes on the ball while his social media detractors had the erroneous impression, belief and self delusion that such known social media antics of them would earn them victory in the governorship election. Even when the crude, manipulative and retrogressive approach failed them both in the election and courts, they seem not to have learnt any lesson.

Yes they have not, because instead of providing a virile and vibrant opposition to Governor Mbah’s government in the state by engaging constructively and providing credible alternatives and solutions to myriad of challenges, they have continued to misyarn and rant on social media platforms with their usual lamentations, concoctions and fabrications of stories, propaganda and articles as if campaigns are still ongoing.

Most disheartening and quite pathetic is seeing some of their elites, sympathisers, scholars and academics, who ought to have known better and the truth, fabricating, peddling, sharing and forwarding fake news on social media platforms against Governor Mbah and his government with no qualms or honour from the comfort of their homes and keypads of the phones. That is why today, one can say with finality that there is no credible or existing opposition in Enugu State, apart from purveyors of falsehoods and propaganda on social media that masquarade and grandstand as opposition.

There is none because Governor Mbah’s government has already demystified them with good governance and quick delivery of democracy dividends. These have incapacitated the opposition and their apologists, who are mainly PDP renegades that have been chasing shadows and building castles in the air in the name of opposition politics.

While majority of the Labour Party elected members in the State House of Assembly have defected to PDP unencumbered and unperturbed, because of Governor Mbah’s practical and developmental approach to governance and the ongoing crisis rocking Labour Party leadership at the national level, the remaining Labour Party members and leaders in the state, who have lost out in the power equation with the PDP dominance are now struggling to get Governor Mbah government’s attention through social media pontification, posturings, grammatical gyrations and organizing of political lectures, hiding under phantom sectional unity they never believed in nor worked for..

Some of them mainly from a particular senatorial zone, who don’t understand the intrigues and dynamics of politics and governance are still living in the fool’s paradise by engaging in armchair strictures on social media platforms against Governor Mbah and his government.

While it could be say that Governor Mbah and his team have no repository or monopoly of knowledge, hence people or opposition have every right to interrogate or question his government activities, such interrogations must be done or anchored on facts, evidence and superior arguments, not on emotions, lies and propaganda, party leaning, primordial interest or prebendalism.

Opposition in Enugu State if there is any, apart from few opposition sympathisers and apologists who are fabricating and peddling falsehoods on social media platforms should go back to drawing board before Governor Mbah takes them into extinction through good governance, disruptive innovations and business unusual approach to leadership that are already moving the state to enviable heights and status nationally and internationally.

They should realise that elections are over and governance is a serious business that requires political will and critical thinking. They should also be reminded that Governor Mbah will be Governor till 2027 and with way he is going with governance, his second term is not contestable or in doubt unless he is not interested or does not want.

One major thing Governor Mbah’s victory in the governorship election has proven is that no amount of social media mudslinging, unfounded allegations, propaganda and lies can stop a man whose hands are clean, his time has come and has what it takes to provide good governance, quality and people-oriented leadership. It has shown that social media is gradually losing its potency and relevance. This is because of the unfettered criminal and malicious activities of some hired hirelings and urchins that usually flood it with fake news, sponsored and malicious publications against perceived opponents and people especially, during elections or crises without being caught and reprimanded. Their tactics are already an open secret and the people are wiser and circumspect.

Meanwhile, as a graduate of Mass Communication and Journalism practitioner for many years now, I am totally baffled, marveled and at a loss on how Nigerians have abused the social media platforms, by using it to spread falsehood and fan the embers of war, discord, disunity and crises.

In doing this, they throw caution, ethics, decorum, professionalism and facts into the mud and wind, forgetting the simple guide or rudiment of news gathering and reporting, which is that the authenticity or genuineness of the source or sources of information is of much importance than the information or news itself. It is for this reason that every news item must not only be attributed to a source or sources as the case may be, but such attribution must be verifiable, factual, and authentic.

This was the standard, approved, and acceptable practice globally before the advent of social media platforms. Social media invention is a good technological development, considering its efficiency and reliability in spreading and passing information quickly.

Unfortunately, in Nigeria, particularly in Enugu State, it has become a platform to spread falsehood, malign characters, and throw tantrums at people and go scot-free.

Today in Nigeria, almost everybody is a journalist, writer, political analyst, and social media influencer. It is now a case of motor mechanics not allowing people to know the difference between them and madmen.

Quackery has taken precedence over professionalism and excellence. It seems that what it requires for one to be a journalist, master of all and expert in Nigeria today is to purchase any Chinese android phone, subscribe to any telecom data and then open social media account in the comfort of their home, using their names or pseudo names and then start fabricating falsehood, pouring invectives and vituperations on people without any sanctions.

After all, there is no censor or regulations. In this case, freedom of speech becomes absolute, even when it is known in law and journalism that there is no absolute freedom of speech anywhere, not even in the developed climes, where we copied our media and democratic practices from.
Just recently, the US congress passed a bill to ban or force the sale of Chinese made Tiktok app stressing that it posed a threat to the country’s national security.

The bill titled: “Protecting Americans From Foreign Adversary Controlled Application Act” was passed in an overwhelming bipartisan 352-65 vote. If US where we borrowed our democracy practice and with all their technological wherewithal are raising this great concern over social media abuse and activities, I wonder what other countries especially third world countries like our will do.

With the way some Nigerians have shamelessly and maliciously abused the use of social media platforms which is capable of plunging the country into monumental crisis, I can now see why many Nigerians especially the mischief makers are always against its regulations. I can see the justification behind its ban or restriction in some countries like China, Turkey, North Korea and others that are more developed, civilized and progressive than Nigeria.

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