Chibok! Dapchi! The #bringbackourgirls campaign among others. As I go down memory lane, tears fill my ink. Do you still doubt that power is power? We may not overtly acknowledge the fourth power amidst us, but we can not deny it’s ripple benefits and consequences? A quick throwback. Do you still remember the fight against Ebola? Can we ever celebrate the victory over the Ebola Outbreak in Nigeria, without saying thank you to social media. Have you also forgotten how multiple keyboard punches unseated a Honorable Minister who forged her NYSC Certificate?
While we await the Nigerian school curriculum to be reviewed, we cannot deny that the Social Media is now the fourth arm of government. Maybe more powerful than the first three. Recently on the media, Babatunde Raji Fashola was called out to a 90-day road trip to travel across the country for saying that Nigerian roads are not as bad as it was portrayed. The border closure is strongly debated on social media than any other platform. The Nigeria Police Force is at the verge of thorough reform, following numerous reported cases of misconduct. Is ‘God’ not wonderful?
Beyond stories, BBNaija, trends, tweets, news feeds, status uploads and Instagram paparazzi, the social media has become a digital arsenal of revolution and advocacy at all levels. The social media is undoubtedly the fourth arm of government in this fourth industrial revolution. Though it is not formally recognized as a part of a political system, it wields significant indirect social influence.
The babaric era of carrying placards, burning tyres on major roads, chanting aluta songs is fast losing savor in this digital age. More than ever in human history, power in most democratic countries are being divided between the legislature, executive and judiciary. The media is stirring the waters of social influence and bringing about changes in several policies in the political system. Even the men in corridors of power now pay more attention to the powerful words that emanate from the cyberspace.
Amazingly, this small-but-mighty innovation is the future. You can easily call out your political leaders and they will respond. The evil or good they perpetrate can no longer be clandestined. The government is powerful, but the media is more powerful. The cyberspace is growing wild. There’s no hiding place anymore. This is why a digitalized protest hardly misses its targets.
Enough of taking selfies with the same people who kept us in poverty. When they do well, let’s praise them, but when they don’t, let’s shame them. When they get power-drunk, let’s call them to order. It’s time to hold our leaders accountable. The platform is right before us. Let’s question our constituted authorities. It’s easier now than ever before.
Whoever is sponsoring the social media bill must have been a seer; So predictive enough to control the power of the fourth arm before it becomes so powerful. The Social Media Bill is targeted at the Radio/TV Stations, Online/Print Newspapers, Journalists, OAPs, Bloggers, Website hosts, Internet Service Providers, Youtube channels, Social Media influencers, businesspersons and most importantly YOU. The social media bill is against the Nigerian Constitution which protects free speech – a vital pillar of our democracy. If this bill is passed into law, we may have more prisons than hospitals and schools. Sooner or later, it will end in tears for us all.
According to @Realolaudah on Twitter, “Everything has been put in place for a sustainable dictatorship in Nigeria. The complicit legislature, a cowered judiciary, a compromised civil society, a frightened press, and a suppressed citizenry.” It is a movement to silence the masses. It is a script of oppression. Every onlooker in the face of struggle is either a traitor, a coward or an ignoramus. Don’t just be a social media noisemaker. Join the revolutionary fight today. #SayNoToSocialMediaBill
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Chairman, NOVEL Nigeria.