Connect with us

News

Twitter: Trump Is Doing the Right Thing for Wrong Reasons

Published

on

By Joel Popoola

When Donald Trump suggested you could cure COVID-19 by drinking bleach, Nigerians could be forgiven for thinking his public statements should come with a health warning.

But a row has broken out in America after Twitter labelled two of the President’s posts with a truth warning, describing them as “potentially misleading”.

In response, the president used executive powers to attempt to limit liability protections for social-media companies –making them legally responsible for the content that gets posted on them for the first time.

As a Nigerian tech entrepreneur and digital democracy campaigner, I believe this is an example of the wrong person doing the right thing for the wrong reasons. It is overdue that social media companies take responsibility for the content that is posted on them, but not because one politician resents being shamed for using that platform irresponsibly and inaccurately.

Ironically, the controversial tweets; not even that controversial by this President’s standards, accused postal voting of being “substantially fraudulent” with ballot papers “forged & even illegally printed out & fraudulently signed”, concerns some Nigerians will probably share!

But Nigerians are all-too familiar with our own fake news crisis. Fake wars, fake terrorist attacks, fake cloned Presidents – we’ve had the lot. One state governor has even spoken of reading about how at that exact moment he was apparently in a coma, following a magic tortoise attack!

Social media allows these stories to be spread across Nigeria before the truth has even put its shoes on. And part of this problem is social media companies have historically refused to accept that the things that get posted on their platforms are anything to do with them.
To social media companies, their platforms are just blank canvases. If anyone writes something dangerous or misleading on those blank canvases, it’s has nothing to do with them – even if what is written is dangerous or misleading.

Social media companies have historically refused to admit that they are not blank billboards. They are media providers. And imagine if any other media providers behaved this way.

Imagine the newspapers were just blank pieces of paper that whoever got to the shop first could write whatever news they wanted on, even if that “news” was politically-motivated misinformation.

Imagine the nightly television news was people taking turns to read out their conspiracy theories, daydreams, and fantasies. Dangerous nonsense, masquerading as credible information.
As Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has himself said, social media platforms must do more to tackle the “fake news or provocative information” he believes “can cause chaos, civil unrest, war, and even death”.

On the other hand, whilst social media companies should not be punished for belatedly taking steps to ensure that their users have access to the truth, who decides what the truth is? With three of the largest social media organisations owned by the same people, doesn’t that concentrate enormous power in the hands of very few (completely unelected and unaccountable) people?

Politicians need to ask themselves why social media provides such fertile soil for dangerous rumours to take root, and in Nigeria in particular, one of the main reasons is the lack of trust electors have for the elected.

Fighting the fake news which has become all too prevalent in Nigeria in recent years necessitates the public having reliable sources of information they can go to online – and where better than going direct to their local representatives?

It is for these reasons that the Digital Democracy campaign created the free Rate Your Leader app – a direct (and abuse-proof) line straight to elected officials from the people who they serve.

Ask them anything, person to person, direct from your phone. And with that contact comes accountability. If you don’t like the answer you get or you don’t get an answer at all, Rate Your Leader lets you rate your local politician appropriately for everyone to see.
Voters aren’t the only ones to benefit. The app helps politicians understand what matters most to the people who elected them, build relationships of trust with the electorate, and get important messages straight to them.

Nigerian voters need to know what information they can trust, and also that they can trust their local representatives. Digital engagement is the most effective and efficient way of delivering that.

To put it another way, politicians, do you want your local residents to be getting their information from you, or the man telling them to drink bleach?

Joel Popoola is a Nigerian tech entrepreneur and digital democracy campaigner and is the creator of the free Rate Your Leader mobile app. Contact us via Joel@rateyourleader.com

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

News

Court Slams N50m Fine on Senator Abbo for Assaulting Woman at Sex-Toy Shop

Published

on

The High Court of the Federal Capital Territory in Maitama, Abuja, on Monday, awarded N50m damages against the senator representing Adamawa North, Elisha Abbo, to be paid as compensation to a female attendant at a sex-toy shop, Osimibibra Warmate, whom he assaulted.

Justice Samira Bature gave the order in her judgment on the fundamental rights enforcement suit instituted by Warmate against the senator.

The video clip of the alleged assault of the woman by the senator had gone viral.

The police had in 2019 charged before a magistrate court in Zuba, Abuja with one count of assaulting Warmate at a sex-toy shop in Abuja.

But the presiding magistrate, Abdullahi Ilelah, had dismissed the case after upholding the no-case submission filed by the senator.

Warmate, through her legal team including Esosa Omo-Usoh and Nelson Onuoha, went on to sue Abbo in a fundamental rights enforcement suit filed before the FCT High Court and marked FCT/CV/2393/19.

Justice Bature upheld the plaintiff’s case in a judgment on Monday by ordering the senator to pay N50m to the applicant.

The Punch

Continue Reading

News

Boko Haram Ambushes Zulum’s Convoy, Kills 15 Officers

Published

on

At least 15 security personnel comprising eight policemen, three soldiers and four Civilian-JTF personnel died today after suspected Boko Haram gunmen ambushed a convoy of Borno officials travelling to Baga town.

The attacked officials, according to sources familiar with the attack, were heading to Baga town ahead of government’s planned return of internally displaced persons (IDPs) from Maiduguri to the camps.

A battery of armed soldiers and police officers, as well as Civilian-JTF personnel, were deployed to provide escort to the officials.

The convoy ran into an ambush by Boko Haram at a spot called Korochara, which is about 2km away from the base of the Multi-National Joint Task Force on the way to Baga from Monguno.

“Seven policemen, four C-JTF members and three soldiers died instantly as the insurgents rained bullets on the unsuspecting members of the convoy,” an official of the Borno state government who wouldn’t want to be named told our reporter.

The source said the attack happened at about 2 pm

Borno state governor, Babagana Zulum, who is expected to supervise the arrival of the IDPs at Baga, had left Maiduguri earlier in the day via a military chopper.

The Borno State government and the security agencies whose personnel were affected are yet to officially comment on the attack.

The attack happened four days after a colonel, D.C. Bako, died after another ambush by Boko Haram terrorists.

Mr Bako was until his death the commander of 25 Task Force Brigade in Damboa. He died in a military hospital where he was receiving treatment after the ambush.

Premium Times

Continue Reading

News

Food for Living: Listen to Your Inner Voice

Published

on

By Henry Ukazu

Greetings Friends,

In today’s contemporary world, we have many interests battling for our attention, especially with the advent of social media. Staying focused can therefore, be a challenge. As rational minds, we all have different thoughts and feelings, but what makes the difference is what we see and hear in our inner minds. For example, we all sit in the same classroom, but our level of comprehension and articulation is different. As a team working on a mission, your vision might be different from what others see, some might be there just to get paid while others might be there to transform the world. Even pain has a different feeling, some people might scream when they feel pain while another person might endure.

As a progressive on a journey to transform the world with your ideas, innovations, and personality, it might be difficult to get a team that believe in not only you, but also in your vision. Whether you are an entrepreneur, politician, student, religious leader, etc., you can challenge and change the status quo. Changing the world is not easy, in fact, it is not easy to change the world; it takes a lot to change a tradition that has been in place for decades, but it is interesting to know that it is easier to influence people than to change them, this is because human beings generally are resistant to change.

Question: Do you have a dream, vision, idea, or plan to bring a change in the society or government? Please bear in mind that it is not going to be easy. However, your concern should be on focusing on the reason it should work and not why it is not going to work. You may be wondering how you’ll achieve this feat when faced with glaring challenges. A great way to remain focused in the face of adversity is to listen to the still small voice in your inner mind. Your inner voice is the greatest strength you can muster when all other options fail. For instance, if you have a strong belief in your network, mentor, friend, parent, associate, or relation to support your work and they disappoint you, what will you do? Will you perish your idea?

Again, you may have strong networks, but they may not see hope in what you are doing. What then will you do?  If you strongly feel the vibe and urge to continue in your vision, please listen to your inner voice. A good way to know if your voice is leading you aright is the presence of peace of mind.

For instance, if you need to make a decision at the moment, but can’t figure out what to do, take a moment to take a deep breath, relax and meditate on the pros and cons of the idea. It’s called the law of mental transformation. Success is not a product of what you do alone, it is as a result of who you are becoming than what you are doing. True success is a product of who you are. It should be noted that the mind is like a garden. A garden won’t stay fallow. It either grows flowers and vegetables or weeds, depending on the seeds you sow on it. Your mind will either manifest success or failure depending on the thoughts you feed with it.

Furthermore, it is normal to complain when the line doesn’t add up. For instance, when you lose your biggest clients; feel cheated in business, or even lose a loved one, there are many voices that will give you cogent reasons you shouldn’t continue in that line of business or see the loss of the loved as the end of your vision, especially if the person serves as your biggest supporter or inspiration. But if you are able to think out of the box, you may realise that there are forces or circumstances that may work in your favour without you knowing due to the demise of the person.

Let me share a personal experience with you; three years ago, I quit a good job with no prospect of another job insight because I felt the urge to see my late grandmother, promote my book and get married. Amongst these three reasons, my grandmother has a bigger role and influence because I constantly see her in my dream pleading with me to see her. I didn’t know why, but maybe because I was one of her favourite grandchildren if not the most favourite grandchild. I took the bull by the horn and resigned and traveled to see her, not only did she bless me, she prayed for my book and professional career. I have no iota of doubt that her blessings and prayers have continued to play a huge role in my life. There is a saying that when you lose a loved one, don’t grief much because they have gone to prepare a better opportunity for you. In fact, they are seen as guardian angels.

In conclusion, just so you know, just like your greatest supporter can be your family member, friend, network or stranger, in the same way, they can serve as detractors. Your primary concern is how you can listen to your inner voice and dare to succeed.

Henry Ukazu writes from New York. He works with the New York City Department of Correction as the Legal Coordinator. He’s the author of the acclaimed book Design Your Destiny – Actualizing Your Birthright To Success and President of gloemi.com. He can be reached via info@gloemi.com  

Continue Reading