2023 GOVERNORSHIP AND
STATE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS
Social media toxicity and Criticisms
There is a ‘’SARS’’ in some Nigerians; reservoirs of cynicism, misanthropy and bigotry. These ones see other people through the bifocals of their own vile existence. Just like SARS, the notorious but disbanded police unit, profiles young Nigerians with tattoo branding and dreadlocks, this category of Nigerians reduces every individual to an offender. You are guilty without charges, convicted and summarily sentenced – by the self-appointed rogue jury!
That predilection for exacting jungle (in)justice on alleged offenders in the streets is very much the same on Nigeria’s social media platforms – where you expect to find refined people above the stratum of ‘’agberos’’. It is all the same – in the streets and on social media district. Nigerian Twitter, in particular, is a toxic locale – defiant to order and devoid of joy. There is that proclivity for ‘’gotcha gotcha’’. It is always about ‘’dragging this person or that person’’. I must say, very angry creatures take residence there.
A few days ago, Japheth Omojuwa, the digital media entrepreneur, was the whipping boy of these internet infestations. They clobbered, scratched and gored him with pitchforks and daggers, even throwing dynamites into the mix. Much of their grouse with the gentleman was the side he chose to support in the 2015 election. They seized a moment to creep out of their crevices and forgotten neck of the woods to extract a toll. I have never seen such virulence and turpitude on social media before.
We are a nation of extremists. When you stray from the single narrative promoted by some compromised persons, you become an enemy pencilled down for demolition. Is this not a tyranny of opinion? How did we become so vile, unfeeling, and sadistic? The beauty of intellection is in the variety and robustness of opinions. Why must everyone submit to a lone account – even if it is falsehood? Why should everyone hold the same opinion?
What is happening on Nigerian social media is akin to the Dark Ages where people were hanged for having contrary opinions. And the Dark Ages was a blot on humanity – because knowledge was forbidden. We are in an era of intellectual darkness in Nigeria where all opinions must be unitary and must conform to certain ethnic and religious prejudices.
Some of the loudest voices accusing others of extremism are themselves extremists, who ambush and savage contrary opinions. It must be their way or the Milky Way to assaults and threats.
How did we become so pugnacious that we will tear anyone and anything that does not agree with us?
We are all potential victims of mob (in)justice. The mob runs Nigeria’s social media. You either fall in line with the governing narrative or risk violence. This mob rule has to end.
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