The recent hullabaloo on herdsmen killings took a frightful dimension yesterday with rumours been peddled on the social media that Fulani Herdsmen were shooting pointblank at cars on Lagos Ibadan Expressway and hunting people down. It was accompanied with a purported audio recording of an eye-witness who “managed” to survive the ordeal and pleading with people to avoid the express and the situation was real and purported pictures of “slain people” which ironically was a robbery incident in 2010!
Now, let’s wait a second, what are the facts of the case?
- Fulani herdsmen marauders are supposedly wreaking havoc across parts of the country of most recent Benue. (Supposedly because no one has been apprehended and charged to court for the crimes).
- Our security apparatus are lagging behind in apprehending and arresting the situation.
- The government has been lackadaisical in condemning the attacks and not forthcoming with an outright solution.
- We are a country divided on ethnic and religious lines.
- Nepotism is more pronounced with this administration than ever before.
With the facts stated above, it’s quite apparent we are in a “deep shit” as a country, and we are fast tinkering on the edge of chaos unless something drastic is done to correct the situation.
But will spreading false news and alarm solve it? Or better put, will broadcasting of #FakeNews bring a solution? No it will not!! Rather, it worsens and complicates matters! Freedom of speech is not freedom to cause chaos! Little wonder Idi Amin famously said, “There is freedom of speech, but the freedom after speech i cannot guarantee”.
Before we spread or broadcast any news, let’s apply the Rotary 4 way test to that news item;
- Is it the truth?
- Is it fair to all concerned?
- Will it build goodwill and better friendships?
- Will it be beneficial to all concerned?
If that broadcast, that news, that information, does not meet the above criteria, why spread it? Why share it? #FakeNews will always be #FakeNews. False Alarm will always be False Alarm. No more no less.
What we can do as responsible citizens, is to ensure we are responsible and take ownership of the future of our nation, and not “thrust” it into the hands of miscreants and dishonorable fellows parading themselves as leaders.
We have a responsiblity to offer ourselves to the task of constructive nation building and not war-mongering and hate speeches and fear. Nominating, supporting and voting viable and worthy candidates into electoral offices and positions. In the words of Josiah Holland,
Strong minds, great hearts, true faith and ready hands; Men whom the lust of office does not kill; Men whom the spoils of office can not buy; Men who possess opinions and a will; Men who have honor; men who will not lie; Men who can stand before a demagogue, And damn his treacherous flatteries without winking! Tall men, sun-crowned, who live above the fog in public duty, and in private thinking;
This should be our message, our broadcast, our news to be shared to all and sundry!
And in conclusion, get your Permanent Voters Card, Get registered to vote! Register to join a party, be involved in the political process, don’t be a spectator, be an active player to make our nation great!! In the words of J F Kennedy, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but ask what you can do for your country.”