Buhari govt should remember leadership is transient — Ex-lawmaker

Buhari govt should remember leadership is transient — Ex-lawmaker

The social media platform that irritates the Buhari government the most is Twitter, a former Kaduna senator, Shehu Sani, has said.

Mr Sani made this remark during a panel discussion session while speaking on “Balancing regulations and combating information disorder,” at the just concluded Information Disorder West Africa Conference (IDWAC) in Abuja on Thursday.

“Out of all the social media handles, the one that irritates the government most is Twitter, the reason for the clampdown,” Mr Sani said.

The two-day conference organised by DUBAWA, an independent fact-checking organization headquartered in Abuja, is aimed at engaging media professionals, academics, researchers, and the public on the subject of information disorder and the efforts at combating it.

During the panel discussion session moderated by Tobi Oluwatola, the Acting Executive Director of the Premium Times Centre for Investigative Journalism (PTCIJ), Mr Sani explained that the toxicity of misinformation being propelled on social media usually comes from anonymous sources.

However, he said it is pertinent that critics try to contextualize their views about social media platforms.

He said: “Most governments don’t want to be criticized, they only want to be allowed to rule without questioning”, adding that within the spectrum of information dissemination, and before the invention of the internet, every news information has a source.

The former lawmaker said the toxicity of social media does not only affect the government of the moment, it also affects users of the social media platforms themselves.

“Leadership is transient, people in government should not make laws that will suit them for today,” Mr Sani added.

Another discussant of the panel, Sola Adeyanju, Head of advancement studies at National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), said information is to be allowed to flow without restrictions.

The official explained that society exists because there is communication, and that how this is handled can make or mar the society.

“Since the beginning of man, we have been working on how to effectively improve our communication systems,” Mr Adeyanju added.



Key challenges

Mr Adeyanju noted that the same technology that promotes information can also hamper it, saying what is worrisome is that as individuals continue to enjoy the positive aspects, the negative effects are also manifesting.

“Misinformation, disinformation and malformations cuts across individuals, not only the government,” he said.

Specifically, Mr Adeyanju said wherever there are information gaps, rumours must thrive.

He urged governments and individuals to follow the path of effective and efficient accountability, and as well constitute independent communication media regulators in order to curb information disorder in the society and country at large.

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