I’m actually pissed as I write this piece; but then again, I’m almost always pissed. When you live in Nigeria, you’re likely to always be on the edge of anger at a lot of things. There’s always something to tick you off, drive you off that precipice of serenity into that pit of rage; it could be traffic, a reckless okada man, a commercial bus driver, your neighbours, that police officer, PHCN, PDP, whatever. The list is almost endless.
However, what draws my ire this time around might actually be petty, depending on how you look at it. And I’m sure it’s a thought that would have crossed your minds also. Worse still, I might have unwittingly participated in it; my friends too, and this creates a sort of ripple effect because it ends up spreading, by our hands, literally. Not anymore (speaking for myself that is).
Overtime, we have come to appreciate the beauty of social media channels and instant messaging in aiding communication with family and friends; transforming the global village into an even smaller global clan. I’m sure you already know the advantages but there’s just one teeny-tiny downside that can be quite annoying; not for what it is, but for how it is being used in Nigeria. It’s the broadcast thingy.
There’s quite a lot of news being peddled around and while some might be real, I’m pretty sure the fake news now outnumber authentic information. Instances abound: once, it was said that there was a prophecy of doom for anyone using 2go on a particular day in June. Trust Nigerians and fear, people logged out instantly. An even more recent hoax was the “DON’T WEAR RED” prophecy allegedly by Pastor E.A. Adeboye. The first thought on my mind when I got the broadcast was what the factory workers at Coca-Cola were going to do since they wore red uniforms; not forgetting LASTMA officials too. Fortunately, the rumour was dispelled before it spread even further.
Some of my contacts now leave me with doubts as to whether they went to school or not; I have the same doubts about myself sometimes.
The most annoying (for me) so far was the fake broadcast about a bus with secondary school students on board, leaving the University of Lagos (I wonder why MAULAG wasn’t allowed to stick) for Obanikoro, suddenly seen en-route Oshogbo. It was said that one of the kids woke up and raised an alarm on twitter (Seriously???!). Once again, people ignorantly spread the rumour, creating an atmosphere of fear and panic without first verifying facts or asking questions such as the following:
1: Aren’t secondary schools supposed to be on long vacation (I know there’s summer school in progress o, don’t bother calling my attention to this)?
2: Isn’t there a possibility that the students (if they’re not at home) could be on an excursion, hence the bus being outside Lagos?
3: Aren’t registered shuttles the only commercial vehicles allowed into UNILAG?
4: What are secondary school students doing in a university (I know UNILAG is supposed to own an International School o, most universities do)?
5: Why hasn’t any parent raised any alarm in the media or to police authorities since the rumour started?
6: Would twitter be the first thing on my mind if I just regained consciousness?
Just think about these questions and wonder why they have not being asked or answered before believing and spreading broadcast messages on blackberry phones and social media channels. What irks me most is the fact that a true piece of information would likely be treated like “the boy who cried wolf” if this continues. When false information is allowed to reign supreme, it creates an era of misinformation.
These days, we aren’t even sure what’s real or not anymore. We do not stop to think for ourselves; we just gobble up every bit of information that comes our way without checking for facts. It’s a matter of one mumu creating a hoax and broadcasts it to another mumu who believes it wholeheartedly and broadcasts it again (sometimes acting like the original source) to another mumu; thus the cycle of mumuisim is born. This leaves you wondering who the greater mumu is.
Maybe all that is going on around us has got us scared but should we now mass-produce it? No, a fearful man shouldn’t be an ass you know; that would make him a dead man. I’m not berating anyone but it’s time we start trying to verify facts before pushing them unto the next person. We don’t have to be Sherlock Holmes but we should at least think before broadcasting.
Enough of this mumu.
Written By: Deoye Falade