Home Opinion OYO101: Makinde’s Most ‘Loved’ And ‘Admired’ Governor Survey Was A Prank! |...

OYO101: Makinde’s Most ‘Loved’ And ‘Admired’ Governor Survey Was A Prank! | Muftau Gbadegesin

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The first shock you will absorb as you browse the internet searching for the name of the group that honored Governor Seyi Makinde as the most “loved” and “admired” in the country is that it is fictitious. Good people of Oyo state, the Nigeria Social Media Week group (NGS), is a phony, fake, and charlatan organization. It neither has any presence on the internet nor visibility anywhere else. If its team lead, ‘Dr. Kenneth Ogbonna’ isn’t a fictional, invented, and mythical figure, he should address the press on the yardstick they adopted.

This is about the simplest fact-checking anybody can do. Just take a minute to do it. Or what does it cost to want to know about the organization that just declared your Governor as the most ‘loved’ and ‘admired’ in the entire southwest region and by extension, the country? For curious and discerning minds, it does not take much time to discover this jamboree packaged as a survey. Because, how do you conduct a survey that cuts off a significant chunk of the populace? You know this whole arrangement was described as a social media thing that lacks the rigors and intensity of a fact-based survey.

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And you might be wondering how such a declaration made it to the various media houses in the country. Very simple. Just type a professionally looking mail, perhaps you can source your mail through ChatGPT, address it to the media houses, attach it to a copy of your group’s official press release, and watch as they spread your lies and fallacies to the world without batting an eye. In fact, you will do well by asking for the bank details of either the guy in charge of the publication or the media house. By robbing Peter to pay Paul, you can be sure your message will reach even the remotest of unimaginable places. Once your story catches fire on the internet, be rest assured that it will find a way down the throats of the people outside the internet ecosystem.

Don’t doubt it: Pundits will pick up your sponsored post and polish it. Paid propagandists will fleece on it. Politicians will dance over it. Bootlickers, lickspittle, and dingbats will make it look like a worthy achievement. On social media, followers will trend it. They will gladly copy and paste it to show the kind of love and admiration their political messiah has garnered and the wonders of “performance, legacy achievements, accessibility, affability and acceptance in home state as well as national recognition and profile” he has accomplished.

In other words, with the right mix of money and a professionally crafted message sent through a hurriedly set up mail address of your organization, whatever you intend to achieve will be achieved. Of course, this is not the first time I will be busting the bubbles of an organization like this. In the heat of Governor Makinde’s decision to amend chieftaincy law, a group emerged out of the shadow to lend moral support to the Governor’s bold and daring move.

In addition to nudging the Governor to move on despite pushback from traditional rulers and well-meaning personalities, the group also backed Olubadan of Ibadan, Oba Lekan Balogun on the contentious matter. In the course of researching that story, I came across a stumbling block as I tried to verify the authenticity of the group on the internet. What struck me was the lack of presence of the group on the internet. Any serious organization will never take online presence with levity. And their presence on social media will also be non-negotiable. In the two instances of these two organizations, neither their presence nor the identities of their leaders can be verified. Evident that some paid and cunny guys are behind the deceptions. Interestingly, a careful look at the name of the group is enough to raise suspicion. What is the meaning of the Nigeria Social Media Week group with the acronym NSG?

But there exists social media week Lagos on Instagram. With 12K followers, 927 posts, and 286 followings, Social Media Week Lagos described itself as an archived page that has nothing to do with massaging the ego of politicians. Business Day newspaper described Social Media Week Lagos as some sort of “Mecca where thousands of people eager to keep up with trends in an ever-evolving digital world” converge. Its 2020 report further notes that for the past nine years “digital technology enthusiasts, professionals, experts, government officials, and public workers from across the country and outside Nigeria have participated in the week-long event that usually takes place in the month of February”.

So, who are those behind this mischievous and misleading Social Media Week Group? Before going to that, it helps to note that Governor Seyi Makinde is still one of the most admired and loved politicians in Nigeria. Both virtually and physically, the Governor has an incredible band of followers who love and idolize him. In Nigeria, the popularity of the Governor is unmatched on the internet. For instance, no other state Governor has enjoyed that exclusive and rare chance of dominating conversation on social media platforms like X.

When compared and contrasted, no politician in the country has enjoyed huge social media patronage like him. On Facebook, trying to stand shoulder to shoulder with the Governor is the easiest way to draw the anger of his ever-active followers. Wart and all, Governor Makinde could have easily passed as the most loved and admired politician in Nigeria on social media. But the process that will throw that kind of claim around has to be open, fair, transparent, and rigorous. Until NSG came out to say they are honoring GSM in the Q4 of this year, cocksure sure nobody has heard of them in the past. That alone is enough to doubt the credibility and integrity of the group.

Perhaps those behind this prank might not know that this kind of searchlight will beam on them. It is why they dared to praise the Governor for his “landmark achievement in education and youth development, agriculture and agro-business, healthcare, road infrastructure, urban and rural development, aviation, culture and tourism among others”. That the misleading information got massive coverage from legacy media shows all is not right with the so-called fourth estate of the realm. When have our media houses become promoters of pranksters?

OYO101 is Muftau Gbadegesin’s opinion about issues affecting Oyo state and is published every Saturday. He can be reached via @muftaugbade on X, muftaugbadegesin@gmail.com and 09065176850.

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