by Zaliyyah Gogo Ismail
For many Nigerians, an exclusive article detailing the illicit affairs of a Central Bank governor is first visited with a shrug, skepticism, and then complete nonchalance. Especially as it is pitched against more catchy headlines relating to corruption, insurgency and more importantly 2015 elections.
For others, a large part being the social media population. It is often quickly a case of ‘Us Vs Them’, ‘North Vs South’, or ‘This Party Vs That Party’. Some will hold that such action even if proved true will have no effect on the current political or economic order. Others will hold that whether Sanusi is found guilty or not at this point is not such a big deal, the big deal is that for the first time a small fire has been lit under his feet. But a Premium Times article which includes alleged details of phone conversations, text messages alongside responses, and hotel room numbers may not easily be forgotten.
Although Social Media platforms were quick to join in on the discussion, a significantly large number took defensive position to reports in the article. The questions that will eventually begin to simmer in days to come will revolve around the source of such detailed information, the political and legal implication on the parties involved, as well as the position of information disseminating platforms nationwide.
A quick review of responses on Social Media platforms reflect not only a major failure in seeing the underlying problems of such a report, but also the general attitude of Nigerians to cases of this nature. If the Premium Times report is proven true, Central Bank Governor Sanusi Lamido Sanusi would be guilty of the same offence that led to the impeachment of American President Bill Clinton in 1998.
Not only does this report shed light on the character of a national policy maker, but also on a individual well on his way to become the next Emir of the ancient northern city of Kano state. A position of political and religious authority. It has become global practice to tie office to individuals. A careless remark by the Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank in the United States or by the Governor of Bank of England could lead to loss of size able wealth in a single day. The case study of the Associated Press twitter handle is still solid evidence of that.
Irrespective of the position of the media on the subject, loosely thrown words like ‘tax-payers money’ may find their place in journals as a brilliant work of investigative journalism or in the hands of government lawyers in the building up of a litigation case. There is the possibility of a review of the role journalists, and the position of the media, which sadly follows suit the Leadership newspaper incident.
There may be pressing issues at hand which could take center stage in the affairs of Nigerians, but nonetheless, it has become universal knowledge that the actions of key figures in the society as well as institutions not only go to shape the societies perspective about certain necessities, but policy making as well. Social Media may not be the last stand for an issue this complex.
Lamido Sanusi who has been identified as a personality who tells the truth, as he sees it, without fear or favor, may very well be on a path he least expects to trod, or perhaps it is Premium Times who this time will deep their hands in their coffers for a costly report.
In either, one thing is certain, Social Platforms will learn from this. Perhaps an event like this is required to shape reflections on public offices, public funds, fidelity and responsibility reporting.
– This Best Outside Opinion was written by Zalliyah Gogo Ismail