Nigerian media are junks, useless, blogger Omojuwa says, as controversy rages over comment on Gani

Blogger Japhet Omojuwa

A blogger, Japhet Omojuwa, has described the Nigerian media as junky and useless, in reaction to a Channels TV publication  which suggested that he underestimated the struggles of late human rights fighter, Gani Fawehinmi.

“Any Nigerian news I miss on these foreign news channels will be delightfully missed,” Mr. Omojuwa said. “Too much junk here. Reason these politicians don’t speak to the local press. Most are as good as useless!”

A war of words had ensued on twitter between Mr. Omojuwa and some other social media users on Sunday after the blogger was accused of trivializing the impacts of the dogged fights of the late radical Lagos lawyer.

Mr. Omojuwa, who appeared on a Channels TV youth programme, Rubbin Mind, had tried to argue that social media activism is a more innovative way of mobilizing protests against the government.

When the presenter, Ebuka Obi-Uchendu, suggested to the three guests on the programme that protests might be more productive if taken to the streets the way late Mr. Fawehinmi and Mr. Olisa Agbakoba did, Mr. Omojuwa intercepted, asking, “What did those protests change?”

He then added, “I protested against a particular airline without carrying a placard. If you say that is not a protest, mention my name in their offices and you understand how….”

Many people on twitter interpreted the comment to mean that Mr. Omojuwa triviliazed Mr. Fawehinmi’s protests and contributions to Nigeria’s development.

The blogger’s comment became even more controversial after Channels TV posted a short clip of the programme on its website with the headline “Our ‘noise’ on social media is achieving more than Gani did”.

Among the first to react was London-based activist, Kayode Ogundamisi, who said via his twitter handle @canary, “Now I am going to bring out koboko (whip) and flog my brother @omojuwa openly, still does not change my view about him as one with great potentials.”

He described Mr. Omojuwa’s comment as a serious error of judgment and then went on to educate the blogger about how protests by Gani Fawehinmi “changed a lot!” of things in Nigeria.

“Let me start by saying Gani Fawehinmi saved over 370 Nigerian students from unlawful expulsion, Mr. Ogundamisi said. “I can list over 68 Students that Gani Fawehinmi saved from unjust expulsion using the instrumentality of law. That is change you can vouch for.”

He added, “Gani Fawehinmi did not only protest, he led an exemplary life, spent his money and resources. Never received a dime for his activism and protests.

“I analyse Nigeria on social media but the true hero is that Nigerian on the street daring an armed policeman insisting “I won’t give you a bribe.”

But another commentator named F., with twitter handle @unofidel disagreed that Mr. Omojuwa’s comment was an error of judgment.

“It is not an error of judgment,” he said. “It was a cocky, thoughtless statement by someone who felt he was more influential.”

Abuja-based lawyer and activist, Abdul Mahmud, was even angrier at the comments ascribed to Mr. Omojuwa.

“Pity! That youngboy has never smelt the inside of a police cell, so I grant him his stupidity,” Mr. Mahmud tweeted.

The lawyer was to publish several other tweets educating Mr. Omojuwa on Mr. Fawehinmi’s giant strides in the defence of freedom and democracy.

His final tweet for the night read, “If Gani didn’t succeed, please, ask your dad and mum if they ever voiced opposition to Buhari/IBB/Abacha publicly.”

But Mr. Omojuwa soon issued a denial saying, “Whoever said I said that is a liar. If I did, those who watched it (the programme) wouldn’t have had anything else to discuss after the show.”

The blogger then descended on Channels TV describing the station as a mediocre junk news platform and its tweets blasphemous.

He said, “@Channels_TV You are a shame to the ethics of this job. A big shame. You will rot where liars rot for that headline. LIARS OSHI!

“You are absolutely irresponsible. Absolutely. Bow in shame for this. Bow in shame!”

At a point he tore at the local press describing them as junky and useless, and suggested that he would begin to consume news only on foreign channels.

“Any Nigerian news I miss on these foreign news channels will be delightfully missed,” Mr. Omojuwa said. “Too much junk here. Reason these politicians don’t speak to the local press. Most are as good as useless!”

Watch a clip of the controversial interview below.

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