Dear Senator David Mark,
You will please permit the open nature of this letter to you. I am writing this letter to you because of your open assertion that the Nigerian online social media need to be checked.
While I was almost finishing this letter to you, your special adviser on media and publicity, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan gave a conference call on your behalf in which he said the media misquoted you. He said you did not call for the censorship of the social media, you only called for its check.
Sir, in view of Mr. Ologbondiyan’s call on your behalf you have by an act of commission inserted an ambiguity to a serious matter that represents a potential threat to our cultural, social and political life.
Given this ambiguity, in deference and respect to Nigerian taxpayers you ought to disclose IN FULL your prepared Umuahia speech on this occasion and its electronic transcription.
If you do not do this, you have created the basis for Nigerian working peoples to believe what the media reported, and to conclude that Mr. Ologbondiyan’s conference call on your behalf was a mere after thought.
While waiting for a FULL DISCLOSURE of your original speech in Umuahia, even when relying on Mr. Ologbondiyan’s call on your behalf may be inadequate because of the ambiguity it has created, I will still like to set forth the structure of your claim based on Mr. Ologbondiyan’s call.
This is the structure of your claim:
Premise 1: The online media is a threat to ethics of media practice and good governance because of its accessibility and absolute freedom.
Premise 2 : Even in advanced democracies there is no absolute freedom.
Conclusion: Therefore, we must check the negative tendencies of social media.
Based on this, you have done two things. You have rebutted and you have shown your concern with the “threat of the online media to good governance…”
In your rebuttal, you imply that there is “good governance” in the country to which the online media is a threat. This means that the online media in Nigeria are not reporting “good governance” in Nigeria unlike their peers in advanced democracies.
I noticed that Mr. Ologbondiyan labored on your behalf to convince Nigerians that the reason you allegedly said that the Nigerian social media should be checked is that there is no way to rebut what you consider the “negative tendencies” of the social media.
To be sure that I am not misrepresenting you and him, I have read and re-read Mr. Ologbondiyan’s call on your behalf in the online journal-PREMIUM TIMES. I concluded that Mr. Ologbondiyan’s call is a rebuttal on your behalf. In other words you have done precisely what you claimed you and the government are not able to do with the social media.
Sir, thus through Mr. Ologbondiyan, you put yourself in a logical bind, you contradicted yourself. I do not know why you will do this. But this is the contradiction you have used to call for a check of the Nigerian online social media in your Umuahia speech.
In simple reasoning, when a conclusion is based on a contradiction, it reduces the moral worth of that conclusion.
Dear Senator David Mark, you cannot claim that you and the government cannot rebut the Nigerian social media and therefore it has to be checked, when you are (i) doing exactly a rebuttal of Nigerian social media and when (ii) I read your rebuttal in a Nigerian online journal. You are rebutting, yet you claim you cannot rebut. See what I mean?
And talking about “good governance” you will agree with me that good governance must have a substance, data and fact to it. Now let me give you some basic data about Nigeria some of which are under your legislative watch, and you will please tell me which country in the advanced democracies where you once lived and which you referred to behave this way. Sir, please look at yourself in the mirror, look Nigerians straight in their faces and be honest.
First, recently you left Nigeria and went abroad for medical treatment. Please tell Nigerians when last the American Senate president or the president of the British House of Lords-the equivalents of our country’s Senate of which you are the president- abandoned their nations’ hospitals and went to foreign countries for medical treatment.
The simple question is: Given that it is your job to legislate for good governance via legislating for good health facilities for Nigerians, did your failure and that of Nigerian rulers to patronize Nigerian hospitals mean that you failed to do your job and had to go abroad for medical treatment? Now if the social media report this, is it wrong? Did the social media make you go abroad or you went abroad because you failed to do the job you agreed to do and which you are paid to do?
Can you please tell me which leader of “advanced democracy” where according to you “there is no absolute freedom” had come to Nigeria for medical treatment?
Still on health matters and legislating for good governance. When Mr. Olusegun Obasanjo was the president, his wife, the First lady, Mrs. Stella Obasanjo went abroad to do some abdominal cosmetic surgery called tummy tuck.
In the process she answered the final call in the hospital bed in a foreign country. In other words the wife of our head of state died NOT in our hands but in foreign hands.
Please tell Nigerian taxpayers when last the wife of the president of any advanced democracy left their own country to do cosmetic surgery in a Nigerian hospital or in any foreign hospital.
Health matters allow us to talk with some candor, sobriety, introspection and in very stark terms about matters of good governance.
So, take the case of the former president Mr. Yar adua who answered the final call in Saudi Arabia, a foreign land to our country, Nigeria. Again, our former president DID NOT answer the call of God in our hands in a Nigerian hospital. He did so in a foreign land.
Look sir, this is serious, for me as a Nigerian that is chilly, humiliating, despondent and, dehumanizing. And this happened under your legislative watch.
None of you Nigerian rulers felt humiliated that our president died in foreign hands in a foreign land because you do exactly the same thing. Given that you have just done the same thing by going abroad for your medical treatment, you could not have seen the national dishonor in the fact that our former president breathed his last breadth in alien hands in an alien country.
Why did you not legislate “good governance” which you said online media is a threat to and create good health facilities so that if ultimately our president will be called eternally, at least we will have the honor of our president answering that call in our hands and on our soil?
Do you think online media would have been a “threat” to good hospital facilities if you legislated for good health facilities?
Still talking about good governance matters and health matters, these matters have gone to a ridiculous extent such that some Nigerian doctors in Nigeria are serving as mere recruiting agents to even Indian doctors to help recruit Nigerian patients from Nigeria for India hospitals at a price.
That is how low we have sunk and how disrespectful to our country and ourselves we have become as a people under your legislative watch and governance and that of the presidency of Mr. Jonathan.
As a retired soldier and now a politician, I expect you to know the intersection between health and a nation’s security, autonomy, self-respect and dignity.
In other words, when you hand over the health and medical history of a country’s rulers to foreign doctors in foreign countries, you have made our country to dance naked with ignominy and vulnerability before the world.
This is a security threat of unquantifiable proportion for those with inner eyes and reflective minds. The online media did not cause that. You and your ruling colleagues did.
So, the image you and other Nigerian rulers have created for us is unacceptable. Either known or unknown to you and based on your actions, you and other Nigerian rulers represent the greatest security threat to Nigeria and an almost irreparable damage and dent on our image.
Sadly, your actions and those of Nigerian rulers do not show that you recognize this. Thus you continue to recycle EXACTLY the SAME ACTIONS and STEPS in office. This is painful and sad.
Sir, based on this while waiting for a FULL DISCLOSURE of your Umuahia speech including the electronic transcription, for the rest of your term you have the moral obligation to join hands with Nigerian working peoples and truly make Nigeria work for the greatest good of the greatest number. That is the greatest image building we desperately need and NOT your move to check the social media.
With due respect to your office.
Yours in the true, honest and moral service of our motherland, Nigeria.
Adeolu Ademoyo firstname.lastname@example.org Africana Studies and Research Center, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York.