“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such a time as the State can shield the people from political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.” Joseph Goebbels, The Nazi Propagandist.
Mr. Reno Omokri goes by the status of a presidential assistant to President Goodluck Jonathan on New Media. Thus two things follow. First, Nigerians pay Reno Omokri from the public treasury in virtue of his official role as the voice of President Jonathan on the New Media. Second, it is reasonable to assume that when Reno Omokri writes, then President Jonathan speaks otherwise President Jonathan would sanction Mr. Reno Omokri for any mis-communication.
But it seems Mr. Reno Omokri has crossed the moral divide in his duty as President Jonathan’s presidential assistant on New Media. And if as it is the case that Omokri is the voice of Mr. Goodluck Jonathan on the New Media, then given the content of his recent un-ethical practice in linking Mr. Sanusi-the forcibly removed Central Bank Governor -with the recent Boko Haram killings in Federal Government College, Buni, it follows that President Jonathan needs to openly address this act of his paid propagandist.
Shortly after the forced removal of Mr. Sanusi as the Central Bank Governor, a sequence of events followed. While a wide section of Nigerians rejected the forced removal, it was business as usual for the Nigerian evil machine-Boko Haram. It struck at the FGC, Buni killing as usual children. Thin as these distinctions and deductions may appear there are three deductions that can be made from the rapid occurrence of events.
First is that the Boko Haram killings is a regular strike that has nothing to do with any event in the country. Second is that the Boko Haram strike coincides with the removal of Mr. Sanusi and the coincidence is meaningful. The third is that the forced removal of Mr. Sanusi coincides with the Boko Harma strike and the coincidence is meaningful. These are serious security questions which no one must be allowed to treat with levity for in the absence of verifiable evidence, and in a situation where the Nigerian security system has not spoken, then the first deduction remains the only one that can be rationally defended. But not for Mr. Reno Omokri who as presidential adviser must act with the consent of President Jonathan.
Allegedly writing under the online clone name Wendel Simlin, Omokri asserted that: “Given the quantum of funds that were appropriated by the Sanusi-led CBN on non banking related activities and donations, and the strong desire that he and Alhaji Umaru Abdul Mutallab have for proselytizing Islam as well as their circumstantial links to terror (Sanusi via Gideon Akaluka and Mutallab via his son) it is not such a leap for them to facilitate the activities of terrorists…” This claim is in agreement with our second deduction and came immediately after the Boko Haram killings.
In this regard, my questions are: Did Reno Omokri author and circulate this Nazi like propaganda? If so, as the presidential assistant to President Jonathan on New Media, did President Jonathan sanction the opinion canvassed in this Nazi propaganda piece?
Joseph Goebbels, Adolf Hitler’s chief propagandist it was who perfected the art and act of repeating lies (in order to transform lies into “truth”) against the Jewish people thus creating the environment that led to the pogrom and the holocaust against the Jewish people. Motivated by evil, Goebbels “theorized” the intersection between lies and “truth” thus:” If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.” This was what happened and which justified the evil of the holocaust against the Jewish people under Hitler. In repeating lies many times directly and through his online pseudonyms such as Wendell Simlin , I do not see a difference between Reno Omokri’s propaganda practice and that of Joseph Goebbels.
But Mr. Reno Omokri surfacing as Wendell Simlin should be contexuliased for his Nazi propaganda practice has a trajectory. For example, the dawn of Mr. Jonathan Goodluck’s presidency since the election in 2011 coincided with the most virulent, corrosive and frenetic sectionalist and divisive campaign ever in the Nigerian history.
And given the now pre-eminence of the New Media in the construction and dissemination of knowledge locally and globally, it is understandable that much of the sectionalist campaigns in defense of and on behalf of President Jonathan took place online with clear divisive and well targeted sectionalist slogans organized around sectional and tribal ownership of natural resources which “other” Nigerians are said to be parasitic on by these online campaigners whose political goals tally with those of the Jonathan presidency.
The aggressive but well coordinated nature of this tribal sectionalist campaign rattled and shocked some of us older Nigerians whose investment in the Nigerian project and unity from below as selfless private citizens is close to a dogged religious commitment.
Thus, to suddenly wake up and see well oiled and coordinated ethnic and tribal daggers thrown at such commitment at unity by online clones and characters clearly linked to the Goodluck Jonathan presidency was instructive but cold and chilling for some of us-again older Nigerians who had known no other project than the Nigerian unity project.
Thus, given Mr. Reno Omokri’s signature tune, status and portfolio as presidential assistant on New Media to Mr. Goodluck Jonathan, such aggressive online sectional campaign on behalf of President Jonathan was clearly coordinated by him-Mr. Reno Omokri. Given his unwitting betrayal of this sectionalist agenda through his linkage to the clone called Wendell Simlin, I ask Mr. Reno Omokri to come out openly and dispute this deduction including his linkage to Wendell Simlin.
Let me give just one example and discerning readers should go ahead and dig into these sectionalist campaigns to unravel the “mystery” and the character behind them. On October 20th 2011, Mr. Reno Omokri tweeted on Boko Haram thus “if they need emergency action then let them produce wealth. The North particularly, the core North are parasites…” It is strange that while Mr. Reno Omokri later denied this 2011 tweet claiming that his account was “hacked”, he has not till the time of writing denied his linkage with Wendell Simlin’s 2014 Nazi propaganda piece which dubiously linked Mr. Sanusi with Boko Haram killings in FGC Buni, neither has President Jonathan or his government distanced themselves from this obvious Nazi piece.
It is possible that Mr. Reno Omokri is not courageous enough to deny and refute his linkage with Wendell Simlin because it is impossible to deny what links the two-document Meta data. Documents Meta data are hard facts and verifiable scientific data that can and do establish an identity. Mr. Omokri needs to engage this.
In view of the obvious linkage of his assistant-Reno Omokri- on New Media to a clear Nazi propaganda practice, which continues to deepen divisions in the country, the loud silence of Mr. Goodluck Jonathan’s presidency is instructive. Mr. Jonathan has an Internet spy program coordinated by the Israeli company Elbit Security. This is an area of specialization of his contractor. Questionable as the contract to Elbit Security system is, we are not aware that President Jonathan stopped this program.
This is why one wonders why the Nigerian presidency has not deemed it fit to ask its spy contractor-Elbit Internet Security to establish or refute the linkage between Mr. Reno Omokri and Wendell Simlin. That President Jonathan has not done this may show that Elbit Internet Security System was hired to engage those President Jonathan considers to be his opponents. It may also be that the presidency already knows that Reno Omokri is Wendell Simlin. This is understandable even when it is morally illegitimate.
Therefore, if the Nigerian presidency does not investigate the linkage between Reno Omokri (its spokesperson on New Media) with the obvious Nazi piece by “Wendell Simlin”, and if the presidency does not distance itself from this piece and Reno Omokri’s manipulations of facts of Nigerian history, then the Nigerian presidency stands complicit of a piece capable of adding to the near genocide going on in the North East of the country.
The minimum for decency is for President Jonathan to sack Mr. Reno Omokri now for his media practices show that he is an incarnate of Joseph Goebbels, the chief Hitler propagandist on the Nigerian new media.
Adeolu Ademoyo, firstname.lastname@example.org, is of Africana Studies and Research Center, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY.