Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi yesterday said social media will play a prominent role in the conduct and determination of the outcome of the 2019 general elections in Nigeria because of its ability to sensitise the voting population.
The minister who spoke at the first annual lecture organised by CKN news with the theme, “The Role Of The Social Media In Socio-Economic And Political Development Of Nigeria,” held in Lagos, however urged caution in the management of online news media.
Amaechi who addressed a gathering of participants that included stakeholders drawn from the communication and media segments of Nigeria, harped on the need to check the use of social media, noting that it has caused lots of havoc in the country.
Stressing that about ninety percent of news being disseminated by the social media networks are fake, he said their operations could make or mar any nation. He said, “Though the social media has contributed to the development of the nation but it has also caused a lot of havoc in the country. So many unscrupulous people have engaged it to create avenue for crimes. We have had series of those who have fell victims of the crimes in social media.
“The prevalence of social media in politics has made elected officials and candidates for public office more accountable and accessible to voters. And the ability to publish content and broadcast it to millions of people instantaneously, allows campaigns to carefully manage their candidates’ images based on rich sets of analytics in real time and at almost no cost.
“It influences the tension of election, former American President Obama used it to defend himself during election. Even when various things are being said about people on social media, it also eases tension.”
The Minister noted that so many politicians engage the social media to tarnish the image of their counterparts saying that most of them engage young men to come up with stories that do not exist against their enemies in politics.
“When it was published that I own a property worth N50 million, I just waved it aside that the news wont go anywhere until it became serious. The social media misinform the public, they don’t verify their information, they have no rules and they can publish anything. It is a tool that politicians use to damage the reputation of another politician.
“As a governor, if you don’t want crime to continue, the best thing is to create wealth. The feedback the social media platform provides helps to check the efficiency of the government, and in the bid to create employment, politicians have made use of the platform to reach out to prospective candidates.”
The Director of Public Affairs, Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC), Tony Ojobo who represented the commission at the event however disclosed that the agency has established an act to caution frivolous and inhuman posts in the social media.
Ojobo who stated that the advantages of the social media outweigh its disadvantages said that there is need for collaboration among the security agencies to measure up to advanced technology in curbing illegal operations of online media.
He also noted that Information and Communication Technology (ICT) holds the future for the nation and the citizens stressing, “Our security agencies should advance in time, the capacity that ICT has in terms of economy is unbeatable.”
Publisher of CKN News, Chris Kehinde Nwandu, a seasoned journalist, however stressed the commitment of his outfit, right from inception, to the observance and sustenance of ideals of journalism and promotion of truth in all its functions.