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THERE MUST BE A SKELETON IN MR PRESIDENT’S CUPBOARD!

 

By Waffy

 

Monday, November 3, 2008.

 

The internet for many young Nigerians is the place to get news, information and sometimes even knowledge. In a country whose history with the media has not always been too “cordial”, it is sometimes necessary to read news about Nigeria through online sources. Not because online sources are more reliable but sometimes online sources are able to publish stories that many Media houses in Nigeria will not touch with a ten foot pole.

 

They are able to criticize our leaders and give honest opinions in matters concerning our country. They are also free from being “shut down” by the SSS and the Nigerian government.


In the midst of all the different sites and news agencies online, are also blogs. Blogs are online journals published by individuals on the internet. Most blogs are like diaries, with the blogger sharing his or her personal life, ideas and opinions. A blogger can decide to share his views on flowers, children, coffee… basically anything he/she wants. Some blogs focus on politics. They put up news about different political issues and share their opinions on the matter.


The numbers of Nigerian blogs dealing with political issues have slowly increased on the internet over the years. Some blogs publish only news about Nigeria while others might share their opinions or engage in lively discussions. For the young, blogs are where the debates happen.

 

Since Nigerian Television Channels and newspapers often do not pose the hard questions to our leaders, (which is totally understandable when one considers the number of journalists that have been assassinated in this country) normal citizens have taken over and are now asking the questions that Nigerian journalists and correspondents fear to address.


Many bloggers are anonymous but there are also a few that choose to blog without any anonymity whatsoever. Jonathan Elendu is one of the many bloggers who uses his real identity online. He maintains a blog that features news and political articles about Nigeria and of course, does not blog from Nigeria.

 

He has however been arrested or rather “invited” by the SSS on arrival to the country from the United States. I think Nigeria is certainly going backwards if the government insists on arresting citizens because of news articles published on the internet. The internet is too huge a place to wage war on.


How many more bloggers do they wish to arrest? There are thousands and thousands of people all over the world that publish stories and news about
Nigeria daily. Even for an experienced blog reader, it is impossible to keep up with the number of articles being published about Nigeria. From students to pharmacists, pilots to teachers, it seems everybody has something to say about Nigeria.


For the first time in a very long time, Nigerians are actively participating in discussions about the future of our Nation. People are engaged, committed and ready to help our country in any way they can. It will be a shame if this has to end because of a few articles that the government does not approve of. There are many articles all over the internet that I do not enjoy reading.

 

However, unlike our government, I do not have the ability to arrest anybody just because I disapprove of the kind of stories they publish. I do not have the power and I hope I never do. Power is a dangerous tool and a country that continues to use such a tool against its own citizens is heading for doom.

 

Editor's note: Jonathan Elendu has just been released by the Nigerian Government, however, another US-based  Nigerian journalist Emmanuel Emeke Asiwe of www.huhuonline.com has just been arrested on a visit to Nigeria.

 

The writer is a journalist, he writes for the Guardian (Nigeria) and blogs as Waffy.

 

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