People should be vigilant to keep their freedom. Under-performing governments like the Buhari administration will continue to seek increased control over digital platforms. They will attempt to use legislation or taxes on data subscription rates to limit access, as a way to clampdown on free speech.


Finally, the government is aware that social media is the new information and organising frontier, and the weapon of the information war is the smart phone. With cellphones in peoples’ palms, they have access to information and can transmit this faster and organise better. As usual, what the government cannot control, they always want to take away. Before the democratisation of information and news, the government could easily control the social and political narrative by feeding Nigerians whatever they liked through the state-owned media. Those they could not control, they shut down, or if it is the print media, they confiscate the print runs to prevent damaging stories and information from getting out. The pattern has been altered, with social media becoming the most important medium for public communication and culture. As a platform, the digital space is excellent for recruitment, mobilisation and organisation. Social media is feared because it does not rely on state structures and it is difficult to control. As the trial of Omoyele Sowore has shown, it has also become a platform to form alliances and debunk the lies and propaganda of government. All these are the reasons why the defenders of the status-quo are threatened.

For more than a generation, there has been an accelerated degeneration in moral values, leading to the lack of social cohesion, with attendant implications for nation-building. The systemic loss of values, elevation of mediocrity to state art, impunity and corruption are not caused by free speech or the social media. They were caused by moral degeneracy, the love of quick money, greed and all other vices in between. Plans to censor free speech cannot be presented as a moral imperative. It is not!

The interest of Nigerian governments in enacting a social media law is a misguided attempt to criminalise dissent and teach people how to behave on social media. The country’s problems require better and more reasoned solutions than the perennial attempts by succeeding governments at silencing critical voices, to mask embarrassing facts and ideas that can galvanise people into action. Nigerians are frustrated, alienated and disgruntled, given the prevalence of widening inequality, ethnic chauvinism, the lack of opportunities and social mobility. With mobile telephony, the youth can see what their peers accross the oceans enjoy in countries that are better governed. How is calling out politicians who do not have the best interest of those they represent at heart, hate speech?

The governing interest of Mohammed Sani Musa alias Sani Card Reader, whose proposed the latest noxious version of a social mdia gagging legistation, is to seek escape from criticism by those they have subjected to harsh realities by their actions.


The question is: Can behaviour be legislated? Certainly not! Social media is not the problem. A rudderless and purposeless leadership without moral compass nor a sense of responsibility is. Any bill meant to curtail the rights and privileges of social media users is nothing but high-handedness and cyber fascism.

The governing interest of Mohammed Sani Musa alias Sani Card Reader, whose proposed the latest noxious version of a social mdia gagging legistation, is to seek escape from criticism by those they have subjected to harsh realities by their actions. The majority of social media users are decent people. Many outspoken critics want a country that works for all, regardless of their circumstances of birth. Many people who educate and inform on social media are active citizens who are exercising their rights to petition the government and advance social causes. What Sani Card Reader wants is to silence the voices who expose the hypocrisy of opportunists and usurpers of public good. These categories are the ones who undermine social trust.

I call on all fellow citizens to stay WOKE. Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.


People should be vigilant to keep their freedom. Under-performing governments like the Buhari administration will continue to seek increased control over digital platforms. They will attempt to use legislation or taxes on data subscription rates to limit access, as a way to clampdown on free speech.

Without doubt, social media has aided and given cover for ethno-religious bigots, political anarchists, conspiracy theory peddlers and bullies. Boko Haram has used and exploited social media platforms to devastating effect for recruiting apostles of hate and for disseminating their hateful and murderous doctrines. It is clear Sani Card Reader and his likes are not targeting these categories of people. The real targets are active citizens advocating good governance and accountability. This brazen assault on free speech and constitutional violation should be a cause for concern and should be condemned by all.

I call on all fellow citizens to stay WOKE. Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.

Bámidélé Adémólá-Olátéjú a farmer, youth advocate and political analyst writes this weekly column, “Bamidele Upfront” for PREMIUM TIMES. Follow me on Twitter @olufunmilayo