OMOJUWA: THE NAME; THE GAME written by Muyis Adepoju

An expose or is it?

His name is Joshua and his game is …

The number of Nigerian peeps on this social network called Twitter is growing and it is a growing concern for the government too because according to the minister of information recently at a gathering of journalists, the spread of information must be controlled. He reminded the journalists that it was through the flagrant use of this social network and another, Facebook, which led to the uprisings in some countries recently. Whether the information passed between peeps in these countries were true or not, the representative of our amiable minister of information did not say.

In fairness to the government, there are all sorts of peeps on Twitter who they should be afraid of. Most of these peeps, however, are just there to spread information and nothing more. Some are equally there to get the information and the juicy gossips. And because like in other countries in the world, the joke is more often than not on the government of the day, the bulk of the gist among Nigerian peeps on Twitter is always about the government. Most peeps will just tweet about the ineptitude of the government and continue with their miserable lives caused by this same ineptitude they tweet about almost everyday. They have done their part by talking about it on Twitter. These are not the peeps the government is afraid of. These have been around for a long time and the government has developed thick skins to their verbal lashings. Others, still, come with classified information that discredits the government. The steam from this kind of classified information usually lasts a day in the air before another one comes up and the government, adept at the game of sweeping matters under the carpet, waves its magic wand and the matter is forgotten. These peeps too don’t give the government sleepless night. After all, there is the FOI bill. To the layman on the street, there is nothing like classified dirt anymore. Juicy information about the government that will make headlines in any other sane environment can be bought at the price of a bottle of alcohol at any roadside joint. You don’t need to be on Twitter to know some of the scandals our political class get themselves in.

There are, however, a few peeps on Twitter who the government is and should be afraid of. These peeps have decided to do something about what they see around them apart from tweeting about it. It is rare in this day and age in Nigeria to have such people in our midst not because they are rare but more often because we have been conditioned to believe otherwise. We have been conditioned to believe that all man for himself, God for us all. Individualism reigns supreme in our minds so much so that the government that was created for the people by the people is now a government of ethnicity. Divided, each region fights for itself with the spoils of war going into the coffers of a selected few. We believe that anybody that comes out comes out for himself and we ourselves, the masses, have proved that prognosis correct time without number when one after the other, men of honor left the masses for the government. These men of honor will tell you their reasons for doing that if you ask them though. One of their reasons is that you can’t do anything from the outside. This is true to some extent, though. But whether these men still stand for the masses when they get inside is another topic for another day.

So anybody coming out with a plan that includes action is a fraud or worse still, a disgruntled loser of election. We don’t believe anyone of us can be selfless enough to rise up and initiate a plan that will bring about a positive change in the governance of this sleeping giant of Africa. There is no gainsaying that the Nigerian government is performing below average. Everybody admits it in one way or the other. The people are badly represented; completely alienated from the overly bloated government that is more wasteful of its resources now, more than ever. We all agree that we are down but we disagree on the methods to use to get up.

This writer has not met Japheth-Omojuwa. On two or three of the occasions that he has been on television to champion his cause, this writer couldn’t watch because of one reason or the other. On Twitter, however, this writer follows him with about five thousand other followers (this figure grows steadily). Apart from writing, which he does beautifully well, (he once tweeted that he’s a writer that blogs and a blogger that writes) he is very passionate about Arsenal and Nigeria. I will put my money that Nigeria comes first to him though. If his tweets are anything to go by, which they are by the way because my opinions about him are based on them, then one won’t be too far from the truth to say that Omojuwa is an activist. Albeit, he is quick to deny it, he frowns on most things and policies the government of the day stands for. He is quick to align himself with the masses’ demands and support causes like charity and philanthropy with his tweets. On Twitter, he asks questions and waits patiently for his followers to answer. He gives his own opinions about sensitive issues and writes revealing articles about the government on his website. He gives his followers inside information about the government’s spending with specific figures and urges them to get involved in governance. And because no man is an island, Omojuwa has his own close circle of friends of which Mallam Nasri Elrufai is a member. Some say he is Elrufai’s boy. But that is understandable in Nigeria because like I earlier on pointed out, it is unconceivable to believe that anyone can come out and rally the masses together for a common good. He or she must be working for a cabal. In Nigerian politics, there are two classes of people- the godfathers and the godsons. So it is apt to describe someone as a godfather to another; and to equally say that someone else is a godson of another. It is a Nigerian thing to say although it may not hold water.

What is Omojuwa’s game? He has shown clearly by his tweets that he’s not on Twitter just for the sake of getting followers who will wake up in the morning and go through his tweets like they are the dailies and thereafter move on. He says let’s take a step forward in the direction of good governance and see where it leads. He says let us take a step forward from tweeting and start acting in real life. He calls on everybody to not be at the mercy of the government. He stands for some values in life and he is ready to defend them on Twitter and in real life, too. He is gradually making a name for himself as the voice of the voiceless. He has started a journey that only he can dictate the pace at which he wants to move. Would he go far? Yes. He will go far only if we will walk with him.

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