Wednesday, 14 June 2017


Amaechi: Nigeria Was Inching Towards Civil War in 2015 (Thisday Newspaper)

Says Jonathan’s removal posed bigger threat than Biafra Warns social media will destroy this country

The Minister of Transport and former Rivers State Governor, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, yesterday said not many Nigerians knew that the nation was heading towards another civil war in 2015 had the election results of that year been tampered with.

Amaechi, who spoke at the maiden edition of the CKN News annual lecture, held at the Renaissance Hotel, GRA, Ikeja, Lagos, explained that the removal of former President Goodluck Jonathan posed a bigger threat to the nation than the current agitation for Biafra, dismissing the possibility of a breakup in the country.

The minister, who expressed grave concern about the degree of abuse on the social media, also noted that if care was not taken, the abuse on the social media could destroy the country, even as he sued for an informed and educated use of the opportunity provided by the platform.

“The removal of President Jonathan was a bigger threat than Biafra. Nigeria was inching towards the civil war. So, forget the talk about secession; Nigeria cannot breakup,” he said, claiming that the Muhammadu Buhari Campaign organisation used the social media effectively to expose some of the undercurrents as well as tame the possible outbreak of a civil war.

Amaechi, who noted that the social media had created jobs for more unemployable people than their employable counterparts, maintained that government was angry with the social media operators but also happy because they had been creating jobs.

“They misinform the public. They have no rules except for the few that are credible and it is because those ones rose from the traditional media like The Cable, CKN news and The Eagleonline. Social media can destroy this country. It is good for society and its polity and it is also very bad,” he said.

The minister, who spoke extempore because he wanted the lecture to be interactive since social media matter was one that interested all, said the social media often times helped to solve depression through some of the sarcastic postings and gave different instances of some of the posts he has had to share because of their comic slant.

“Don’t believe everything on the social media if you want to remain sane,” he said, noting that it could be used heavily to influence the elections of 2019 in the country.
The minister, who also took questions from the audience after his lecture, dismissed assumptions about the non-performance of the Buhari administration, saying “our problem is not that we are not working; our problem is that we are not talking about what we are doing, reeling out some of the achievements of the administrations region by region.”

According to him, the state of the nation was so bad that salaries became impossible but the president looked into it to get the economy going. He therefore contended that to successfully fight corruption, government must jail at least 10 prominent rich people found culpable to serve as deterrent to others.

Amaechi, who was circumspect in his choice of words as he addressed the undoing of the social media said the fear of the social media operators and bloggers misquoting him or over-sensationalising the headlines of the story from the event had held him back from saying much, especially the need to observe the oath of secrecy, otherwise, he would have provided more information about certain persons to buttress his points.

Speaking earlier, the Editor-in-Chief of CKN News, Mr. Chris Kehinde Nwandu, said gone were the days when bloggers and online publishers were seen as blackmailers or in negative lights, but that they were more development partners to those who see them as such.

He added that after yesterday’s lecture, he reckoned there would be some kind of re-awakening about the online publishers and bloggers, noting that the choice of Amaechi as the guest speaker was because he remained the most bashed politician on the social media, when indeed some of the things written about him were untrue.

Also present at the event were the Corps Marshal, Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Dr. Boboye Oyeyemi; Executive Vice-Chairman/CEO of Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC), Professor Umar Garba Danbatta, who was represented by the Director, Public Affairs, NCC, Mr. Tony Ojobo, and presented the keynote address as well as the publisher, The Oracle newspaper, Mr. Ikeddy Isiguzo.

Rotimi Amaechi says social media will play big role in 2019 poll (The Guardian)

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.


It was difficult paying salaries when Buhari assumed office – Amaechi (Premium Times)

Nigeria’s Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, on Tuesday said it was difficult for the Muhammadu Buhari administration to pay salaries when it took over government.

Mr. Amaechi, who spoke at an annual lecture organised by CKN News, said the rot the government inherited from the Goodluck Jonathan government was unimaginable.

The programme, themed “The Role of the Social media in the socio-economic and political development of Nigeria”, held in Ikeja, Lagos.

“If you know the amount of rot we met when we came in, it was so bad that it was difficult to pay salaries,” he said.

He explained further that he would not be commenting much about rot because he would not want to “break the oath of secrecy.”

Mr. Amaechi, commenting on the challenges being faced by the All Progressives Congress, APC-led government, explained that the government was working towards empowering Nigerians and providing social amenities.
The minister stated that the nation has passed through the phase of finding it difficult to pay salaries, noting that measures are also being put in place to tackle other challenges being faced by Nigerians.

Commenting on the role of the social media in the polity, Mr. Amaechi noted that the platform is capable of creating employment as well as fostering political engagement.

He, however, said that the platform also has its negative sides, if not used with caution.

According to Mr. Amaechi, apart from providing a platform for Nigerians to vent their anger, it also provides employment for some “unemployable” Nigerians.

The minister, therefore, urged users of the social media to exercise and be security conscious.

“Social media can also be used as feedback mechanism for government…because it gives immediate feedback,” he said.

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