CCT: I am Being Persecuted For Contesting Senate Presidency
The Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki has said that Nigerians need not worry about the Frivolous Petition Bill before the National Assembly, as it would go nowhere. This is because, according to him, the emphasis should not be about the negatives of the social media but the positives. And the positives to him far outweigh the negatives; reason the bill will not see the light of the day.
Saraki maintained that without the social media community, un-sitting an incumbent government would not have been possible in the last election. He said that with the social media platforms, he would not have been in the Senate nor his political party have won the last general elections. He said the social media empowered Nigerians to be INEC Chairman, declaring results in each polling units using different social media platforms. He said this was not possible in past, which was why it was easy to rig election.
The Senate President therefore said it is the reason he would not be part of those who will undermine such a platform rather it should be about building and encouraging better partnership to achieve improved result.
According to him, it was one of the reasons he decided to be part of the Social Media Week when he got the invitation. He further said that social media encourages accountability in government. He also noted that because there is a big role the social media plays, the effort should be to make it work better for the people and not deny them access to it.
For him, more Nigerians are participating in the governance process than before because of the social media platforms disclosing that public servants cannot get away with issues they used to get away with in the past because of social media and that makes the country’s democracy better.
He promised that as part of efforts at ensuring accountability and leading by example, the National Assembly budget would be made public in a couple of weeks. He, however, said that his on-going trial on the declaration of his assets when he was governor was political and principally meant to persecute him for daring to contest the Senate Presidency seat. He said the trial is not about corruption and not about the way to fight corruption.
On his part, Senator Dino Melaye said though the social media is a platform that helps to deepen democracy, there should be some form of decorum by members of the community when conversing. He also pleaded with social media users to take steps to verify information before reacting as often, people react to information that are false.
Earlier in a panel discussion on ‘Social media and election’, it was agreed that social media has become a critical ingredient of elections in Nigeria besides deciding who wins an election. And to the panellists, the last election was a pointer and testimony to that effect. Seun Okinbaloye, a journalist with Channels Television, said that any politician or political party that neglects social media in its operation will pay for it dearly. Also, Gbenga Sesan, another panellist, said that public servants must be willing to receive criticisms, just as they must be on the social media platform to communicate and get feed backs from the people and not to just push information to them. Sesan also said that, while the number of citizens on the social media may not be as huge compared to the country’s population, the platforms have a major multiplier effect.
One of the panellists noted that President Buhari used social media effectively during his campaign but the President has abandoned the social media after assuming office, as there has been little or no social media activities by the president.
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