Imo Fake News Scandal: What Gov. Hope Uzodinma Should Have Done



Great leaders are respected, honoured, admired, not feared. In Imo state, those hangers on the Imo Governor Uzodinma calling out with threats, Intimidations and harassments on perceived opponents of his administration are the real enemies of the governor attracting him more hates.

It was on the Facebook page of the Chief Gadfly of Imo state, Dr. Modesty Virus M. Ezenwa that I first read the now ascribed “fake news” of the purported attempt, allegedly through a Bill sent to the House of Assembly by the governor of Imo state to regulate the Social Media in the state.

Thereafter, I also stumbled on other posts opposing the alleged Bill, including those with screenshots of the so-called Press Release purportedly written by the governor’s Chief Press Secretary on the said Bill.

Following, posts and counter posts have taken over the Social Media highway with yours sincerely also wondering, if Mr. Ambrose Nwaogwugwu, the one being accused and detained as the master forger of “fake news” and “Press Statements” in the name of the CPS to the governor of Imo state, had been released from detention.

It’s of note that the Imo State House of Assembly also issued a disclaimer to the so-called Bill, and I must say that I am glad the various reffutals from government quarters against the allegation.

“Fake news” anywhere should not be encouraged because it also endangers the citizenry. It makes it difficult for us to know when truly we should be on the run, or stay at our homes. The story in one of Chief Osadebe’s musical album is worth referencing here. The character keeps deceiving his people with the shouting of Agu (Lion) invasion in the land when there was none available. But the day the lion eventually attacked, none of his kinsmen believed his alarm. The lion feasted on him.

I had previously opined in my previous article that arresting and prosecuting suspected “fake news” peddlers at this stage in his administration’s life by Sen. Uzodinma was not the best move for a government still struggling with brand design. I remember warning that those who advised the governor to tow this line ill-advised him. But what I get for voicing out was threats and profiling of my Facebook account by agents of the government. Some had even threatened to send thugs after me as if dead and life rest in their hands.

The truth is that I do not wish another failure for my Orlu kinsman Governor. To continue to chase after Social Media ranters at a time he should be after the provision of good governance would amount to unnecessary exhibition of brutish tendencies. And will there be opponents, critics, “haters”? Sure, nobody can stop Imo youths from ventilating their problems on the social media. Infact, many eat from this street, and I had suggested that the Governor creates more jobs by employing more hands for his own image promotions on same street if he can’t stand their heats.

Fact is that when you arrest one Ambrose Nwaogwugwu, you only cowed some people momentarily, but encourages more to hide under whatever means to continue to hit and attack negatively on the system.

Against the risk of being further threatened by those who are causing more image harms to the governor in the name of protecting him, or even being tagged one of the suspects “at large”, I stand to urge that the Director-General of the PDP New Media, Mr. Ambrose Nwaogwugwu be released and continuation of his trial be suspended forthwith by the Uzodinma’s administration.

Let’s not pretend that all is well with the state at this moment. Some of us may appreciate reasons, especially at this Covid-19 pandemic burst, but certainly not all would see reasons not to grumble over the non payments of salaries to Civil servants, pensioners, contractors and even Government appointees.

Explaining these should concern the Uzodinma’s administration most. Grumbling begets rumours, hence “fake news”, propaganda and blackmails as weapons in the hands of opponents and aggrieved persons, including victims of these plagues are well naturally situated.

What the aides and image handlers of the Government may do, is to approach this problem of “fake news” (yes, it’s a huge problem to the system) from more liberal dispositions. Arrange and organize Public Lectures, Hearings, Seminars, Shows, etc.through select government arms in the state ,where this problem will be discussed in a more friendly outmosphere without the usual military commands and warnings.
Who says Government in power and Shadow Government cannot sit and talk?

The Social Media has become a leveler where everyone who knows how to read and write is now referred to as a journalist, yet there is no doubt most writers do not really understand basic implications in most of what they write. Would it be something difficult to organize a workshop where select popular writers/social media influencers in the state, irrespective of political party affiliations, are hosted to basic tutorial on this vexed issue? Sure, the Attorney-General, the Information Commissioner and other resource persons can be invited to make presentations.

To reduce “Fake news” in the state, Government officials and information handlers must, themselves, first reduce the lies they dish out to the public. They should be more of diplomatic in their conducts. Diplomacy here, is the ability not to lie, but at the same time not to say the entire truths in most cases. When the people are adequatey informed, they would automatically decode “fake news” when they see one.

Similarly, synergies must be created amongst the various information leads of the Government which we all know are currently lacking. These heads are strange bed fellows mixing reggae dance steps with the Atiliogwu steps. The output has been disasterous and killing.

Opposition politicians cannot not oppose. If opposition does not oppose a government in power, what then should it do?. And anyone telling the governor that he can shut up the opposition is sure deceiving him.

But opposition can be managed when politicians in power see others as part of them, not as enemies as it’s currently the trend in the state.

The governor should also look inward his political party and among his aides to critically ascertain where some of these fake news are coming from. A political party in power that has opposition “parties” within itself will sure have purveyors of “fake news” within it. PDP is not the only opposition party against the Government of Sen. Uzodinma. The APC is also in major opposition to itself in Imo.

The ideal thing at this stage is to release Nwaogwugwu and reduce opposition’s strength by presenting positive and verifiable achievements, logic and saleable communication skills, not threats, intimidations and arrests against perceived opponents. Bruises are best to be treated gently.

Greg Nwadike

Greg Nwadike GOC writes from Abuja and can be reached via WhatsApp only +2348099088443

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Intel News.

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