"WR6_gUnUj-ztiW07KQcOCnTel9A"/> Notes From Atlanta: Re: What Virtual Nigeria Says about Real Nigeria

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Re: What Virtual Nigeria Says about Real Nigeria

This week I am sharing with you the comments I’ve received from readers on my article regarding the increasingly frightening vileness that characterizes most discussions on Nigerian Internet forums. I find the comments both interesting and insightful. I hope you do too. Enjoy:

Nigerian-based websites have become a nuisance where only hate and casting aspersions on a particular section of the country is now the norm. It is annoying that those people spreading hate against others are not morally better than them.

Dr. Abdullahi Dahiru, Kano (maikanodahiru@yahoo.com)

Please permit me to use Pidgin English on your page: THE THING TIRE ME NO BE SMALL! It's sad how low we've descended. Just about every discussion on Nigerian-based sites degenerates into an ethnic and/or religious battle, even if the subject is on how Mr A or Mrs B made a bold decision to start jogging every morning to stay fit. It's such a BIG SHAME. The biggest beneficiaries of this madness as always are the 'prominent stakeholders', 'chieftains' and the rest of them.

Onyemaechi Dike, Birmingham, UK (dike360@gmail.com)

Surely, a psychologist will appreciate this dramatic insight into the psyche of Nigerians. Distrust, cynicism, suspicion, stereotyping... the list goes on. I am a student of Psychology and I believe that someone can do a Ph.D. thesis that will provoke global interest on this apparent peculiarity that most of us never really observed.

Akinjide Babalola, Abuja (jidebabs2001@yahoo.com)

The reality in Nigeria is that public discussion, whether in the virtual or print media, has become that of hate and mutual suspicion and distrust and is now degenerating into vulgar and uncultured abuse. It is now taking a higher level when elders, statesmen, seasoned journalists engage in it. Just read any newspaper in Nigeria and you will have a full dose of it. But I have a strong belief that Nigeria will survive it, not because of patriotism but because those milking the cow will not let it die. Rather, they will find a way to settle at the expense of the blinded masses that follow them in the fight and get bloodied. Don't ever trust them. All they are doing, like my late friend said, is playing with "Ashana" matches.

Nuruddeen Tijani, Abuja (nooreedaura@yahoo.com)

You are my reason for reading Weekly Trust. Nice one there. I also read your article on the MENDacious president and about him having incompetent hands. His S.A. on media doesn’t even come out to talk like Remi Oyo and Segun Adeniyi. The newscasters are the ones reading his messages.

Abdullahi Musa, Gusau (abdum900@yahoo.com)

Of course netiquette should prevail on our fora. When elephant egos collide—or rather when two elephants fight— it’s said that it’s the grass that suffers.

You have a point there about baseless hatred (Sinat Chinam) which is a very potent and destructive force. It should not be encouraged – and the recent news about arms shipments to Nigeria does not bode well for peace and harmony and the ideal of a United Nigeria which the enemies of Nigeria and the enemies of the nation state would like to split into many pieces…

Cornelius Hamelberg, Sweden (corneliushamelberg@gmail.com)

You have summed it up nicely. Wow! I couldn't have expressed it any better!!! It is a sad state of affairs. Thanks for giving voice and clarity to the opinion and observation some of us hold, about the chaotic state of Nigerian Internet Etiquette and Conduct. Nice one.

Graham Ogunleye (bode_boluz@hotmail.co.uk)

Your piece gave me academic delight and a professional satisfaction. It is a lucid piece and timely. It is more timely for me because I am currently writing a thesis on the rise of citizen journalism in Nigeria taking a look at Sahara reporters, NVS and others and investigating to what extent they have enhanced the deliberative process of democracy.

As a professional journalist with 20-something years of experience, I share some of the concerns you raised. Can we entrust news reporting and opinion writing and the gate-keeping role of editors to ordinary citizens who are often unable to remain objective? How can we create a regime of vetting and editing content and comments in a world where everyone is suddenly a journalist? Your piece is most inspiring.

I am currently a research fellow at Oxford University in the UK. I will draw insights from your piece, but more importantly, I was wondering if I could send you a few questions, some kind of interview to get your direct comments about other aspects of this subject matter. Sahara Reporters is my case study. I am interested in finding out to what extent Sahara reporters in particular and others like it have succeeded in stimulating political participation and deliberative democracy. How has SR impacted the system in specific situations of forcing the hand of change? How many Nigerians in the Diaspora get their news first from SR and why? This and many more.

Let me stop here and wait for your reply. I contribute opinion pieces from time to time to Sahara reporters. My name is Sunday Dare. And like you, when I write, I no longer read the comments about my piece.

Best Wishes,
Sunday Dare, Oxford, UK

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