FAKE NEWS: OF OSUN APC MISCHIEVOUS NARRATIVE AND THE FACTS BY OLATUNJI OPEYEMI

FAKE NEWS: OF OSUN APC MISCHIEVOUS NARRATIVE AND THE FACTS

By Olatunji Opeyemi

When the Osun State Government announced the constitution of a committee to checkmate the pervasive incidence of fake news on the social media, the state’s chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) ran to the public with a twisted narrative to suggest that it was targeted at silencing opposition, particularly it.

A former Special Adviser on Legal Matter in the administration of Alhaji Gboyega Oyetola, Barrister Salman, went as far as contesting the legality of the effort of the State Government, arguing on a current affairs program on Rave FM that the Cybercrime Act must be domesticated before it can be applied by the State Government.

But the argument canvassed by Barr. Salman is not only faulty in the face of law but also on the point of logic. And you don’t need to be a lawyer to recognize this plain truth.

The Cybercrime Act is of general application not requiring any domestication. Any State where any offence is committed under the Act can take up the culprit. It’s like the Robbery and Firearms Act which every State uses to try armed robbers without any domestication.

For instances, states like Kwara, Ogun, Kaduna, Zamfara and even Lagos have prosecuted and jailed people in the past using the Cybercrime Act. Yet, none of the states domesticated the law as erroneously impressed by Barr. Salman on the radio. In 2019, Ibrahim Danmalikin-Gidangoga, was arraigned before a court in Gusau, Zamfara state capital, over alleged defamation and incitement, principally on the 2015 Cybercrime Act.

Coming down to Osun, it is on record that the Alhaji Gboyega Oyetola-led APC administration prosecuted and in some cases, jailed people for fake news. Interestingly, Barr Salman was a legal adviser in that government and should know better. But if he is pretending not to know, then it would not be out of place to cast minds back to at least, two notable incidence of the application of the 2015 Cybercrime Act under the Oyetola administration.

  1. On April 14, 2020, the Oyetola administration arraigned Akinloye Saheed, a member of the PDP from Osogbo, over a post he put on his Facebook page. He was remanded in prison custody and spent day before he freed due to media pressure.
  2. In the same April 2020, a councilor elected on the platform of APC, Ropo Raji was dragged before DSS by Oyetola for allegedly operating a Facebook account with the name Osun Media Guru. He was detained and was later released after serious condemnation after the incident was reported in the media. Ropo Raji was a member of a faction in the APC, The Osun Progressives (TOP), which are loyal to the then Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola.

What the above clearly showed is that Osun APC is being mischievous as the past showed that the Adeleke administration is not doing anything out of order. In fact, the APC, if actually, it meant well for the state, should support the Adeleke administration quest to sanitize the social media space and avert a bigger crisis that peddling falsehood on the social media portends.

Although, the Osun APC may have issues with the effort of the Osun State Government considering its penchant for false narratives and misinformation, however, it must come to the realization of the dangerous side of its approach. Opposition is a serious business just like government, and not the despicable attitude that the Osun APC apparently shows toward the stability of our society with its penchant for lies and conjectures.

Take, for instance, the APC misleading narrative about the Spokesperson of Governor Ademola Adeleke, Mallam Olawale Rasheed. Attempt to compare Mallam Rasheed’s case is not apt and misleading. Mallam Rasheed did not posts falsehood or lies against anybody. Nor did any of the press statement bearing his signature contained any defamatory post against anybody.

In fact, Mallam Rasheed was not quoted in any story to have peddle lies contrary to the impression that those after him had mischievously sold to the public. The story in question was an investigative story, which no name was quoted as the source. It was therefore nothing but a calculated political scheme against Mallam Rasheed because his name was nowhere referenced in the entire story.

It is unheard of in media practice that someone not referenced in a publication will be targeted in the way that the Osun APC agents have done to Mallam Rasheed. Nothing other than the bad politics that the Osun APC may be relying on for the 2026 election can explain this abuse of federal security apparatus. That the publisher allegedly said Mallam gave her the story (a report Mallam Rasheed denied), cannot even be an excuse. Again, media practice protects a source and putting a journalist to disclose news source is against the law.

So by all accounts, Mallam Rasheed case was an attempt to cripple the information machinery of the Adeleke administration. It was targeted at detaining Mallam Rasheed and arrest media operatives of the government as openly threatened by Mr. Jamiu Olawumi, a chieftain of the Osun APC. It was clearly a plot to use the machinery of the Federal Government crudely to harass and intimidate official of the State Government ahead of the 2026 governorship election. So Mallam was right to seek protection of the law.

The same cannot be said of somebody who under his own name accused another person of embezzling one or two billion. If the accused petitioned, you must prove your statement or you face the sanction of the law.

  • Olatunji Opeyemi writes from Ileā€“Ife, Osun State.

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