Media, they often say, is like a double-edged sword that can make and unmake any individual.
To underscore the importance of this maxim, one only needs to look at the political rise and fall of Nigeria’s former Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki.
Within the space of 2 decades, Bukola Saraki rose to the zenith of his political career as Nigeria’s senate president, from the obscurity of his father’s collapsed bank, Society Générale, to being a presidential assistant, then a two term Governor, a Governor’s governor (Chairman Governor’s Forum), a two term senator and Senate President of Federal Republic of Nigeria, before going down to become nothing, after
crushing his father’s dynasty, just like he crushed the bank, Society Generale.
Like the proverbial la la, in the Yoruba adage, ‘’la la to ro ke’’, Bukola Saraki went up, as high as propaganda could take him, then came down, as low as la la could bring him. After all, la la to ro ke (la la that went up), ile lon bo (will surely come down).
In 2019 general election, the same propaganda, which made Dr Saraki and helped him retain firm grip on the destiny of Kwara State for almost two decades, finally unmade the former Senate President, serving him a very small dose of his own meal.
While some beneficiaries of the dynasty are still saving face by holding unto the crushed brand like an orphan holding tight to the corps of his or her guardian, his organizers, especially the media handlers may never recover from the numerous media punches that the otoge warriors pounced into their skulls during that campaign that untie the knot of the several decades old dynasty.
In their disturbed mind, despite the huge investment made by Saraki in media propaganda and claim of expertise in media strategy by his over bloated media men, it is the same media communication that ousted their man, but in my own mind, which they wouldn’t say, it is media propaganda that made him in the first place and If that is the case, let us just agree that media propaganda made and unmade him and there’s no need to keep crying over a broken egg.
See, i have often say that, media is a system that can make Jesus look like Satan and make Satan look like Jesus, in such a way that, when people see Jesus, they will run away and say, I rebuke you in the name of Jesus, and when they see Satan, they will bow to him and say, son of God, you are our lord and personal savior.
This is so because, no matter how good you are, media has the capacity to paint you as evil and no matter how evil, you can be portrayed as saint. However, If media paint an evil person as saint yesterday, he shouldn’t be too joyous because today, it could repaint him or her back to its real self.
Let me also add that, media has a way of making the small look big and the big small. This is a tool for psychological warfare and the dominance of Saraki in Kwara State for many years is largely due to this media propaganda.
In Kwara State, we know of the many media personnel, who work for national newspapers, but draw salary from Kwara State as media consultants to the dynasty. I am also aware of some online influencers who are on the payroll of the former ruling dynasty across the
This is apart from those who simply enjoy occasional patronage without retainship.
However, the Saraki propaganda is beyond that of the media alone. In actual fact, it is all encompassing.
This is how it works. You wake up in the morning and turned on your radio station. The story blasting out from your speaker will be a Saraki planted story, whether relevant or irrelevant, newsworthy or otherwise. On Television station, every Saraki story, whether news worthy or not is given huge prominence and the people are forced to consume this content over and over again until they come to accept whatever is being said. Remember that for a long time, there were no private media platforms in Kwara State until very recently. The emergence of vibrant alternative sources of information largely liberalized the space.
Again, when you go to religious places to pray, the imam is asking you to pray for the leader, which of course was Saraki. Then in the traditional circle, you grow in rank and influence based on your loyalty to Saraki dynasty and even the student union leadership would be decided based on loyalty to Saraki and same with the civil service. This practice is also extended to trade unions, markets and community association in such a way that almost everywhere you turn, Saraki will be staring at you in the face. It became practically impossible to escape from Saraki’s hold, until the liberalization of the media space, first through online media, then to radio and others.
At the national level, Saraki handlers are very alert and responsive. They understand how social media operates and they are well equipped and empowered to respond appropriately. Almost all prominent social media platforms are on the payroll of the handlers. This ensures a prominent feature of their planted stories across the media, both conventional and social. They also have a large team of social media influencers that help syndicate their content across all platforms and of course, they pay well.
So, when this was understood, it was easy to make their job difficult, by changing the narrative completely. At first, they were matched information for information, then they were taken out of their comfort zone to a whole new turf, from which they continue to suffer until they were outpaced and completely lost control.
To say it differently, Saraki’s propaganda was basically rendered impotent and he lost it long before the election.
In conclusion, let me say, to the remnant of the Saraki dynasty, especially those in the media space that continue to bore the public with one claim or the other, about how propaganda was used to dethrone their overlord, please grow up. Ile ti mo, its day break.
Abdulrazaq Hamzat is the Convener of Kwara Must Change