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Activists Demand Sacking Of Jonathan’s Social Media Aide

President Goodluck Jonathan
President Goodluck Jonathan

Online activists have called for the sacking of the Special Assistant to the President on New Media, Mr. Reno Omokri, over a controversial article traced to him. The article had linked suspended Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Lamido Sanusi, to Boko Haram activities.

Tech-savvy individuals complained that the electronic mail circulated to bloggers and written with the address [email protected] had the digital footprints of the presidential aide.

The property of the Word document in the email was discovered to have conspicuously contained the name of the presidential aide as its author.

The first paragraph of the article entitled, ‘Increased tempo of Boko Haram/terrorist activity in the wake of the Sanusi Saga,’ which has now circulated widely online reads, “In the wake of the saga involving the suspended Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, there has been an increase in the tempo of terrorist activities carried out by the Islamic terrorist sect, Boko Haram.”

The development has sparked anger online, especially on Twitter, with many calling for Omokri’s head. They accused Omokri, a pastor, of spearheading a smear campaign at a time when dozens of Nigerians are being massacred in the north.

Political blogger, Kayode Ogundamisi, in a message posted on his Twitter page, described the write-up as “sad.”

“How devilish for a man like Omokri to keep screaming Jesus and then author documents trying to link an innocent man with Boko Haram? This is sad,” Ogundamisi said.

As the online outrage against Omokri gathered momentum, one Edward Ayide accused him of using the tragic loss of children and other Nigerians to terrorist attacks to score cheap political points.

Ayide argued that the circumstances surrounding the e-mail was a dent on the Presidency, adding that the President should not hesitate to fire him immediately.

“This is a disgrace. Shame on this man! He apparently has no conscience or personal integrity. Rather than grieve, he’s hurling stink-bombs. The President will do well to disavow men like Omokri and his ilk by firing him for this fiasco,” Ayide tweeted.

On her part, Ivy Sarumi asked Omokri to desist from parading himself as a cleric, as his behaviour he allegedly exhibited online betrayed the qualities expected of a pastor.

“Let no one call him (Omokri) a pastor. Even, an herbalist won’t jump into an abyss of shame as deep as that. It is a shame. I’m sure the Presidency won’t do a thing about this. After all, he who pays the piper dictates the tune. In climes where leaders are sane, he would have been called in for questioning,” she wrote on Twitter.”

Corroborating Sarumi’s views, Raymond Eyo also tweeted, “This scandal just highlights Omokri’s insensitivity towards Boko Haram’s latest victims. It also shows his clumsiness at his job. As Nigeria mourns, a presidential aide is busy slandering critics for cheap political gain. Shame on you, Omokri.”

Online critic, Mwalimu Chukudebelu, slammed Omokri for allegedly using tax payers’ money for “fabricating tales,” even as he urged the President to disengage the services of Omokri and employ a more tech-savvy and responsible digital media aide.

“Dear Jonathan, your next special assistant on new media should know a bit about IT stuff like metadata and digital signatures. It is really sad. He cooked up a story linking Sanusi to Boko Haram, but wasn’t smart enough to know his signature is on Microsoft Word docs.

“Too many blunders from Jonathan’s media team over the past one and a half weeks; and along comes Reno. This is a disaster! At a time like this, the President’s media team should be re-assuring the nation, not fabricating tall tales to implicate Sanusi.”

Gbenga Sesan, an IT consultant, says if Omokri retains his job in spite of the scandal rocking his office, then it might be concluded that he was doing the bidding of his employers.

“If you will write an article to discredit anyone, make sure you are at least not too dumb to leave digital footprint all over the place. If Omokri still has his job by this time tomorrow, then he was doing the bidding of his employers,” Sesan tweeted.

Efforts made to reach Omokri on Thursday were unsuccessful. Several calls placed to his telephone were unanswered, while a text message sent to him was also not replied.

Besides, an electronic mail sent to his two e-mail addresses [email protected] and [email protected], seeking his response, was not responded to as at 9pm press time.

Source: Punch

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