INTERROGATING THE SOCIAL MEDIA – THE MISINFORMATION OF MINISTERS IN THE FIRST REPUBLIC – Prof. Ihechukwu Madubuike

Prof. Ihechukwu Madubuike

“In this trip of life, if you are not careful….
Rumors will make you hate innocent people and love the hypocrites” (Internet)

MAN is a social animal, the only one with various tools to communicate his feelings, passions, desires and needs to others. With the introduction of mobile devices and other communication tools ,many of us spend several hours and precious moments “getting in touch”, checking out on others and passing information. We scroll, link and peruse, but sometimes we are confronted with that which is questionable, untrue and  what might have gone viral. These can be harmful, untrue because they are fake and dangerous to the society or to the individual concerned.

It is therefore risky to believe everything you read in the social media. In Nigeria the social media has become the preferred platform for spreading false information because of its easy penetration to its destination and because of the gullibility of a captive audience. Fake news is dangerous because it starts out deliberately to disinform and to cause mischief. It goes viral easily through posting and reposting.

It is worse in a society with many fault lines, such as religious and ethnic cleavages . The intent is to reinforce a point of view or a mindset. To the Oxford University and the Reuters Institute, “social media personalities with large followings are often the culprits. They are considered “super spreaders”, who can very easily share inaccurate information with their impressionable followers…If you have an extremely active network, you might also frequently come across false information shared between your own friends and family.” Some platforms in Nigeria are deliberating propagating false and hate speeches and we are morally bound to challenge them. Take for instance, a write up that was disingenuously credited to me. It is titled “Know Your History”. It has been trending for weeks, or even months until some people drew my attention to it.

I am the only Professor Ihechukwu Madubuike I know. And I did not write anything with the above title anywhere. My younger brother is a Professor of Engineering, but he does not write on social matters. He is a reverend gentleman. I am also not a Professor of history.

“Know Your History” is therefore a fraud, a satanic diatribe concocted by internet rats with fake names like Lateef ,Emeka Ugwuonye and Ibrahim, of no fixed address. The sole aim  is to discredit me, Nnamdi Azikiwe and, to demarket the Igbos in general. The trigger may not be unconnected with the forth coming elections.

“Know Your History” began with what the fraudsters called ‘Forgotten History of the Igbo Tribe and Northern Alliance”, and  continued :” Do You know that when Tafawa Balewa was Prime Minister of Nigeria Chief of Army Staff was from SE; Chief of Naval Staff was from SE; IG of Police was from SE.; Chief of Defence Staff was from SE; Internal Affairs Minister SE; External Affairs Minister SE; Education Minister SE; Many other key ministries to SE; Parliament President SE; Unilag VC  SE; The University of Ibadan VC from SE; North resisted same at ABU”.

The above extract is not my language. I do not refer to the various ethnic groups in Nigeria as “tribes”. I am too sophisticated to use such a derogatory term for  highly cultured and civilized peoples in Africa. It is an act of culturecide so to do, and smacks of a colonial mentality .Secondly, I would have named the persons occupying these various offices listed in the document, for the sake of authenticity. Anybody who sees an Igbo name will recognize it. Thirdly, there was nothing like “SE” during Tafawa Balewa’s tenure in office, that is, between 1957-66, when he died as a result of the unfortunate coup d’etat. And , finally I am not used to self-immolation. I am proud of my ethnic group, and will not disparage it, as the satanic author or authors have done.

But for the sake of setting some records straight and for not misleading the general public, here are the three cabinets of Prime Minister, Tafawa Balewa , from 1957 to 1966, as a point of reference.

BALEWA’S FIRST CABINET ( 1957-59)

1. Abubakar Tafawa Balewa                                   Prime Minister

2. Raymond Amanze Njoku                               Minister of Transport

3. Aja Nwachukwu                                             Of Education

4. K.O. Mbadiwe                                                Of Commerce

5. Samuel Ladoke Akintola                                Of Communication

6. J.M. Johnson                                                   Of Internal Affairs

7. Kolawale  Balogun                                         Minister of Information

8. Ayo Rosiji                                                      Minister of Health

9. Festus Okotieh Eboh                                      Minister of Finance

10. Mohammadu Ribadu                                Minister of Lands, Mines and Power.

11. Zaina Bukar Dipcharima                                Minister of Works

This was a power sharing pre-independence arrangement in which mainly the majority ethnic groups were represented. The charismatic and sartorial Okotie Eboh, the Ishekiri born fashionista and business man extraordinaire was an exception. How this cabinet above translates to Igbo domination is difficult to decipher. Yet Tafawa Balewa , the then deputy leader of the Northern Peoples Congress, a man of  Gere origin and ethnic formation, from today’s Bauchi State, remained an uncommon defender of  the Hausa- Fulani  interests.

BALEWA’S SECOND CABINET (1959-1964)

1. Abubakar Tafawa Balewa                                      Prime Minister

2. Jaja Anucha Nwachukwu                                       Foreign Affairs  

3. Teslim Oluwole Elias                                             Attorney General

4. Muhammadu Ribadu                                              Lands & Lagos Affairs                                                                   

5. Chief Festus Okotie Eboh                                       Finance

6. Raymond A.Njoku                                                 Transport & Aviation

7. Zanna Bukar Dipcharima                                     Commerce & Industries

8. Inuwa Wada                                                           Works & Surveys

9. J.M. Johnson                                                          Labour and Welfare

10. Aja Nwachukwu                                                    Education

11. Maitama Sule                                                         Mines and Power

12. Shehu Shagari                                                        Economic Development

13. Olu Akinfonsile                                                     Communications

14. Usman Sarki                                                          Internal Affairs

15. T.O.S. Benson                                                       Information

16. Waziri Ibrahim                                                      Health

17. Yar’adua                                                                Nigerianization

THIRD CABINET: 1964-1966

1.Tafawa Balewa                                                 Prime Minister & External Affairs

1. Mohammadu Ribadu                                               Defence

2. Teslim O. Elias                                                        Attorney General

3. Festus Okotie Eboh                                                  Finance

4. Zana B. Dipcharima                                                Transport

5. Jaja Wachukwu                                                        Aviation

6. K.O.Mbadiwe                                                          Trade

7. Augustus Akinloye                                                  Industries

8. Inuwa Wada                                                             Works  

9. Adeniran Ogunsanya                                               Housing and Surveys

10. Adeleke Adedoyin                                                   Labour

11. Richard Akinjide                                                     Education

12. Maitama Sule                                                          Mines &Power

13. Waziri Ibrahim                                                        Economic Development.

14. Alade Lamoje                                                        Natural Resources/Research

15. Raymond Njoku                                                    Communications

16. Shehu Shagari                                                       Internal Affairs

17. Ayo Rosiji                                                             Information

18. Moses Majekodumi                                               Health

19. Jacob Obande                                                        Establishment

20. Dominic Mapao                                                    Minister of State, Mines/Power. 

These ministerial appointments by the Prime Minister, Tafawa Balewa, were indicative of where political power was located in the then Nigeria. The North with the support of Britain, not the Igbos, held that power. The position of the Prime Minister was theirs uninterruptedly from 1957 to January,1966, that is until the unfortunate coup ushered in military rule.

In Balewa’s cabinet of 1959-64 Jaja Wachukwu was the Foreign Affairs Minister. In  his 3rd Cabinet of 1964 -66 Tafawa Balewa retained the External Affairs portfolio, while Shehu Shagari manned the Internal Affairs Ministry. Nnamdi Azikiwe’s position, as President, was ceremonial.

Brigadier Babafemi Ogundipe was the first Chief of Staff and de facto second in command, Supreme Head Quarters, under General Ironsi. When Ironsi was killed in Ibadan, he was supposed to assume office as the Acting Head of State. But he escaped to Las Palmas, and later became High Commissioner in London. The Chief of Naval Staff was Commodore Joseph Edet Olawale Wey; the Inspector General of Police was Sir Louis Orok Edet. His deputy was Kam Salem. None of these gentlemen were Igbo. The Chief Justice of the Federation, remained Justice Adetokunbo Ademola. Colonel George .T. Korubo was the head of the Air Force. All these officers were senior to Lt Col. Yakubu Gowon, who was later promoted to become the Head of State. There was nothing like “Parliament President”, a nomenclature unknown to our Constitution, but which the ignorant author “Of Know Your History”, claimed was occupied by an Igbo.

Needless to inform the internet rats that Ahmadu Bello University was a regional university, like the University of Nigeria, and the University of Ife. Their regional owners appointed their Vice Chancellors. Besides ,the Constitution did not bar the Igbos from holding high profile positions in Federal Institutions. Eni Njoku was hounded out of the University of Lagos as the Vice Chancellor in 1965, way before 1966.

Sufficient facts have also emerged to prove that the 1966 coup d’etat included persons from different ethnic groups. A Yoruba major, Adewale Ademoyega, who took part in the coup  wrote a book on it, titled Why We Struck. Lt Fola Oyewole, author of The Reluctant Rebel was also involved. Atom Kpera claimed that he could not distinguish between operation Damissa and a real coup’detat in which he was involved. Soldiers from other parts of the country also participated in the coup. It is therefore a misnomer to call the military revolution of January, 1966, an Igbo coup d’etat.

We must separate propaganda from history, for the sake of  posterity. We must de-escalate fake news at all costs . I am not the author of the satanic “Know Your History”.

Former Minister of Education (1979-81)

PROFESSOR IHECUKWU MADUBUIKE

Former Minister of Health (1995-1997)

Author: The Igbo Challenge in Nigeria ,without rancour or recrimination. (2012)

Abuja, August 19, 2022

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s