The Ford Foundation has identified a legacy of the colonial administrative system inherited by African governments, and which no administration has had the political will to address, as responsible for setback in the continent.
Ford Foundation’s Regional Director for West Africa, Dr Chichi Aniagolu-Okoye explained that the colonial system was rigged against the people, adding that, everything was done to protect the coloniser and subjugate the citizens, stressing that no arm of government was created to serve the people.
In her paper, Social Media Regulation: Insecurity and Elections Accountability in Nigeria, delivered at the fourth annual anniversary lecture of Penpushing Media in Abeokuta, on Thursday, Aniagolu-Okoye noted that many may wonder why government often seems to be on the other side of the people, and why good governance has been elusive in most of Africa.
She recalled: “No arm of government was created to serve the people. They were all created to subject the people. The coloniser never questioned itself. It only questioned the people’s audacity to complain or demand for rights and services.
“It doesn’t matter if the administration is military or democratic, the inherited administrative system has remained the same. The government is, therefore, more inclined to suppressing the people than it is in strengthening its own systems and processes.
“The piecemeal reforms undertaken now and again by different administrations are only cosmetic. The whole colonial administrative system will have to change for government to become responsive to citizens and for trust to be built with citizens”.
Aniagolu-Okoye stated that, until that is done, social media regulation in whatever guise would continue to be resisted by the people and would be viewed with suspicion, stressing that government could only function effectively when it is trusted by the citizens.
“All of government’s efforts should, therefore, be geared towards building a new administrative system that engenders trust so that the results of this very crucial election and other acts of government will be accepted by majority of Nigerians” she counselled.
In her welcome address, the Chairperson Planning Committee of the anniversary, Dr Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi said that the gathering provided opportunity to contribute to the discourse, adding that the aim of the lecture was to use unconventional means to provide a roadmap for Nigeria, assuring that the outcome of the event would be passed on to policy makers at state and national level.
She noted that social media has become a very important tool of political activism and has recently served as diva of political debate, stating that existing data confirmed that there were 33 million social media users in Nigeria as at January 2021, with cellphone access figure of over 48 percent and internet access of 36 percent.
The Founder of Penpushing Media, Prince Dimeji Kayode-Adedeji said the lecture had become an annual event aimed to address number of issues as they affected the world and proffer solution to them. He said the platform was an idea robustly nurtured through the journalistic ideology of the need for credible sources of news, and painstakingly created and designed to add value to journalism worldwide
Kayode-Adedeji added that, in similar vein, Penpushing positively moved forward in the area of corporate social responsibility, using the platform to address and show concern on the plight of the less privileged and special people in the society, citing examples of two beneficiaries of its gestures with a pledge to continue to add values to life of the less privileged.
The panelists included Founder International Press Centre, Mr Lanre Arogundade; Speaker Ogun State House of Assembly, Rt Hon Kunle Oluomo; Founder WFM Radio, Mrs Toun Okewale-Sonaiya; Former Deputy Inspector General of Police, Almajid Alli; National Coordinator, West African Network for Peace Building, Bridget Osakwe; and Force Public Relations Officer, Nigeria Police, Muyiwa Adejobi.
Dignitaries at the ceremony included wife of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Chief (Mrs) Bola Obasanjo; former Ogun State Governor, Otunba Gbenga Daniel; Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, represented by Oba Adebisi Layode; Towulade of Akinale-Owu Kingdom, Oba Olufemi Ogunleye; Iyalode of Yorubaland, Chief (Mrs) Alaba Lawson; Seriki Owu-Abeokuta, Chief Niyi Adegbenro; President Guild of Online Corporate Publishers, Maureen Chigbo; and Engr Diran Kayode-Adedeji.