Ajimobi Videos: There Are Three Sides to Every Story

Ajimobi Videos: There Are Three Sides to Every Story

By Azuka Onwuka

Governor of Oyo State, Abiola Ajimobi
Governor of Oyo State, Abiola Ajimobi

Over the weekend, the video of Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State, addressing protesting students of Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomoso, appeared on online and became the talking point. He was seen daring the students to do their worst if they would not respect his office as the constituted authority of the state. While he was speaking, one of the students made a comment the governor did not like and he ordered the security men to bring the student to him. The students formed a barricade round the student and prevented the policemen from taking the student away. Another made a comment he did not like and the governor asked him if he was indeed a student and asked him what course he was studying. The governor continued to lament that the students were unruly and disrespectful and insisted that even though their school had been shut down for eight months due to lack of funds, they still needed to acknowledge that he was the “constituted authority” of the state that must be respected. He dared them to do their worst if they would not show him respect.

That video showed the governor in a bad light. He cut the image of a man who was so filled with himself and his significance that he lacked empathy and reason before students who had lost one academic year.

Shortly after, the Oyo State Government released its own version of the video of Ajimobi’s encounter with the students. In that version, the governor was seen begging the students repeatedly to be calm and listen to him. He reminded them several times that he was in a state executive meeting when he was told that the students were at the gate to see him, and he came out personally (rather than send a subordinate) to address them because of the concern he had for their welfare. He continued to lament that the students were unruly and disrespectful for not letting him speak.

That video portrayed the governor as compassionate and people-oriented. It showed the students as the unreasonable party.

But how can the same video from the same event give two opposing images of the same people? The answer is simple: Both videos were doctored to achieve a desired goal. The first video was edited, with all the parts where the governor made haughty and unsympathetic statements merged to produce a negative effect. The intention of those behind the first video was to create a negative press for the governor. The second video from the Oyo State Government was edited, with all the parts where the governor said nice things merged to project a positive image of the governor. Both videos were, therefore, fraudulent. They were not made to convey the truth or show the full picture of what really transpired. They were meant to sway the public perception of Ajimobi by presenting half-truths. Anybody who saw just one of the videos would reach a desired conclusion, unless the person was someone not easily swayed by materials made for propaganda. And that is why it is dangerous these days to believe every picture, video or story posted online or shared by people. There is so much falsehood and doctoring going on. Many people want to sway people’s views on politics, ethnicity, religion, sex, race, and other issues.

Over the weekend, a video featuring Bishop David Oyedepo of the Living Faith Church Worldwide, also known as Winners’ Chapel, was also used in a similar fashion. Some years ago, he held a church service in which he spoke against the Islamic fundamentalist group, the Boko Haram. He placed a curse on the Boko Haram and “all the Northern forces sponsoring the uprisings and killings” and asked that they be destroyed. He said: “Lord, if it is your will to break up Nigeria, break it now.”  He warned: “If Nigeria waits for the Christians to rise up (in anger), there will be no more nation (of Nigeria).” He lamented that a Boko Haram kingpin (Kabiru Sokoto) was arrested and he escaped from detention; he therefore called on the fire of God upon every person in government that was aiding and abetting the killing of Nigeria by the Boko Haram. He said that he got a report that Boko Haram planned to attack his church and ordered that if any of them came to the church they should be killed. He asked why people thought that Christians should not defend themselves against aggression.  He said God had anointed him to lead a revolution against Islamic Jihadists. He asked if it compulsory that the North would always rule Nigeria. He lampooned the past censuses done in Nigeria as fraudulent.

I watched this particular video about two years ago. It should be recalled that Kabiru Umar (aka Kabiru Sokoto), the man suspected to have masterminded the Christmas Day 2011 bombing of St Theresa’s Catholic Church, Madalla, Niger State, was allegedly arrested in the Borno State Governor’s Lodge in Abuja but mysteriously escaped from detention on January 14, 2012 under the watch of Mr Zakari Biu, who was then the commissioner of police in charge of Special Investigations at Zone 7 Headquarters. His escape caused an uproar in Nigeria, hardening the belief that top people in the land were either sponsoring or sympathetic to the murderous cause of the Boko Haram sect.

Interestingly, the video of Oyedepo’s preaching was published as a new video over the weekend by online platforms and packaged as Oyedepo condemning the recent Fulani herdsmen killings in Southern Kaduna and asking for the breakup of Nigeria. Some decided to do a transcript of Oyedepo’s words, adding their words to suit their intentions, before releasing such messages to the public. The gullible who do not bother to cross-check any information they receive continued to share these messages on the social media.

The social media has empowered individuals to be reporters. They no longer have to wait for the mainstream media to publish any story for them. Everybody can pick up any story anywhere and publish it. Similarly, it has given mischief makers power to sell their agenda and cause trouble for others. In a bid to be the first to break a story or share it among one’s friends,  many people share rumours and distorted stories. There are also those who want to draw traffic to their blogs and websites and do not care whatever they do to achieve that constant traffic. Concocting stories and blackmailing people are some of those ways to achieve that.

Because some are aware that many people online do not have the patience and restraint to verify stories, they do not care to post false stories or half truths. They know that even if their story is punctured later, not everybody who heard the false story will hear the true story. There are also those whose mindset is programmed in such a way to want to hear only bad stories about a certain group or some individuals. So, whatever story that paints such a group or individuals in a bad light excites them even when such does not sound logical or believable.

Sadly, even those in government engage in this. They know what their supporters want to hear and continue to dish out such stories. Such stories are sent out to the media as received from “sources who spoke on the condition of anonymity.”

The Ajimobi videos buttress the age-long maxim that there are three sides to every story: your side, my side, and the truth. The first two sides tell the stories from their perspectives. They just want to win the argument. They want to be seen as good and truthful. But the third side is where the truth lies. It does not want to win any argument or case. It just presents the issues the way they occurred. Each reader or watcher is left to make up his or her mind.

Every savvy person who gets his or her news online must be careful not to rush into judgment over stories released online without trying the see the three sides, to avoid falling prey to mischief makers.

One Comment

  1. Ayodele Adeyemi January 18, 2017 Reply

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