Sunday, March 5, 2017

Buhari Media Pays N250k To 40 Propagandists To Comment On Blogs - Farooq Keprogi

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In the absence of anything to show for its existence, since fraud is its very foundation, the Buhari government has elevated sterile propaganda, mindless mind-management, and thoughtless, unintelligent mendacity to an art. For starters, as I pointed out in my Facebook status update, which went viral and shaped national discourse on the Buhari government, the president has 9 media aides. Yes, 9, not 6 as previously thought! They are Femi Adesina (Special Adviser, Media & Publicity); Garba Shehu (Senior Special Assistant, Media & Publicity); Tolu Ogunlesi (Special Assistant, Digital & New Media); Lauretta Onochie (Personal Assistant, Social Media); Bashir Ahmad (Personal Assistant, New media); Sha’aban Sharada (Personal Assistant, Broadcast Media); Naziru Muhammed (Personal Assistant, TV Documentary); Sunday Aghaeze (Personal Assistant, Photography); and Bayo Omoboriowo (Personal Assistant/ President’s Photographer). All of these aides also have a retinue of other aides. For instance, the president’s PA on Broadcast Media recently appointed a “Media Assistant 1 on Social Media.” The numeral “1” indicates that there are other personal aides to the president’s PA that we don’t know about yet. This absurdity used to exist only in the realm of implausible humor. But it gets worse: the president also has a clandestine hate and propaganda factory called the Buhari Media Center (BMC), which has nearly 40 paid propagandists whose mandate is to smear, demonize, and troll government critics with thousands of fake, foul social media handles. They also flood the comment sections of news websites with false handles and calculatedly duplicitous information, in addition to producing propagandistic social media memes (often with southern Nigerian-sounding names) that appear to come from everyday Buhari fans. The 40 odd propagandists-in-residence at the BMC are paid N250,000 per month. Modeled after the Atiku Media Center (a reason its head calls it the Buhari Media Center, although it goes by other names), it is located on Okonjo-Iweala Drive (close to CBN quarters) in Jabi, Abuja. When I first exposed this shadowy, sinister propaganda outfit that operates outside the orbit of the formal structures of government, its existence was denied. Now some character by the name of Muhammad Labbo who describes himself as “Chairman/ Co-ordinator [sic]” of the “Buhari Media Support Group” admitted to the existence of the propaganda center, but says it isn’t called the Buhari Media Center, and that it is funded by a private individual. But who is this private individual who is funding a viciously malicious presidential propaganda outfit? What is his interest? Is this a pay-to-play scam? Is it a payback for a favor from the Buhari government? Or is it a favor in anticipation of a reward? Why should a shadowy individual fund a pro-government, extralegal propaganda and mind-management unit? And what about the N100 million Lai Mohammed’s Ministry of Information has allocated for “interaction with bloggers” in the 2017 budget? Who are these bloggers government will be “interacting” with for N100 million in a time of recession? Most importantly, though, the minions that make up the Buhari Media Center propagandists aren’t even the brightest bulbs in the box. Most of them should sue their brains for non-support. First, they can’t string together a sentence in English that isn’t a riotous travesty of the language. Nor do they seem to have any basic familiarity with elementary logic. Their stock-in-trade is unrestrained verbal primitivism, vulgar abuse, smears, innuendoes, and outright libel. They, for instance, have been on full attack mode against my person since I exposed them. One Muhammad Labbo, who would do well to take elementary lessons in grammar and logic, said I too belonged to a BMC-like unit during Obasanjo’s administration. Lie. The unit I was recruited to be a part of, about which I wrote several times in my column, was called the Presidential Research and Communications Unit (later renamed Public Communications Unit) and projected Nigeria to the international community. The unit’s website was indicatively www.nigeriafirst.org, and it never got involved in domestic media interventions. Unlike the PRCU, BMC is Buhari first (and Nigeria last), as the name of the group suggests. It operates outside the structures of government and even claims to be funded by a sinister outsider to slander critics of the president. Only a mind held hostage by illogic and defective intellect will make a false equivalence between working for a unit of government that disseminated information about Nigeria to a global audience and a baleful, extralegal propaganda unit that defames and attacks an incompetent president’s critics using fake handles. The BMC is a full realization of this peculiar primitive propaganda that defines Nigeria’s public communication. It gets worse when the government it defends is founded and subsists on fraud and lies.

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