A chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, Joe Igbokwe, has said the late Chief MKO Abiola would not have been killed had it been social media existed at the time.
Igbokwe said this while celebrating the power of social media in society today.
He also narrated how writing letters to newspapers in the early days fetched him favour and shaped him into who he is today.
He wrote, “Those of us who were born in the age of Social Media will not know what Writers like us went through in 80s, 90s and early 2000. I was known then as a compulsive letter writer . Almost all the Editors of Newspapers and Magazines knew me then especially Punch, Guardian, Daily Champion , National Concord, Vaguard , Daily Independent, Examiner, Newswatch, TELL magazines, TSM, The NEWS Magazine, Concord Magazine, Source Magazine etc.
“I always buy all the Three major magazines every week and sometimes up four Newspapers. I wrote letters to the Editors and they pay us for writing the star Letters. Bayo Onanuga was the first to start paying N50 for the star letter and soon TELL Magazine joined. I was winning almost every week. That time my office was in 7 Ibukun Street Western Avenue Surulere. I will write and cross to the other side of Western Avenue to type it and then proceed to the Post Office on Akerele Street Surulere to post it. You wait for two weeks to three weeks to see whether any of the Newspapers or Magazines will publish it. My head used to swell anytime I see my piece being published. I became popular and Nigerians began to take mental notice of my name in the media.
“Many Nigerians taught I was just a ghost writer and they never believed that I exist. When I announced the launching of my first Book: Igbos: 25 YEARS AFTER BIAFRA in 1995 many trooped to NIIA Victoria Island to know if really Joe Igbokwe exist. They came, they saw and they believed. Many eminent Nigerians came in droves to be part of the event. The Late Chief Bola Ige was the Chairman and the late Pini Jason, a renowned columnist with Vanguard NEWSPAPERS was the reviewer.
“One thing led to another and things were never the same again. The second book HEROES OF DEMOCRACY came in 1999. I and Mr Peter Oparah wrote 2007: THE IBB OPTION in 2004 . Last year IGBO: 50 YEARS AFTER BIAFRA hit the book shelves in Nigeria and across the world.
“Today the advent of SOCIAL MEDIA changed everything. It was like a magic and the world changed and turned 360 degrees. GSM came and drowned analogue phones . Soon the Internet seized the center stage. To us it was a magic, It was unbelievable and unthinkable. Today you sit anywhere in the world write anything you want to write and post it and instantly your friends and others will read across the world. You need no Editor or proof reader to read and edit it. Just press one button and here it goes around the globe. On Facebook you can support your story with more than 50 pictures and it will just go. The system can even help you to edit your post. It is unbelievable for people like us who knew how we started.
“If Social Media had been in existence in 1998 Chief MKO Abiola the winner of June 12 1993 Presidential Elections would not have been killed. When General Abacha died millions of Nigerians who voted for Chief MKO Abiola went into unbelievable celebration across Nigeria. Bars and Restaurants were filled to the brim. My friends were celebrating and drinking but I did not. I told a close friend of mine, Obinna Uche that these people are preparing the ground to kill Chief Abiola. I did not stop there . I ran to the Guardian Newpapers office in Ladipo Isolo to meet the Political Editor, Akpo Esajere to allay my fears. I told him what was troubling me. I have read similar stories like that in the South American politics. Akpo pulled his drawer and gave me two sheets of papers to put down my thoughts. I did and handed over the two pages. It was a clear message that Chief MKO may be sacrificed too to balance the equation. Few weeks after they sacrificed Chief Abiola. If Akpo Esajere had published that two page document Chief Abiola would not have died. If internet had been existing then the world would have heard me. The rest is now history.
“SO when you see me on Social Media everyday pushing stuffs please take mental notice where I am coming from. Oyibo people and one Igbo wizard Prof Philip Emegwali handed over a potent weapon to people like us who know the awesome values of how to express ourselves. We have come a long way . We have seen it all. It is sweet. It is Unputdownable. It is a wonder. Believe me. Some funny people who do not know how we got here think we are playing. No sir. We are exploiting to the fullest what Philip and others delivered to the world.”