The Senator Representing Nasarawa South Senatorial District and Chairman ,Senate Committee on information ,Culture and National Orientation ,Sen. Suleiman Asonya Adokwe has said APC peddle more fake news than anyone else in the country .
Sen. Adokwe Stated this at the NUJ, Plateau State Council as he said I am PDP and my family breeding the same since 1998 .
According to him,” If we’re to prosecute them, Lai Muhammad should go to prison immediately but we take it as political statement and vote catching statement they are both party statement and we take it like that”.
He explained further that, I said it has to do with the fact that because there is a lot of social media, there is a lot of news flying around and we know the BBC had to make some comments about news been fly is not limited only to Nigeria is universal. What remain for us to do is to be able to acquire the ability to distinguish what is fake and what is good.
Speaking about fake news ,the senator added that this are characteristics by photo shopping, news that are disjointed if you are smart enough you will able to know there is no link between the paragraphs of the news. So it has becoming all over the world, it is not just Nigeria. It is not something you can legislate out of existence other than to deal with it as the laws existing has provided.
If you do something that is inimical to someone well-being he has the right to seek for redressed in the court of law. I think when some people are prosecuted for peddling fake news it will now dawn on people that this thing cannot go unpunished.
Again, before the government criminalizes ordinary political comments and reduce them to fake news, because you have to be very, very careful that we should not play into the hands of repressive regimes.
Sen. Suleiman Adokwe stressed that they can’t start labeling news every news as fake and then criminalized it and put you in prison. We should be able to distinguish between mere political comments, comments that are aimed at getting vote than if somebody is want to pitch you at election, he should not reduce it to criminal activity so that he can have the opportunity to jail them.
These are also area of worry that we are concerned.
But certainly, every fake news that is aimed at creating disaffection in the society, that would lead to people killing people, rising the sentiment of one community against the other that should be dealt with instantly. But if you say Dr. Adokwe is so,so and so simply because you want to beat him at the poll I don’t take that as anything. I also find something to say about you. Is a normal cause of event for looking for votes.
What people are saying was you normally come up to satisfy your personal interest because already the current status quo the law has taken care of that and if such thing come up, why can’t you utilize the existing status quo?
Yes there is existing laws that deals with the aspect of label and defamation of character, and those laws are available to anybody who feels aggrieved to do so. At the same time we are aware that there is a specific class of fake news that is creating disaffection among communities. Things that are not true or if you say so, so, community is about to attack so, so, community you’re all monger and that is quite dangerous, it can create anarchy in the society that can be dealt specifically and immediately without any reservations.
But what I am also saying is that you must not confuse that with someone looking for votes and attacking your person as politician, of course if volunteer into boxing arena you cannot complain of assault. If you put yourself into an elections people would say things, they say you don’t have a correct certificate you have to bring it out. Your just laying this is my certificate! There is no mouth people cannot throw at you if you come to seek for election including your human person, your physic, fitness, it is subject of discussion ones you just can’t declare to be president there is nothing hidden about your health, you trying to hide it but people would bring it out.
There are president that rule in the United States seating in the wheel chair at that time if the public want they would have voted them out. So for one there is one charged that is doing the ruling.
On defection at the National Assembly?
The first thing we should consider all is if the Constitution did not contemplate that people should defect and that have provided that you can only defect under this condition. That means that it is something that Constitution even contemplated that people in the normal way of politicking are likely to disenchanted, they can be disagree and find way of other platforms.so the Constitution is provided for that. But there are parameters under which you can do that if they do not exist.
Again, because that right is very, very desirable very the same Constitution made it only the purview of the presiding officers in the National Assembly to declare such seats vacant. It is only the Senate President and the speaker of House of Representatives can declare any seat vacant. I t means that, that right to defect is well protected so I do not see reason why people disturb themselves over this issue. This thing happened every four years and it is always an outcome of local politics.
Sir what people are saying is that they are doing that for their own personal interest not for the interest of the electorates who voted them into power?
Any interest is vested! You that is standing for election you know what your people want. If your defecting because of your own personal interest you are going to face the electorates. And so the person who is defecting is not stupid. He knows that at the end of the day he will go and face the voters and he knows that if the voters don’t like the party he wound do it.
Nobody does that for the sake of the Christmas party. It is the reflection of what is going on their various constituencies. Don’t forget inspired of that the Constitution said you must stand for election in a political party. But most of the voters vote for who is standing for election at the end of the day.
Sir do you think the development is healthy to our democracy with massive detection all over?
This is neither here or there. I always say we’re not discussed this issue in a vacuum. It is the reflection of our third world politics. Our politics is not matured to the extent that people are ideologically committed. People just seek for political offices and it doesn’t matter what political platform.
Where there is ideological commitment, you will find out that not only an individual but generations of his family belong to only that political party. There is established family in America who would never cross from Democrat to Republican, same in United Kingdom there are families who can never leave the Conservatives party to Labour party. Ours are just building, in fact, the political parties that I knew would have bring Nigeria that tradition was NRC and SDP but their life span were Short live.
Now we would continue to do this. Things would stabilize in future because most of the political parties without saying that because I am PDP I can tell you now that PDP as a party have developed a’ hard core members’. APC is evolving because if you remove Buhari APC is gone. May be you give them 20,30years they may develop into becoming’ hard core party’. But we PDP I have been in PDP since 1998 including my children, I don’t see them leaving PDP not because of me but the party has now developed to a ‘hard core party’ and it would continue to like that. For now we don’t know for APC yet because if you remove Buhari, somebody I respect very well, a Lawyer say if Buhari loses in 2019 this country will crumble. That just gave you the idea how it is not a serious party. If you are building your success on just one man then there is a problem with them (APC).
So it is an evolving process with time we are going to mature much more than political system.
Sir your state has been involved in crisis most especially your constituency in Nasarawa state; we learned that people are now returning to their homes. Since that crisis started what efforts have you made?
Well if you’re following events in this country I raised a motion to draw the attention of entire world to what was going on there. I thank God Almighty that, that motion stood out virtually every other item in the paper for two hours. It was thoroughly debated. The matter was air by all television houses including the international media house like BBC, Al-Jazeera and the rest of them.
And for the first time the country attention was drawn to what was going on because Killings was going on, there was massive cover up but that exposed what was going on. And I thank God the government response favorably and sent in military personnel and to God be the glory people are returning to their shanties. So I feel high sense of fulfilment.