LOUD WHISPERS: Fake News

In June 2012, I was having a telephone conversation with my husband  JKF about fake stories in circulation about his administration. He had recently returned from an overseas trip, and while he was away, the news was all over the place that he had fallen ill and had been rushed out of the country. It would have been easy to debunk the story of it had not been for the unwise remarks of one of his cabinet members who said, ‘We found it strange that he travelled the same day we had an Executive Council meeting. He did not appear to be in a hurry. When people are travelling they usually leave very early. Oga took his time to preside over the meeting. When we heard he had travelled out that night, we thought there was an emergency’. So, because the Governor did not disrupt his schedule, it meant he had suddenly taken ill and ‘had to be rushed abroad’. The conversation we were having was about another strange story that had started making the rounds. It was about a University that JKF and I allegedly owned in Ghana. At first the story sounded so preposterous we laughed it off and said only mad people would believe such a story. How wrong we were. Not only did very sane people believe the story, there are some people who still repeat the story till today.  Never mind the University has no known Vice-Chancellor, Faculty or Students. Not a single building of the University has been seen. Yet some people believe a University exists.
The stories keep getting sillier and sillier. Unfortunately, we live in times when people barely question the source or veracity of the information they receive.  The loyal friends who take it upon themselves to do battle on our behalf online are always told, ‘but that is what people are saying’. I am sure you have heard the one about the N50 million bed we bought for the new government house building that JKF completed before he left office in 2014. When I saw the news reports I almost fainted. My people who tried to console me very helpfully said, ‘No one will believe such nonsense’. Wrong again. Some gullible people still believed. N50 million bed?
Back in the day, we were taught that the best answer for a fool is silence. These days, with everyone being their own creator and consumer of news, both real and imagined, that wisdom is not as helpful as it should be. In these days of instant real/fake news, silence means consent, and even your supporters will demand for a sign that they can go to war on your behalf. I find the whole business very tiresome, pretty much like the saying about having to throw a stone at every barking dog.
At this point, let me introduce the fact that I have a cyber stalker.  Yes, I have one. There is a particular fellow who seems to be obsessed with me. I have never met him, but he has been on my case for the past six years. Almost every single negative story about me (and he has churned out a lot) can be traced to this obnoxious character who will remain unnamed for now till our legal and security teams figure out what to do. Apparently, the guy believes that he can attack my husband through me. He hates my guts and everything I stand for. He resents the large following I have, so he spends a lot of time planting all kinds of lies. Two weeks ago, when there was the shooting at our Party secretariat in Ekiti, a story made the rounds claiming that I accused one of our Party leaders of attempting to kill my husband. Yesterday I was minding my own business when another story made social media. This time I was demanding that President Buhari should use federal might to help my husband win the Ekiti elections on July 14th! The last time I looked in the mirror, I seemed firm of mind and body. Now there are these stories being planted which are enough to bring my sanity into question.  I am outspoken and opinionated, perhaps this is what makes my cyber stalker believe that if he plants a story about something I said or did, people will believe it. If I have anything to say I will say it without having to insult anyone or tell lies about them. This is what is known as ‘silly season’ in politics, so fake news is to be expected. However, for those of us who have family and friends far removed from political adventures, these stories can be very distressing.
Fake news is not harmless. It damages reputations, it is unfair and unjust. The purveyors of fake news are spineless cowards who know they can not make a case on its own merits so they fabricate stories to deflect, titillate and distract. Shame on them all. My cyberstalker will get his comeuppance one day. Till then, please don’t believe everything you read.
Happy Father’s Day to all the fathers out there. May you reap the fruits of your many labours. May God bless the work of your hands. Have a great week.

Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi is a Gender Specialist, Social Entrepreneur and Writer. She is the Founder of Abovewhispers.com, an online community for women. She can be reached at BAF@abovewhispers.com

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13 Responses to LOUD WHISPERS: Fake News

  1. DSEED June 20, 2018 at 9:58 pm

    This is getting more unacceptable. Politics suppose to be a game played with a rightful mind. Then if you win the game get things done as expected. Why all these??? Cooking lies, attempting murder, destroying another person reputation all because of what? Obviously all these happens in politics because of wrong motives. God help us all. Happy father’s day to all proudly fathers out there and not to does that are not responsible o.

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  2. Femi Diipo June 20, 2018 at 11:21 pm

    I have actually heard about this university you allegedly own in Ghana before from several sources, at some point I can’t say I haven’t considered it as a statement of fact. Some people will go to any length in their effort to tarnish your integrity and good works, the legacy you’ve taken years to build. Measures must be taking to stop these people because no matter how much you refute their statement, many good people may not get to hear the truth after the lies have been told

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  3. Dom Dom June 21, 2018 at 12:33 am

    The way fake news travel on the internet these days is quite alarming. People sit down in their houses and invent stories as they like and even adding quotes as misguided people believe these stories and begin to slam the reputation and integrity of good people. Please continue you good work ma’am for truth will surely prevail

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  4. Olakunle Olajide June 21, 2018 at 10:01 am

    In this century, every news either fake or real gets to its audience. That is how pathetic it is. There are a lot of savages that re broadcast a message even without getting its source. Different folks with different motives. Some to tarnish to images and some to build traffic and much more. I still feel silence is the best answer or better still just state your stance like you just did and not go into a foray of written war. Trust me that is what most of them want, to drag a story for so long. Be rest assured ma’am and keep doing your good work.

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  5. Laura Dameson June 22, 2018 at 7:23 am

    This cyber stalker should be dealt with! m It is a pity that even our news papers cannot be trusted anymore. They carry fake news too. They don’t care about the basis of the story as long as it goes viral. What a pity! Please, be calm ma. Don’t the idiotic element that calls himself a human being.

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  6. Victoria E June 22, 2018 at 7:28 am

    I wonder how comfortable people are with saying false things about other people. You know its a lie, but you are spreading it comfortably, what a sad tale. I don’t get it and our people, ohhh! They enjoy news like that. They confidently absorb it and stand it as fact. In politics, there is no such thing as silence ooo. No way! I am happy you are writing this, please, there is nothing like silence in politics, you react to what you cannot bear or else, you give the people rights to wallow in their false information. Please, don’t be quiet about debunking what is false. It is better for you say it and for that person to be dealt with.

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  7. Bisi Alawode June 22, 2018 at 7:32 am

    Ah! I heard about the 50 million naira bed issue o. In fact, I believed it back then it was when I started following Above Whispers that I thought it might not be a true story. Thanks for speaking about this. I know there are people out to deal with good people, people who are straightforward and who represent substantial values will always face oppositions but don’t be weary. Let the arms of the law deal with that fake person carrying fake news.

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  8. Bamidele Joshua June 22, 2018 at 7:40 am

    I think I know these stories. Ekiti people have enjoyed saying these stories for years now. I remembered when I met a woman from the state and told her about JKF’s ambition, she said he wants to use our money to fund his university abi and that was the first time I would hear such a statement. I pressed her further and she gave the exact story you shared. I wondered a lot and felt could this be true? How come? I didn’t believe it but I realised that the people did. A lot of them believed it and enjoyed saying it. Fake news tranishes people’s image and that’s what those people want to achieve. If you log on to a site online, you will discover that they just write fake stories about people. In fact, I have commented there and I asked them to pull some stories down. The owner of that site should be arrested, he should be dealt to serve as an example to those who are perpetrating such. Please, be calm Erelu, speak up when necessary and be at peace.

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  9. Shina Dideolu June 23, 2018 at 6:41 am

    If we don’t combat this, it will continue for life. We need to teach people that credibility is key. You cannot tarnish the image of others and go scot free. This person, this cyberstalker must be grabbed and made to face the music.

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  10. Solomon Nkechi June 23, 2018 at 6:44 am

    Once you are in the public space, you will definitely have some insane people seeking one’s downfall. It is sad but that is what it is. I believe Erelu should hand over this person to the right quarters and let the person be punished. It will be so sad if this person is a female.

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  11. Aderanti Esther June 24, 2018 at 11:22 am

    Our Ekiti people? Hmmmph! They can cherish fake news? I wonder where the fountain of knowledge mantra came from. We love lies and it has moved us to where we are right now. Some people even confidently tell you it’s right when you try to stop them and tell them the truth. Mama, they will still continue to say rubbish as gutter people that they are. Just keep moving on mama.

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  12. Chioma George June 24, 2018 at 11:24 am

    My submission : Arrest this culprit and let him dance to the music he started! No mercy!

    Reply
  13. Eric Onuoha June 29, 2018 at 2:37 pm

    I heard about the N50 million bed and l knew it was false. I wonder why people spread fake news. Surely they will reap it

    Reply

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