By Nwadiokpa Adigwe
A better title to this piece could have been, Ned Nwoko and the problem of cancel culture in Nigeria since it appears that anyone accused of anything in Nigeria is already guilty of the offence and should be called out on social media and the traditional media in some cases. Before now, it used to be that an accused is deemed innocent until proven guilty by a court of law but the reverse is now obtainable, as the accused is already judged in the court of public opinion and the court of law is expected to follow.
It is expedient to state here that I have never met Prince Ned Nwoko before nor do I owe a brief for the former lawmaker, however, the recent attacks concerning him in recent weeks was unfortunate. Before now, the only ‘sin’ of Prince Ned was that he married a young Nollywood actress. Every news and every social media attack was centred on his marriage and the speculations if he would marry another wife after the actress. When Tv reality star, Nengi Paid him a courtesy call, many raised eyebrows on social media if Nengi will be the next wife especially as the former lawmaker in a BBC interview had stated that he can marry more wives if he wants to.
However, it appears that the calling out of the former lawmaker has now gone beyond speculations if he wanted to add to his list of wives but other grave issues like land grabbing, police molestation and others.
Trouble started last week when one Pamela Uzor Ifejoku took to her Twitter account to call out the prominent lawyer to release her father, Okey Ifejoku, from detention.
According to Pamela, Oey Ifejoku is presently in the Asaba detention centre where he is been detained alongside 18 persons after he was accused of murder and terrorism in 2017.
She stated that Prince Ned Nwoko used proxies to do his dirty works and her father has been kept in police custody even after he has met bail conditions. Ned Nwoko has since reacted to this allegation as he made it clear that in the case of Ifejoku he is neither the complainant nor the accuser but Ifejoku is in jail because of the death of one Cyprian. However, this explanation did not suffice to many as many “social media warlocks” continue to berate the former lawmaker for using his wealth to trample on the people of his community.
However, this is far from the truth. Ned Nwoko is a philanthropist who has the interest of the people at heart. The proposed STARS University is located in the serene agrarian community of Idumuje–Ugboko when completed will assist the community as there will be a town and gown interface. It will provide employment, reduce insecurity as well as give admission to the young ones in the community through the Joint Admission Matriculation Board, JAMB among other benefits. Also, the proposed royal golf course located in the same town by Prince Ned will serve as a source of tourism and it will give this rather rustic village social wellbeing within their horizon. Despite all these, the former lawmaker is still accused of land grabbing and insensitive to the will of the people but that is not true. And, it is good that the politician is suing popular online newspaper, Premium Times for defamation after the paper falsely published that Prince Ned forcefully acquired land in his home town in Idumuje-Ugboko.
However, it is unfortunate that Prince Ned Nwoko who is supposed to be a hero is now an agent of corrosive attacks by some vile folks because of so many misconceptions about this philanthropist. There was even a time the philanthropist disclosed that there was a threat to his life. As I write this, a message on the Anioma platform on Facebook was posted by a Facebook user read thus: “I’m just being briefed that a serious crisis has resumed in Ugboko. As of now, the battle is on…
“The Youth President has asserted that since all security measures have failed us, they’re taking the bull by the horn.
“Unfortunately, he’s very bitter that his gallant youths are not getting the needed support from Idumuje-Ugboko sons and daughters. They need urgent financial support to re-enforce their Arsenal. I’m being told that the Ned faction (our collective enemies) was given the sum of 1 million by their paymaster to dislodge the traditional stool and crush any opposition along the way.
“NEC has given them a lifeline and members of our Exco are presently meeting with the Governor for an urgent solution to the menace. Biko nu, it is exigent that we do the needful to expedite any financial support we can individually to boost the morale of our youths? Odoziani Nu!!!
“Please see account details below: *Acct Name: Omesiete Raymond Alex*
*Acct No: 2036978432* *Bank: UBA* A message like this becomes disturbing as it appears that brothers are at war among themselves and instead of finding a solution to the quagmire, they intend to use violence. Very sad.
It is high time everyone put hands together in Idumuje-Ugboko to embrace peace. It appears Prince Ned means well for his people and it seems those who do not benefit from the numerous projects are hell-bent on destroying his image. Let everyone allow the court to tell us that the prominent lawyer has breached the law in any way and after then we can throw as many stones at him and call him out. Until then we wait.