By Idowu Abdullahi
Nigerians on Social media on Friday compiled signatures to effect the removal of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan’s former aide, Reno Omokri, from the micro-blogging site, Twitter.
The tweeps alleged that Omokri is allegedly inciting ethnic and religious war ahead of the 2023 general elections through his tweets on the site.
While some accused him of allegedly inciting ethnoreligious war, others claimed that his “opposition” to the ticket and growing popularity of the Labour Party presidential candidate, Peter Obi, was getting the better of him.
When our correspondent checked on Friday night, at least 67,000 users have signed the petition seeking the ban of and withdrawal of his “Business Insider Influencer of the Year Award”. The petition targeting 75,000 signatures was launched on change.org on Thursday.
The petition read: “On or about the 8th of January 2021, former United States President, Donald Trump was banned from Twitter for writing tweets about the US election that posed a risk of inciting violence.
“On the 6th of July 2022, @renoomokri made the following tweet in response to a TV interview made by one of the presidential aspirants in the Nigerian election.
‘While his Obidients are applauding that interview, if you watch it with an unbiased mind, you see that Peter Obi considers himself a pilot and Kwankwaso a mere driver and substitute player. The people of Kano heard that. The North heard that. Others Nigerians heard!’
“To prove that this was specifically targeted at the northern part of Nigeria and to emphasize his point, he retweet a version again in the Hausa language as follows.
‘Kwankwaso bashine Dan takaran shugaban kasa da nake so ba amma shi ba “Direban mota” da yake so ya “tuka jirgin nijeriya” ne ba kaman yadda Peter Obi ya fada yau a Arise.Kwankwaso ya gina abubuwa da yawa har da gina mutane.Jahilci ne a kwatanta shi da Direba mota.
“Given the historical relationship between the northern and South-East tweets from @renoomokri have a massive risk of inciting ethnic violence in the northern part of Nigeria and subsequent reprisals in the east, especially since Kwankwaso has a huge following in the North and Peter Obi has a following in the east.
“Ethnic violence against the people of eastern Nigeria perpetuated in the northern part of Nigeria was one of the things that led to the Nigerian Civil war. Since then there have been multiple reports of ethnic violence in various parts of Nigeria. A lot of them are targeted at Ibos. In the east, some violence against northerners have occurred too.
“For @renoomokri to make such tweets to his 1.7million followers given the history of Nigeria is not only reckless and dangerous, but it is also extremely callous to try and stoke ethnic violence for political gain. @renoomokri is very knowledgeable about Nigeria’s history so he knows this only too well.
“@renoomokri should be stopped from continuing to use his Twitter influence to create the risk of ethnic or religious violence in Nigeria. Twitter already has a precedent for banning accounts that try to incite violence. They banned Trump!
But reacting to the move on Friday, Omokri said he only spoke the truth and would stand by his position.
In a series of tweets on Twitter, he wrote, “What exactly did I say? I said Peter Obi was wrong to describe himself as a pilot and other Presidential candidates as “mere drivers” and “substitute players”. That is why they threaten my life. If I was in Nigeria, they would have sent unknown gunmen after me!
“These Obi hordes do not want to replace Buhari’s rule with good governance. They want to replace it with their own tyranny. They want a Nigeria governed by their personality cult, where if you are not with Peter, you are an enemy of Nigeria, to be cancelled out!
“Watch what they are doing to me. That is exactly what they will do to anyone critical of Peter Obi if he becomes President. There will be no free speech. Only mob justice. They threatened my one-year-old daughter. Why? Because I criticised their god and messiah!”