As Nigerians count down to 2023 general elections, the media is awashed with so much activity- from comments, to reactions and counter allegations in support of a particular candidate, party, tribe, religion and even class.
Some see this as a normal usual atmosphere whenever elections draw closer. Others perceive the mood as artificially created to meet a particular goal which is solely to win elective position at the local, state and or national level.
In a telephone interview with Royal Times, the editor of Factual Times- Oyewale Oyelola, described “Data Boys” as a term used to refer to people that are paid to project and protect the interest of politicians in the media be it terrestrial or on the internet.
“The issue of Data Boys, is just actually a nomenclature given to people that help politicians manage their media. So I don’t really see anything bad in having people managing your image on the media the way media influencers manage the image of their principals on the social media. The only problem I have is some people turning the avenue to cyber bully.
Ensure that you stick to the rule of the game and you promote your candidate with facts and figures using the social media space” he added.
Editor of Fresh Insight Abdulrasheed Akogun popularly referred to as Shoboi, said that the term “Data Boys” is not altogether evil but has been greatly abused thereby calling for stiffer regulations to prevent further abuse of the media by the said individuals that are all out to protect the interest of their pay masters.
In his words: “some attack your personality, attack your believe system and what have you; and I believe it needs to be checked, else we would have succeeded in bullying those with alternatives to what is presently available. And if we succeed in sending everybody to the silent mood, then we would have done a large injustice to the system because we would have deprived the system of useful alternatives.
The government, societal stakeholders and everybody should come together with one voice and preach the fact that we must always learn to respect other people’s opinion, as it is the beauty of democracy” he added.
Still on the issue, a prolific social media influencer and public affairs analyst- Saadat Bibire, added that with the prevalence of the “Data Boys”, regulating the space is not the solution but the paymasters are the ones who can control and check on the excesses of these individuals.
“you cannot regulate it, it’s just basically about the instructions the clients give to whoever their followers are. Dr. Saraki will always tell you not to insult”
It could be recalled that recently, Special Assistant to former president Goodluck Jonathan Reno Omokri said no amount of attacks can bring down Chairman of The Nation Newspaper Editorial Board, Sam Omatseye- who wrote an article titled “Obi-tuary“. A piece written to douse the loud voice of the “Obidient” /”ObiDatti”- hashtags on all media platforms, used to refer to Labour Party’s Presidential Candidate and his running mate.
Nigerians have been advised that the 2023 elections would come and go with the decisions made before, during and after the elections lasting far beyond the election