Nigeriaworld and the Silence of the Lambs

Speaking Truth to Power: ‘Nigeriaworld and the Silence of the Lambs'

-Olu Ojedokun, Ph.D- 

According to the background of the film which I gathered from Wikepedia, ‘The Silence of the Lambs' is a 1991 Academy Award-winning psychological thriller/horror film directed by Jonathan Demme and starring Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins. It is based on the novel by Thomas Harris, his second to feature Dr. Hannibal Lecter, brilliant psychiatrist and cannibalistic serial killer.  In the film, Clarice Starling, a young FBI trainee, seeks the advice of the imprisoned Lecter on catching serial killer Buffalo Bill. The film won the top five Academy Awards: Best Film, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Actor and Best Actress. It is the only horror movie to win the Academy Award for Best Picture. 

I know this could be interpreted as bordering on strangeness or even the bizarre to theme any article under a heading seemingly so innocent by itself but which actually refers to a horror film of the extremely macabre variety.  I can assure you that I have not lost my marbles but am attempting to make a discreet yet valid point to the many discerning observers that exist out there in the world.  

With the advent of the internet the press is no longer limited or bound to the pages of newsprints and electronic media of the radio and television variety.  The internet has given rise to many numerous spaces by which publishers or even anyone can create spaces to speak and articulate various positions.  Our silences are now constantly broken by the many mediums by which views of various complexions are aired.  With the creation of these spaces comes many benefits to savvy owners, such are the enormous revenues they generate from adverts that many have predicted the demise of the print media in the distant future. 

These sites also offer to many of us in the ‘Diaspora' the opportunity to utilise the limited writing we possess to communicate our views, speaking truth to power from across oceans from the comfort of our cafes and boulevards.  By and large it has made very vivid the statement that all politics is local.  For we now have the ability to lob grenades and bombs from any party of the world to Nigeria and other places without being mindful of the collateral damage it might cause. 

Many sites' publishers have now become moguls and at their discretion they decide what to publish and those to delete and discard to waste bins.   You may query this right but reasonable people might suggest if you suffer such a rejection and refusal to be heard, then take it on the chin like an adult and find other alternatives or go further and set up your own site or blog.  This brings me to my own curious personal story and the inexplicable response of Nigeriaworld to my numerous emails, attempting to speak truth to power. 

Nigeriaworld has been of useful benefit to many others and myself, I have in a space of less than a year had over 22 articles published under the heading: ‘Speaking Truth to Power'.  This has afforded me an opportunity to reach thousands of people and also some space to see whether my pretensions to some ability, which consists of stringing along a couple of sentences, bringing coherence to an argument has any validity.  

However, over the past few weeks, the august site has been unable to publish any of my articles, entreaties for a simple explanation as to the reason, have met a stone wall of silence.  Even the mellowing of my criticisms of Nigerian government officials and my attempts at using alternative emails to subvert the snub has led me to no where.   The three articles that went unpublished are:

  • ‘My Dream of the ‘African Majority' Churches' Potential as Agents of Reconciliation and Transformation in Britain';
  • ‘Confirmed! The Nigerian Government Is Mesmerised by the Complexities of Power!'; and
  • ‘The Narrative has not Changed, Mesmerisation and Complexities Remain.'

 This has left me a bit perplexed and my perplexity led me to ask a fellow colleague and writer for advice, and his response was (Panafism was my political name): 

"Panafism, I thought it strange that your articles did not appear on Nigeriaworld, when they appeared on the 'ChatAfrik' website. I honestly thought you had decided not to publish them on Nigeriaworld.  I can't think of a reason why they would censor your work given the consistent quality and topicality of your articles.    
I'd send them through again and see what happens. I know they seemed to be having some difficulty in publishing the right articles under the right headings  so maybe that explains the position." 
 

In response I remained true and took his advice but still I was faced with a wall of silence, no explanation, absolutely nothing to explain why I now appear to have been excluded from the ‘hallowed' space of Nigeriaworld. 

My perplexity now bothering on bewilderment led me to send another email to my colleague stating:

"…..Nigeriaworld, it seems have censored my last two articles.  I sent them twice including an email querying why I had been censored." 

My colleague the reasonable man counseled further patience stating:

"Panafism, I'd keep on trying if I were you, try and find out what their reason(s) are. It may just be a misunderstanding for all you know. Victoria Acerta." 

I write today in the midst of the misunderstanding and a few scenarios pass through my mind.  Is it possible that in speaking truth to the powers that be in Nigeria I have provoked them to exert some influence and silence any opposing views from being expressed in Nigeriaworld?  Is the incompetence in my writing so obvious that it merits editorial discarding, or is it simply a question of teething administrative issues that Nigeriaworld simply needs resolve.  It should I suggest not be beyond the realms of obligations  to expect the esteemed publisher of the Nigeriaworld to offer the reasons why I have now been exclude from speaking truth to power on his site. 

I end by stating, that Nigeriaworld can be courageous and publish the unpalatables, the marginalised, and the odd balls even when it goes against the grains of their beliefs or they can participate in creating decades of silence, leaving it to the next generation to engage with speaking truth to power. Nigeriaworld, you may wish to demonstrate that by publishing this piece, but should I hold my breath and remain silent?  

I draw from the words of Zalaquett's introduction to€ the English edition of the Chilean Commission's Report where he summed it up:1

"Although the truth cannot really in itself dispense justice, it does put an end to many a continued injustice - it does not bring the dead back to life but it brings them out from silence; for the families of the "disappeared" the truth about their fate would mean at last the end to an agonising, endless search."  

The writer is a Barrister and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Nigeria and currently works as a Field Director for Friends International.



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Re: Nigeriaworld and the Silence of the Lambs
Ochi Dabari posted on 03-15-2008, 23:02:27 PM
Hello Olu,

You are probably the second person to have brought a complaint to NVS over the treatment you received at Nigeriaworld. To the best of my knowledge, I was the first. We may have operated under different levels at Nigeriaworld; you being a regular columinst, I was just a forumite. In my time there, many forumites were shut out of Nigeriaworld; they simply vanished, and it was usually after they made a complaint. In my own case, I was shut out when I supported somebody's concern that there were too many pop-ups from Nigeriaworld, some of them of suspicious (virus) nature. My computer has had a lot of peace since I stopped visiting Nigeriaworld. I have written about my feelings before, and they had nothing to do with ego, so I am not going to comment on the behaviour of Nigeriaworld again. It is left for everyone to choose what forum(s) s/he chooses to belong. I know of many Nigerians who have given up on Nigeria and don't care a hoot what happens there, so they will not visit any of the Internet forums on Nigeria. Some of us do, even if anonymously. I salute those who do it on their real names, and feel that they should not be treated badly by site administrators. But I may be ignorant about how some of the sites support their work, so again, choose where you want to be, and let them be.

ochi
Re: Nigeriaworld and the Silence of the Lambs
Chudi97 posted on 03-15-2008, 23:23:49 PM
I thought I was alone! I have written a total of 25 articles in Nigeriaworld since Dec. 2002. However, to my chagrin, starting from November, 2007, all articles I sent to the Nigeriaworld didn't make it. I have written them 3 times to find out why I am being censored and have never got any reply.

I did not want to complain to anyone but was surprised to see that I was not alone.

I enclose my last letter to them:

Subject: My Articles‏
From: Chukwudi Nwokoye (nwokoyeac@hotmail.com)
Sent: Fri 2/22/08 8:05 AM
To: Nigeriaworld Nigeria (letters@nigeriaworld.com)

Sir,

I noticed that in recent times, my articles has not been published by your news organization. This is the 3rd time that this is happening. Few days ago, I sent another article titled: "Why I Voted For Senator Hillary Clinton". I want to know why this is so, and if I violated any code of your establishment.

Thanks.

Chukwudi Nwokoye, Esq.

==========================================================
Hope that this is not censorship. I really hope so........
Re: Nigeriaworld and the Silence of the Lambs
Fjord posted on 03-16-2008, 01:14:10 AM
Quite a subdued article about that wasteland. Early on, quite early on, years go, it became apparent that the site had at least a number of power-drunk, tyrannical fellows who would go to unspeakable lenghts to silence dissent. Objections to certain articles could be excused for their strong views, certain writers may be considered radioactive, but the obsession of control at that other place extends to the monitoring, summary deletions, and untracked editing of posts. Punishments for having a view opposing those of the sometimes invisible powers there include immediate suspension, loss of posting rights, and account deletions. It was lucky a pass to have been "simply" snubbed.

Ochi wrote: "You are probably the second person to have brought a complaint to NVS over the treatment you received at Nigeriaworld. To the best of my knowledge, I was the first.". "Probably" being the operative word. At NVS, there are quite a handful of refugees from that other place; some of whom contributed to your early post about this treatment. It's been a trickling exodus; it's what is the death of discussion boards. It is the reason NVS must guard against the bone-headedness that overtook that other place.
.
PAPIG posted on 03-16-2008, 08:34:16 AM
We should not be surprised at the developments in Nigeriaworld. It is only the sign of the times. Look back home, you would notice worrying signs in otherwise reputable papers like the guardian, Vanguard and Thisday- opinions are increasingly watered down and outrightly being muffled to put it lightly. Your Nigeriaworld experience is a reflection of the increasing influence of this medium and is beginning to gall the ruling class in Nigeria. I would not personally use Nigeriaworld to convey an opinion on the Nigerian polity, hence the reliance on NVS.

We must however be very tactical in our approach even though i am convinced the NVS would not go as far as censoring so called 'dissenting articles'. I mean we must have a plan B, C and D in case i am proved wrong. The reach, intellectual content and can do attitude of the NVS as exemplified by the recent campaign on the young Nigerian lad killed by the Spanish authorities in their bid to deport him and fund raising for baby Andrew, are qualities that have attracted me to the NVS. You can be sure these same qualities would attract the attention of the discredited ruling class in Nigeria.

The long and short is, there are alternatives to Nigeriaworld and water would always find its level. Welcome.
Re: Nigeriaworld and the Silence of the Lambs
Employlawone posted on 03-16-2008, 09:45:59 AM
Thank you sir,

I feel at home already and reassured that we can and will continue to speak truth to power, wherever we find a space.

Olu
Re: Nigeriaworld and the Silence of the Lambs
Dem posted on 03-16-2008, 12:24:18 PM
Olu

Ah; welcome to the club: former Nigeriaworlders.

Believe me, there is nothing wrong with your articles or their standard. If anything, you should see your exclusion as a sign of independent and clear mindness. Quite a few of us here on NVS got the treatment long before you begining sometimes in the early summer of 07. Overtime here, you will begin to recognise former authors at Nigeriaworld.

The "rumour" I heard was that the publisher of that site was given some kind of govt appointment at Daily Times of Nigeria. And before you could say "settlement" writers and forumites that were deemed troublesome were being barred. The worse aspect you've already highlighted: enquires as to why were uncouthly ingnored.

So welcome to a better place. You will find that your ideas (and writing style) would improve here. Beleieve me, the Villagers would do that to you. The only thing you have to worry about here are the super sensitive ethnic hall monitors.

So come all the way in, take a load off, and hit that keyboard mate!

Cheers
Dem
Re: Nigeriaworld and the Silence of the Lambs
Omaks posted on 03-16-2008, 12:33:28 PM
As far back as three(3) years ago i discovered this very same trend on Nigeriaworld.com when i used to provide articles for the site. Suddenly they stopped publishing my articles, and i just decided it 'WAS THEIR LOSS'. If i can sacrifice a few minutes of my time to pencil down my opinions and they could not be bothered to publish it, or in the least provide an editorial review as to why, then i was not going to waste my time. For those who have recently been dealt the same treatment all i can advise is that seek alternative form to publish your thoughts. It's Nigeriaworld's loss anyway. There are many more platforms you can present your articles for publication.
Re: Nigeriaworld and the Silence of the Lambs
Emj posted on 03-16-2008, 12:44:44 PM
QUOTE:
Thank you sir,

I feel at home already and reassured that we can and will continue to speak truth to power, wherever we find a space.

Olu


Hmmmm....feel at home how?Hmmm....make u neva pack o....ehen....who are u re?
Oya clear comot for one side........hmmm.....wat are u yarning?Sepe u bin pick race comot from yonder come enter our village of no regret dey complain...chei...men of nowadaz....u no fit face dem for yonda settle da matter outta da space

Hmmm.....wia was i, ....ur article...wat wia u really trying to tell us about Nigeriaworld...and why tie in da Silence of the Lambs?
Ogbeni, gba brake small and te slow fun emi ara e....take am easy....and tell us da real story.....hmmm, anywaz, i look forward to the real article ..........remember to tell us da truth, da whole truth and nothing but the truth always. Just put to print ur thought, and leave us to dissect it.......VQAS

PS.>>>>>>>BTW...there seems to be an invasion of Nigeriaworld oldtimers hia ...we have to begin to monitor dia activities....lest they take over o(they are too many....emj complaining anyho)
Re: Nigeriaworld and the Silence of the Lambs
Lionking posted on 03-16-2008, 13:43:30 PM
QUOTE:
Quite a subdued article about that wasteland. Early on, quite early on, years go, it became apparent that the site had at least a number of power-drunk, tyrannical fellows who would go to unspeakable lenghts to silence dissent. Objections to certain articles could be excused for their strong views, certain writers may be considered radioactive, but the obsession of control at that other place extends to the monitoring, summary deletions, and untracked editing of posts. Punishments for having a view opposing those of the sometimes invisible powers there include immediate suspension, loss of posting rights, and account deletions. It was lucky a pass to have been \"simply\" snubbed.

Ochi wrote: \"You are probably the second person to have brought a complaint to NVS over the treatment you received at Nigeriaworld. To the best of my knowledge, I was the first.\". \"Probably\" being the operative word. At NVS, there are quite a handful of refugees from that other place; some of whom contributed to your early post about this treatment. It's been a trickling exodus; it's what is the death of discussion boards. It is the reason NVS must guard against the bone-headedness that overtook that other place.
.


NVS was ACTUALLY founded by refugees from these obnoxious practices at nigeriaworld. All the more reason why we must guard against any of such tendencies re-surfacing here.
Re: Nigeriaworld and the Silence of the Lambs
SOC Okenwa posted on 03-16-2008, 14:04:26 PM
My brother,

As an author who had contributed articles to "Nigeriaworld" I have come to discover that the website is run by partisan elements who give no damn about authors' complaints or interests. Many of us quit because of this irresponsible behaviour by the impervious 'ghosts' that run the site.

But as the saying goes "when one door closes another opens forth"; NVS is much better and believe me one feels at 'home' here.

I join other Villagers in welcoming you here; enjoy what we have been enjoying for years!
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