*allegations trending online that the 60 bloggers received varying sums of gratification, ranging from N250k to N2million per blogger As controversy trails the propaganda strategy of Rivers State Governor, Chibuike Amaechi and the allegation that he offered huge sums of money to social media inflencers to step up vicious media attacks on President Goodluck Jonathan and the ruling PDP, one of the influencers who participated in the meeting, Stanley Azuoola has denied receiving financial gratification from the governor.
60 social media influencers or prominent bloggers participated in the pro-APC meeting in Port Harcourt, where strategies were said to have been discussed.
Despite his vehement denial that he received no financial gratification, Azuokola admitted that the governor paid all their air fares, fed and paid for their hotel accomodation, whilst they were in Rivers State Hear him in a statement: “As part of activities marking his 49th birthday, Gov. Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers invited some journalists and social media influencers to a morning of engagement at the Rivers Government House. At least 60 people, including this writer, were invited for the event. There was no way I was going to miss the opportunity to engage with the governor who I have criticized, praised and written about perhaps more than any other politician in the country with the exception of President Goodluck Jonathan.
“The event held last Wednesday morning, a day after the governor’s birthday on May 27th. By evening that day, I heard from social media that we were each given the sum of N250,000 by the governor for attending the event. By the next evening, I heard that it wasn’t
N250,000 we received, but N5 million.”
The blogger added: “By now, anybody with half a brain would have realised that the rumour was false; anybody with rudimentary knowledge of cheques would know that the one being posted online is fake; and anybody who is not just trying to score dishonest propaganda points would have desisted from spreading the falsehood. But Nigerian politics is cruel like that – throw all the dirt you can, maybe one will stick.
“For the record: The organisers handled my flight and hotel bills, but at no time was any cash received by me or even suggested.”
Nigerians are shocked at the rate at which bloggers are striking friendship with opposition governors. Before the Amaechi meeting, Governor Kayode Fayemi met with 100 bloggers and the same agenda was tabled.
It was gathered that the online anti Jonathan campaign, alongside attacks on prominent Rivers State political opponents will be stepped up in the coming days.
The unfortunate use of bloggers by opposition governors to undermine the leadership of President Jonathan is another sad commentary in the nation’s political progress.