Nigeria is in another election season and typical of every election cycle everyone claim to know what’s going on behind the scenes. Many take to social media to allege some “hidden agenda” that only they are privileged to know. That is exactly how conspiracy theory works.
The problem is that Conspiracy Theorists don’t know when to stop. They’ll literally invent a new theory to explain why their own conspiracy blew in their face.
Back to the 2023 general elections, the ‘Theory’ was that APC was waiting on PDP to see which direction they would go before deciding whether to go northward or southward for their presidential candidate. As soon as Atiku emerged to the surprise of no one, the theorists asserted without equivocation that APC would definitely choose a northerner to deny the opposition party an undue advantage in the 2023 general election. They pointed at the fact that the senate president Ahmed Lawan had picked up nomination forms at the last minutes and that Kogi state governor Yahaya Bello could be Buhari’s “dark horse”.
Now fast forward to yesterday when Northern APC governors signed a communique pledging their support for next president to come from the south with just few hours to the ruling party’s convention. You would think the conspiracy theorists would admit that they got the prediction wrong and applaud the northerner APC governors’ caucus for acting in good faith and abiding by the “zoning arrangements”. No. Instead, they doubled down and further alleged that there’s a “game of chess” going. Why? It’s simply because the conspiracy theorists are never wrong. Never! They would twist themselves into a box of matches just to explain away what we are all seeing with our two eyes. There premise is that “Buhari is a bigot and an ethnic jingoist who will never allow power to return to the south”, or “Northern elites will never surrender power to the south” or a variation of the two. When in the end they are proven to be factually inaccurate, it wouldn’t matter because those who believed the false narratives because they align with their own biases, would have moved on to a new conspiracy theory.
So, as we get closer to the 2023 general elections, expect more opinions to be dished out as authoritative sources. And when people don’t understand something, they come up with conspiracy theories. We need to be wary of such people. See things as they are and not the you want them to be. More importantly, verify every news or information. Beware of “single sourced” stories. The news media are complicit in the sense that they push out narratives that suits their editorial biases. The 2023 elections will come and go, but the damage caused by misinformation and conspiracy theories will be with us for a long time to come.