David Mark, Social Media and Health

Our Senator President, David Mark, the Nigerian Senate President recently called for a check on the use of the social media in the Nigeria, saying that people now use them to demean their leaders. Wow…. this is the same gentleman that came to fame when he declared previously that that telephones were not meant for ordinary people when he was Minister of Communication. The good senator does seem to have a problem with information being in the hands of the people. What really is he afraid of? What stories are spread by social media that he thinks are demeaning?

One recent story that went viral in the Nigerian Twittersphere was this;

Mark returns from medical trip, says he is moved by love from Nigerians 

This was published by the Vanguard….conventional media! But in the good old days that served our politicians very well, the story would have disappeared in a few days, and we would all return to business as usual. While our politicians access the excellent medical services in Israel, Saudi Arabia and Germany, ordinary Nigerians have to make do with the sordid state of affairs in our public health care facilities.

Dear Senate President, we do not seek to demean you. Honestly, we do not. But we are on the path to returning power to where it belongs – in the hands of the people. Social media is just one of several platforms. Like you saw from the voting in Edo, we will come out to protect our votes. Like you saw in January, we will defend our rights to know how our funds are being spent, and one day dear Senate President, we will insist that our leaders not use our money to fly to Israel, for an ailment that your own staff described as minor. The reason is not complicated – it is illustrated in the pictures below – the use of social media on the continent is growing……every day. We are not quite sure what the Senate President means that its use should be checked….do you?  

Credit – Portland and Tweetminster

If you really want to stay on the side of the people Sir, use the hospitals we use. It is not demeaning to do so. If you do, the story will go viral on twitter sphere….promise! 


Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed people can change the world; indeed it is the only thing that ever has…Margaret Mead

Chikwe Ihekweazu is an epidemiologist and consultant public health physician. He is the Editor of Nigeria Health Watch, and the Managing Partner of EpiAfric (www.epiafric.com), which provides expertise in public health research and advisory services, health communication and professional development. He previously held leadership roles at the South African National Institute for Communicable Diseases and the UK's Health Protection Agency. Chikwe has undertaken several short term consultancies for the World Health Organisation, mainly in response to major outbreaks. He is a TED Fellow and co-curator of TEDxEuston.

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