In the realm of Nigerian politics, where drama and absurdity go hand in hand, the emergence of a new menace has taken centre stage — the Data Boys! They are our friends who never lack mobile data yet they do not subscribe for it with their own money. They are mostly called Comrades, SAs and Honourable Commissioners in some cases, especially in Niger and Kwara states.
They have just one job — post at least a picture of their superior every day and caption it with a little prayer. Sorry, that’s just for Comrades. Just like a swarm of mosquitoes, they have invaded Kwara and Niger states, wreaking havoc with their preposterous antics. They are also great ambassadors of different social media platforms.
Much like the sinister henchmen in a Bond movie, these gentlemen and ladies seem to lurk in the shadows, ready to pounce on any opportunity to defend their masters, no matter how ridiculous it may seem. They see nothing wrong with their bosses taking every step in the wrong direction; it is a divine path. Equipped with smartphones, monthly data subscriptions and an unshakeable belief in their intellectual prowess, they permeate social media platforms, spreading misinformation like wildfire.
Their devotion to their political overlords knows no bounds, as they tirelessly defend their masters’ every dud decision with arguments from the grave. It’s as if they are determined to outdo each other in an absurdity contest.
In Kwara for example, as a Commissioner, you have no business in designing policies or implementing any; just attend ceremonies, take pictures and praise your boss for the opportunity. As an SA, your job is easier. You will receive daily messages to reshare. Failure to do this may result in the delay of your data subscription or no renewal of your contract.
In Kwara and Niger states, the Data Boys’ obsession with social media is unparalleled. They wage epic battles on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, their keyboards clacking away in a cacophony of words, emojis and hashtags. Logic and coherent arguments are deemed unnecessary, as they prefer to engage in a game of one-upmanship, demonstrating who can shout the loudest rather than who can make the most sense.
Seeing the bizarre spectacle of these young individuals in action, one cannot help but be reminded of a circus performance. Their role, whether they realise it or not, is to amuse and entertain the public with their ludicrous justifications. The only problem is that their routines are slowly eroding the trust in our political landscape and endangering the very essence of governance.
And so, as we watch this data-driven circus unfold in Kwara and Niger states, let us not forget the importance of critical thinking and discernment. Youths must demand for better engagements.
Uthman Qasim writes from Abuja. He can be reached via [email protected].