What do Spiderman and Linda Ikeji have in common?
If the first thing that comes to your mind is ‘they spin the web’, we’re just here looking at you like,
Linda has been really busy this year. She went from fighting the internet over handbags, to doing that rolling-in-the-sand fight with Wizkid. But it’s fine; her drama, our entertainment.
Truth is, Linda Ikeji might not be your favourite blogger or news source, but she packs a greater punch than your favourite Nigerian newspapers. Every. Single. One.
This is power.
Remember when that first Spiderman movie dropped in 2002, and Tobey Maguire had many kids breaking their heads because they believed there was a possibility that they might be Spiderman?
There’s this memorable scene where Peter’s Uncle Ben goes,
And from that day, Peter Parker took it upon himself to fight every monster roaming through the streets, or rooftops of New York.
Sometimes, Peter Parker had to choose between saving a bunch of people, and saving the ones he loves.
And sometimes, the consequences were costly.
This is where the stark difference between Peter and Linda comes up. On one side, Linda has to choose between feeding her readers correct news, and making sure her reporting doesn’t put the subjects of her story at risk. On the other end, she has to just skip the verification part and just paste the news. Most of the time, she chooses the latter.
Sometime in May, Linda published a story about a woman who went on Facebook to talk about the violence she was facing at the hands of her husband.
Linda didn’t stop there. She published the photo of the woman in question. A neighbour of the victim commented on the post asking Linda to take down the picture, because the woman was terrified. That photo didn’t go down for another 8 hours.
Picture this. Husband’s friend sees it. Husband’s friend shows husband. Husband decides to teach wife a lesson.
Did I forget to add that the husband “likes to beat with cutlass, and especially aim for the eyes”?
More recently was the #SaveMayowa drama.
Anyone who have the capacity to help, such is your friend. Let's #SaveMayowa
Access Bank – 0038091966
— Tosin Olugbenga (@TosinOlugbenga) July 27, 2016
Nigerians raised $100,000 in three days for an ovarian cancer victim, Mayowa Ahmed. In three days. This is amazing for a people going through harsh times.
Linda Ikeji published a post saying the #SaveMayowa campaign was a scam. Without an iota of evidence, or facts. While this was still developing, a celebrity, Toyin Aimakhu who had thrown her weight behind the campaign, took it upon herself to get Mayowa’s brothers arrested. Based on a rumour too.
Toyin Aimahku went on to apologise regarding her part in peddling the falsehood.
Linda on the other hand, deleted the post she wrote, and business went on as usual.
It took the efforts of the family members releasing medical records and speaking with the press to refute this.
EXCLUSIVE: Mayowa's sister says scam reports by @lindaikeji and @toyinaimakhu is false. https://t.co/UAUzOlREHu pic.twitter.com/X8oJDfsKZS
— Pulse Nigeria (@PulseNigeria247) July 28, 2016
Think of the emotional trauma the already frail Mayowa would have had to go through. Think of the fact that the consequences of Linda’s actions might have depressed her to death.
This is no longer a matter of “she’s not a journalist and shouldn’t be held accountable”.
This is about a basic human responsibility of not putting others at risk. Many times she has had to choose between people and traffic, she chose traffic, and advertently, money.
And time and time again, Linda has showed us one thing; She might have great power, but Linda is fucking irresponsible.