Are you locked in an echo chamber?

In 2003/2004, I followed the USA elections (as usual). Not being a fan of George Bush, I supported John Kerry to win. On paper, Kerry was a great candidate. Decorated military man, a former prosecutor, distinguished record as a Senator, articulate, intelligent, he seemed like the perfect candidate to defeat George Bush.

I devoured the Democratic friendly online newspapers, and avidly followed the campaign. Alas and alack, I however only followed the democrat point of view. I lived in an echo chamber where all I heard were voices that butressed my already held viewpoint.

Kerry lost! He was beaten by a Bush who ran a better campaign, highlighed all Kerry’s flaws, and painted him as out of touch with ordinary Americans.

That was the first and last time I lived in an echo chamber. After that lesson, I learnt to listen to all media. Hear the voices for and against my candidate. Critically examine all my candidate’s strengths and weaknesses.

Today I belong to (or I drop by to read) viewpoints in several Naija regional or state political groups. Some of the groups loathe PMB with a passion. I usually say nothing but I listen and guage the mood of ordinary citizens. I read posts and comments from many anti Buharists. I read/listen to media that is for and against my political choices.

I choose to listen to all these viewpoints to help broaden my mind and my viewpoint.

It was pretty obvious to me from 2017, that as long as President Buhari did not die, Boko Haram did not begin exploding bombs all across the country, and the economy did not plunge into a Venezuela style freefall, that President Buhari would win in 2019.

This belief was not built on sentiment, or fantasy, or wishing for the best. It was based on looking at the voting pattern across the nation, the possible candidates who could run against him, and the voting numbers. I always say – maths does not lie. Figures are figures whether one likes em or not.

It was clear (to anyone who chose to see) that PMB was going to hold the NE + NW, get 25% in at least 3 – 5 states in the SS + SE, and split the votes in the SW + NC. And once he did that, he would win. (He ended up doing even better than that projection.)

I however did not realise that PMB opponents would choose to live fully in the echo chamber of their creation. A chamber fueled by fake news, fake figures, fake analysis, fake everything. And deeply esconsed in that deceitful echo chamber, they convinced themselves that Atiku had the numbers to win. Fuelled by false pastors and fake prophecies, they believed that PMB’s vote would collapse in the NE + NW.

And because they believed lies, reality is hitting them with a bang. Now they are blaming their refusal to vote in the gubernatorial elections, not on their raw pain from losing an election they were clearly going to lose, but on voter apathy because ‘the process cannot be trusted and their votes do not count’.

My counsel is – leave the echo chamber. Listen to all voices. Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of all politicians. And begin preparing for 2023 right from now.

Otherwise 2023 will bring the same lamentations we are hearing in 2019.

And the same ‘cifia pains’. ~ Bucky 2019


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