by Mazi Emeka
Seriously, there is something about Linda Ikeji and no one seems to know what exactly.
What is so contentious about this woman, one of the most prominent example of female success stories -scarce as they are- and should be an inspiration to young women and entrepreneurs?
Truly it is a difficult question to answer.
Arguably, one of the most successful and powerful women in Nigeria’s competitive, overly too copy-catish, media space, Linda’s name seems to evoke a sort of controversy and contention wherever and whenever it is mentioned.
In the last six months, Linda has been in the news and has been dragged through the muddy waters of social media for several reasons -most of which she played a relatively innocuous role in. Take for instance, the #SaveMayowa controversy, Linda was bashed far more than the actual players in the story. In fact she trended for hours and bore much of the brunt simply because she was the one that broke the news.
But her blog isn’t the first news site to break a news that didn’t sit well with the public. Why then was she singled out for attack?
When the false news of her problems with the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) broke, social media took no pity on her. If public opinion was a real court, Linda would have been found guilty without trial, sentenced and punished.
When it was revealed that a certain female blogger had received a heart stopping amount of money (240 million naira) from the N2.1 billion Dasukigate scandal, without any evidence whatsoever, all fingers pointed to Linda. She was forced to issue a statement on her blog denying an accusation that, quite frankly, wasn’t made officially.
Perhaps she started off with a girl next door kinda feel, but the present day Linda Ikeji of the Banana Island fame is not the girl we used to know and has steadily worked her way into the hierarchy of Nigeria’s most vilified persons.
Despite this, Linda’s blog, the unofficial gossip capital of Nigeria, continues to thrive and has somehow remained one of the top news sources in the country even as many accuse her of destroying journalism with her style of news reporting and setting a terrible example to several other blogs.
It is a known fact that once a story enters Linda Ikeji’s blogs, the odds of the story blowing up or not is 4:5… in favor of blowing.
Whether we like it or not, gossip peddling is a craft -which Linda has mastered over the years- that sales. Linda caters to a crowd of enthusiastic followers who may not be as vocal on social media or have been cowered into a corner by holier-than-thou social media warlords and vociferous bullies.
Think of her what you might, the truth is that Linda has redefined Nigeria’s media space with her self styled blog and has remained a sort of indecipherable enigma as she continues to churn out news stories daily, alone -and still beating out news organizations that have several writers and reporters in their employ.
She has been accused of copy and paste journalism, but the truth or falsehood of such accusation is not in contention. What might be in contention is the fact that Linda is the most hardworking woman in Nigeria’s media space. Her blog, although basic, is self run and growing.
Linda’s journey into the black books of many Nigerians is totally inexplicable. It is quite surprising that a woman would be so hated in an age and time when people are beginning to value independent and hardworking women.
Possibly Linda’s fall out with the public began with the news of her acquiring a Range Rover SUV, her ordeal with search engine giant, Google, and the subsequent revelation that she has acquired and moved into her Banana Island mansion.
Her love for expensive bags and shoes is widely known -and has caused more problems for her as she flaunts her high end properties on social media, reveling in the pleasant comfort of material things.
In the months that followed since she acquired her exotic properties, Linda has become a subject of a weapon she created and perfected -gossip. Numerous blogs, going the Linda Ikeji style, now feed on any news about her, keeping vigil on her social media page, waiting, watching hawkishly.
Yes, Maheeda’s nude pictures sells but any gist about Linda -especially negative news- outsells.
Linda, Nigeria’s once upon a time favorite news person, has blown far more than anyone could believe simply by peddling gossip on a free blog and for some unknown reasons have incurred hate rather than love.