Monday, June 14, 2021 12:02 am
By Hope O’Rukevbe Eghagha
The imperial and nationalist federal government of Nigeria has finally summoned the courage to do what it ought to have done eons ago by suspending the impervious, cantankerous, divisive and nosey Tweeter, that breezy all-comers social media platform giant created by an American capitalist to poke its big ugly Uncle Tom nose into all crannies of the wide world, whether invited or not, to rattle governments, remove governments, promote LGBTQ values, and give space to nincompoops and outlandish vituperative outbursts, who in the process display profound ignorance and undue bellicosity to hard working governments and officials in the name of freedom of expression and human rights!
Indeed, as anyone can see even with half an eye, Tweeter, Facebook, TikTok, Instagram and all the other platforms have inexorably fulfilled the Orwellian peeping Tom predictions in the novel Nineteen Eighty-Four and should be dealt with in the language they will understand, the language of proscription and/or outright ban! What else can these platforms be but BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU? George Orwell was mightily right!
Bravo to the highly sensitive and responsive federal government which has done what the powerful Donald Trump as the very President of America could not do! For good measure, the best president which America was unfortunate to have had so far, Donald J. Trump has wisely and boldly congratulated the Buhari regime on the feat of banning Tweeter in Nigeria! Can you beat that? Trump had something to congratulate Nigeria on. This is an excellent endorsement from a president who once insultingly described our president in terms that I will not deign to repeat here for decency sake and offend the presidency.
The same man who called Africa as a place of ‘s..thole’ countries! Of course, if you snatch another man’s wife, you would get a congratulatory call from Satan himself! As we all know, ungrateful Nigerians have been using Tweeter to sabotage the dynamic, people-centered Aso Rock government ensconced in the magical and detached world of sleepy Abuja. To be sure, even former editors of the free press who work with the government have appropriately, loyally, and stoutly defended the temporary suspension of Tweeter. The language Nigerians understand appears to be the product of one spokesperson that was reported as saying that Nigerians require a strong hand to govern them, or something like that!
When I ruminated on my essay topic for the week, especially after the beautifully sadistic ban on Tweeter by Abuja, a title which I had encountered as a boy about one Mbonu Ojike (1914-1956) a nationalist and onetime Vice President of NCNC leapt to my mind. As an Africanist, Mbonu, known as ‘Boycott King’ advocated ‘a reduction in consumption of Western goods’ with the slogan ‘boycott the boycottables! No doubt, the lust for everything foreign had been with us since our first contact with Europeans from the 12tn century or so. In the past, some of our kings sold their subjects in exchange for a mirror or gin or some trivia! Wish we had summoned the gumption to develop our indigenous technology we would not be depending on oil as the mainstay of our economy. If in the 1950s we could boycott foreign goods, the federal government’s order that Tweeter should be suspended would have been familiar territory.
The purpose of this essay therefore is to celebrate the beauty of suspending Tweeter. I am also of the inane view that all other social platforms used for democratic mischief should be suspended forever. Not till further notice. Newspapers, TV stations, WhatsApp, Blogs, SMS and mobile telephones should all be suspended as we work on the unity of the country. Too much jagajaga! Ignoramuses calling for war as if war is a tea party. They all use social media platforms to preach hate. There is a language which Nigerians understand: force. Just forget all those niceties about democracy and free expression. Do votes really count in Nigeria? Can we beat our chests and assert with any degree of confidence that our votes brought in the governors, legislators and the president? What is this talk then about freedom of expression? Further proof is in Imo State. The governor my namesake Hope Uzodinma was enthroned by the Supreme Court. This of course is a legal seal to the beauty of illegality. It is to be celebrated. Is this not why Imo State has become an epitome of peace, ultimate tranquility, stability and rapid progress?
Once in the checkered history of our beleaguered nation, I think it was between 1983 and 1985, by some rabid decrees, crafted by lawyers it became an offence for journalists to report any matter, true or false, which embarrassed a public official. It was in the days of military misadventure in governance. And so, anything was possible. Those khaki boys in misguided nationalism thought they could run a country like a military formation. But the house soon crumbled and Nigerians learnt some lessons. But we cannot compare that era with the times we live in. Those days of insane dictatorship are gone forever in any guise or form as Aso Rock has told some mischievous politicians who are instigating misadventure in the military.
Presidential spokesmen are very important in government. They polish the dull and make the straight the crooked. They do damage control. They are also a gateway to understanding the mindset of the chief executive. Thus when a spokesman says that the nation needs a strong hand, the message is clear. Enough of the nonsense that is IPOB. Enough of the nonsense that is Miyetti Allah. Enough of the nonsense that is Boko Haram. Enough of the nonsense that is Amotekun. Enough of the nonsense that is ESN. Enough of the nonsense that is Fulani banditry. Enough of the nonsense that is kidnapping. Enough of the nonsense that is parochial and clannish appointments to the national patrimony. Boots have been worn in readiness to deal with moronic Nigerians who Tweet nonsense to abuse and insult the hard suffering leaders of the Nigerian State.
As for newspaper houses, let them know that Daily Times and The New Nigerian, Radio Nigeria Kaduna, Radio Nigeria Lagos, could be resuscitated as mouth organs of the federal government. NTA and its sister stations nationwide are enough to tell us what we need to know about Nigeria and the world. All private TV stations should take note. No programmes or guests who are critical of government should be welcome in the studio. They should be suspended. The government itself should be ready to suspend all ‘suspendables! The nation has to move. And if the nation fails to move because of some bloody laggards in the corridors of power, the government should suspend the nation too! If things refuse to move after that, government should suspend itself for the sake of peace and allow dead bones to come back to life!
Professor Eghagha can be reached on 08023220393 and email@example.com