‘When tyranny becomes law, rebellion becomes a duty ‘ ~ Thomas Jefferson.
Everyone knows the times we are in. If the times are hard, they are very hard in Nigeria. The future of Nigeria is bleak, with the unfolding tendencies, idiosyncrasies and sadism. The ban on twitter, a major social medium of expression, has jolted many people. It has suddenly caused a spark in the brains of many analysts regarding what plans the government of the day has for the country and the people.
Nigeria’s foremost opposition party, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has chosen to defy the ban on twitter by the Federal Government of Nigeria headed by Muhammadu Buhari. Ot will be recalled that in the first week of June, Mr Buhari’s tweet was deleted for contravention of Twitter’s community policy.
In a fit of anger, Mr Buhari through his minister of communication, Lai Mohammed, declared the activities of the microblogging giant indefinitely suspended. As ridiculous as it may sound, it is bewildering to imagine that a single man would jeopardize the happiness of over 40 million subscribers because he thinks his ego was bruised.
The House of Representatives met, obviously prompted by the outcry by well meaning people, to resolve the issues. But the decision of the house, which has shown that it is an avowed appendage and an errand institution of the executive, didn’t go down well with the PDP caucus. According to them, you cannot form committee and subject issues of urgent need to unnecessary redtapism.
Since there has been no reasonable explanation as to why the FG banned Twitter, PDP encourages people to continue tweeting because no law has been broken. It is obvious that the APC government is trying to be power drunk. Twitter did not block Buhari. Even if they did, rules are rules. Twitter is not Africa where rules are bent for some persons.
The APC government must understand that many people make their livelihood from Twitter. So far, money has been lost, businesses have suffered and incomes have shrunk further. This is tragic, coming from a country that wears the unenviable badge of the world’s poverty capital.
Second of all, a country where there is so much need for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), has no business flexing muscles with tech a tech company that has indirectly provided employment where the government has massively and woefully failed.
The recent arbitrary ban on Twitter has accentuated the belief that the present day Nigeria is tending towards a dictatorship, where government policies are the same as the whims and captives of the dictator. This would in no way harm investment decisions by foreign investors. Already, our neighbour, Ghana, is the darling of investments heading for Africa. We are further worsening the situation with our unpredictability in terms of policy.
Also when compared to the huge insecurity problem and the government’s ostrich behaviour towards tackling the problem, there would be no gain saying that Nigeria is witnessing the worst of times.
The people of Nigeria have been made to feel like a conquered people in their own country. With the rise in prices of all commodities, the punitive taxes and the shrinking incomes, there is palpable anger on the streets. It is not even made better by the robberies, deaths and more deaths that happen everyday.
It is to this end that the PDP House caucus is saying enough is enough! And most Nigerians understandably agree with them. The government needs to stop listening to praise singers and insulating itself with the cheers of self serving sycophants who like Minimus , in Orwell’s Animal Farm keep chanting Buhari is always right.
There is anger in the streets. There is anger!
Usman Okai Austin CNA
Writes from Abuja