Nigeria And Twitter - THE DAILY CRUCIBLE



Saturday, June 5, 2021

Nigeria And Twitter

By Femi Kusa 

WITH four of Nigeria's six political regions in turmoil, and the fifth only managing to keep calm, the Federal government must be extremely nervous. Nervousness is only a state of being just one or few steps away from anger and misplaced aggression. Anger exposes absence of clarity and is only one or few steps away from fear. Anger stems from fear of inadequacy and leads to hatred which can cause anything, including murder. In a state of anger, the link with reason is cut off. President Muhammadu Buhari has been angry with the South East region since the election of 2015 in which the voters there massively rejected him. He could not hold himself even in public when once or twice he wrote the constituents off his bread and butter list. But he would seem to have been persuaded to let sleeping dogs to lie undisturbed when he accepted the second Niger Bridge and the 
West-East railway projects for which he went abroad in these lean times to borrow huge amounts of money.
Nevertheless, the constituents just cannot agree the President loves them. They remember him as one of the Nigerian Army officers who put out the Biafran dream of 1966-70 in which their grandparents died. They also cannot forget that their kins-men were massively and brutally murdered in the North from where the President comes in a prelude to the war. So, we have been witnessing collisions of two quantum negative discharges. How will these annoyances be peacefully resolved?.

They read President Buhari's revulsion for the Igbo in his public appointments which they say marginalise the South East. The roll call of Army Generals who are likely to go because their Junior has been made to supercede them is another example which justifies their claims of marginalisation. Before this, the President had been sending in troops of one operation or the other to quieten dissent in the South East and to frighten into submission this region that is well known for its ruggedness and resourcefulness. 

Irrespective of the President Eastern policies, I do not think the President believes all Igbos are threats to Nigerian unity. But his fear and dislike of IPOB may have made him to bunch them all up. Constitutionally, there are Igbos in his cabinet who should speak up for their people. Even if he had a revulsion for the Igbo, wouldn't it have paid him better to pretend he doesn't while he sorts out problems in half of the country's agitated political zones? Whoever wins multiple wars at the same time? Otto von bismark, the Iron Chancellor, negotiated French neutrality before, through war, he pulled out Germany from the Austro-Hungerian Empire. French Emperor Bonaparte Napoleon and German Adolf Hitler lost several wars because they took on many opponents at the same time. If some Northern generals and troops are Boko Haram supporters, if some generals and troops are pro-banditry, how will President Buhari get South eastern Generals and troops to match in the South-east or to help him in the North-East, North-West and North Central. I believe, as some people have said, that the President may not have seen the war-threatening TWIT before it was posted in TWITTER. He is an aging and busy man, who may entrust many critical matters to his trusted aides who, suddenly becoming self important in account of this, may not have been clearing many critical questions with him. And once the feathers flew, he would be obliged to protect, not denounce them. President Buhari is not known to expose to danger people who work with him, even when they are in the wrong. He would rather keep them and do house management. We have seen many public officers, including a former Finance Minister, stay on in office longer than they should have when they should have been ignominiously removed from office. So, if President Buhari didn't read the TWIT before it was published, he would pretend he did, and take responsibility as a "gentleman officer". I was a young Journalist when I was told a similar thing happened in the government of General Yakubu Gowon. Defence Headquarters was too close to, I believe the American and British embassies were considered too close to Defence Headquarters and it was feared security meetings may be bugged. The government encouraged them to move, but they would not. General Gowon would appear to be too soft. So, one day the radical Muritalla Muhammed and Olusegun Obasanjo, who would later edge him out, surrounded the diplomatic neighborhood with troops to enforce the movement, against diplomatic norm. Would General Gowon disown his own boy's?. He didn't.


The reaction of the government in suspending or banning TWITTER activities is an indicator that a silent war is going on in Nigeria. There is even the rumor ricochetting all over that the President has passed, and that a decoy of him has been put in Aso Rock by people who hijacked power from him. Yesterday, I was an odd-person-out in a discussion group. I reminded the other people that the President has been travelling abroad to meet with government functionalist and that the media of those countries would have been too glad to report that Nigeria had a Dummy Leader if this rumor was correct. This persuaded some people to change their opinion. Some of President Buhari's aides are not helping matters about the fear of a quiet war going on in Nigeria, which has found a new peak in the TWITTER problem. The Attorney General and Justice Minister recently made a provoking statement equating Igbo spare parts business in the North with Northern cattle rampaging food crop farms in the South. Former Bornu Governor Shettima took it up from there in as video call interview with former Ogun State Governor Ibikunle Amosun. Shettima said the Igbos were lucky that Muhammadu Buhari became President. He said Buhari was not the choice of the North for President. The choice of the North, he said was former Kano Governor Kwakwanso. He said the Igbos are taking over the economy of the North and Kwakwanso was better positioned than Buhari to take the economy back from the Igbo and place it in the hands of Northerns. Then, he said this would be done after the 2023 polls. This is an indication that the hawks in the North and in President Buhari's cabinet may have taken over the government, as Aisha Buhari, the President's wife, has been alleging. Is it not possible that the hawks planted the TWIT? The impression the TWITTER SUSPENSION or BAN had created is that a whole Federal Government cannot withstand the President being humiliated while Nnamdi Kanu of IPOD is on his feet, laughing. General Gowon said there are bad advisers, but not bad leaders. Boot lickers in the cabinet may have misadvised the President to hammer TWITTER in a mood of self-preservation before their boss whose spirit must have been down. If you ask me as a small fly in these government and cabinet matters, it is at such a time the President should have been closer with his wife, Aisha, a well educated, bright, much younger and more proactive person. It is not for nothing that she is his wife and mother of their children. When as men we are down and out while storming the mountains, it is from our wives we draw succour and energy to continue the battle. They are not given to us by our creator to be mere decorations in our living rooms and bedmates in the other room. They are meant to be our worthy companions. They defend us to the hilt, even when we are in the wrong, if we have been good to them. All men should know this. WOMAN is psychically stronger than MAN, who is only physically stronger. Spiritually speaking, the inner core or essence of WOMAN is more refined than that of MAN. That makes WOMAN to easily connect with higher and final realms of existence for HIGHER GUIDANCE than MAN is on his own. Look at flowering plants, as an example. The flowering part is fragrant and bears the flowers and the fruit. The Roots system which secured the plants is rugged and obtuse, like the body of MAN, whereas the flowering part, the female part is delicate and resourceful. That is why Wise People Of Old who discovered WOMAN to be a store house of strength for MAN tell us that BEHIND A SUCCESSFUL MAN, THERE IS A WOMAN. 


Rather than synegize with his wife on this matter, for example, the President may have exposed himself to the anti-Igbo wolves in his cabinet. Aisha may have told her husband that the suspension of TWITTER would be one more battle the President is waging not on TWITTER or Nnamdi Kanu but on Nigeria's young people especially in the South of the country. Everyone knows Nigeria's liquid cash is evaporating. Governments and the private sector are sacking workers. Unemployment is growing everyday. Young people are denouncing their country and fleeing abroad, saying it is better to be slaves over there, where they can get jobs to full their pockets and stomachs. Providentially, digital currency platforms brought succour to young Nigerians who stayed behind for love of country or for want of opportunity to escape from its stranglehood. Many of them no longer even cared for paid white collar jobs. They were making undreamed of money legitimately. But, suddenly, the government came to smash their dreams of financial freedom in the guise of fighting terrorists and kidnappers who were using the same platforms to grow their businesses. I once asked if it was not better to regulate the business than to abolish it. Can we abolish the police or the armed forces simply because there are some bad eggs in these services? In any case, haven't we witnessed more school children kidnapping since the banning of crypto currency business in the banks? Didn't the kidnappers negotiate and collect raw cash and even have some motorcycles bought for them to empower their vocation? Has the Boko Haram Army not been paying his soldiers since the crypto ban?

Aisha should also have told her husband how TWITTER is transforming the  business lives of many young people. I have no TWITTER handle, so I do not TWIT. But I observe the marvelous use to which TWITTER has been put by young people in ARTS and CULTURE, about the only industry still keeping Nigeria visible and afloat in the International scence. So, why smash this platform also simply because it is perceived that President Buhari was humiliated in the battle between NIGERIA and IPOB. I am sure the President will soon discover the ban is a wasted effort. Young people are irrepressible and, like water stopped flowing in one direction, will soon find a new level and direction to flow. 

The ban by Africa's biggest economy must be shocking to TWITTER. One of the lessons it may learn in this is that a building designed and constructed on a rocky foundation cannot be exhumed, transported and implanted on marshy  land and expected to not sink. TWITTER may have deleted President Donald Trump in the United States without much ado because that country has solid public institutions to prevent or to absorb "tremors". The African terrains is still largely one man shows, irrespective of the mouthing of Democracy.


The Igbos are right to exercise their free will for self-determination. Freedom from the neighbor is a gift the Almighty Creator gave to all creatures. We observe it well in babies. A baby many not want a certain adult to carry him or her, or may choose between the father and the mother who to go with. Human beings ignored this inalienable rights in the greedy quest for territorial expansion which brought together many disparate tribes of men in a single Nation state. From here, irreverent man trampling on the loss of nature which organises men into groups on the basis of their inner homogeneity conquered more territories to establish incongruous empires. Thus, we can speak of the now outdated Roman Empire, British Empire, Byzantine Empire, Ottoman Empire, Oyo Empire, Benin Empire, Songhai Empire etc. In modern times, the soviet union set up a Soviet Empire which has crumbled. Nigeria was a member of the now defunct British Political Empire. If Nigeria exercised self-determination to free herself from the British Empire, why can constituents parts of Nigeria be not free to go their individual ways if they believe that is how they can fulfill the objective for which God Almighty created them. If we do not split, we would have to learn to treat one another with mutual self respect as a husband or a wife treats each other if they are not to separate or to divorce. In their presents predicament, the Igbos have many lessons to learn. They hated Chief Obafemi Awolowo because he did not allow them to govern the Western region after the Western region led the Nigerian Independence Campaign against Britain and won freedom for the whole country. Why would the Igbos want the Yoruba's to replace a foreign colonial master with a local colonial master from the East of Nigeria when they have more competent sons and daughters who can govern them? All through the colonial constitutional conferences, Chief Obafemi Awolowo fought for regionalism for which he was branded a tribalist because he did not want ethnic domination in Nigeria. After Independence, he asked Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe, the Igbo Leader, to become Prime Minister while he, Awolowo, would be Finance Minister under him, so that both of them can give Nigeria a solid start up foundation against feudalism and nepotism. But Dr Azikiwe preferred to be powerless or Ceremonial President and Tafawa Balewa, from the North, to be Prime Minister, and the most powerful man in Nigeria. Irrespective of this, Chief Obafemi Awolowo won through with a 1960, and 1963 constitution which properly regionalized Nigeria so that one group would not dominate the others. A Northern and Eastern Federal coalition government conspired against the fast-developing Western region and broke it into two parts after causing a crises in the ruling action group party. This led to the crises which caused the first military coup, Igbo killings in the North and the Biafran war. Major General J.T.U Aguyi Ironsi an Igbo who took over from the coupists abolished the regional constitution and imposed a unity constitution under which Igbos had unlimited access to all Federal opportunities after they and the Northerners had successfully pushed the Yoruba's out of the civil services, armed forces and the police. This was why the West was militarily impotent at the outset of the Nigerian civil war, surrounded as it was by Northern troops after the Igbos had withdrawn from all parts of the county to the East. The Ironsi unitary constitution open the eyes of the North to how they can use constitutional power to conquer the entire country. That is what the South is still suffering from today and which is causing agitation in the East. Somehow, because of the private sector economic advances which Chief Obafemi Awolowo brought to the West, the Youruba's hardly agitate that they are locked out of Nigeria at government level. The Igbos flowered at Federal Government level under Obasanjo, Yaradua/Jonathan and Jonathan. Buhari became the Igbo headache because his government opened the door more to core Northerners especially the Fulanis'. Every part of the country is feeling the present pinch and would like more freedom than at present obtains. Again, the Igbos shut themselves in the foot under Obasanjo and Jonathan when they rejected regionalism and state police simply because these Southern President who favoured them did not want more state power in the West which was again as in pre-colonial times, pushing for regionalism and state police. We are all in it together, we can do it peacefully or violently. Violence will pay no one. The Peace process will pay everyone. The United Nations has a Peace process plan. Britain peacefully pulled out of the EUROPEAN UNION. YUGOSLAVIA did it peacefully. SCOTLAND lost the self-determination battle against the United Kingdom by a few votes a few years ago. Britain rejoiced and considered more Freedom to loser SCOTLAND. But Scotland is not done yet, it has launched another peaceful move for a separation from Britain in order for its people to remain an homogeneous people within its own boundaries as the Almighty Creator made us all. We can learn from this Peace Process rather than cause more blood to be shed in a country already overflown with blood since the 1960s. 

My dream for Nigeria, if the various part stick together, is a country where the natural order of life is well respected. In this order, all tribes were created by God. Each tribe was led by him to its own territory where resources it would need to sustain itself had been specially prepared for it. No tribe will see itself as superior to others. All tribes will see themselves as meant to grow according to the WILL of the Almighty Creator from child tribe to adult tribe so that, individuals in each tribe would be able to return to Paradise, our home as flowering and useful human sprits. The strong tribes will help the weak tribes without aiming to dominate them. No tribe will withold its resources from the use of others who need it for their advancement. But they would have to sit together and negotiate the terms of exchange which bring Joy to all parties. Anything short of this will not augur well for the nation and sow the seeds for agitation and violence.

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