Many Nigerians in the public eye don’t like democracy. They don’t know that part of democracy is the right to tell people stuff they may be uncomfortable with. George Orwell said that: “If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.” Some of President Muhammadu Buhari’s biggest critics are just as undemocratic as they claim he is.
One of Naijiant.com’s reporters was blocked on Twitter by noisy Buhari critics such as former education minister Oby Ezekwesili and Reno Omokri, who was an assistant to former president Goodluck Jonathan. The reporter said that he couldn’t even remember what he tweeted to those two that led to the blocking. But he was pretty sure that he never abused them, saying he “most likely pointed out their hypocrisy”.
Incidentally, the reporter also said “I may have said worse to [Abubakar] Atiku [the former vice president] , the Senator for the Twitter constituency Ben Bruce and Buhari operatives like Bashir Ahmed and Lauretta Onochie. But they chose to ignore me rather than block”. It’s hard to tell whether this shows Atiku as more of a democrat, as it is likely that his Twitter feed is managed by a lackey.
Then you have another Buhari aide like Tolu Ogunlesi who was reportedly blocking about 100 users a day because of what they tweeted to him when Buhari posed for a picture with Naomi Campbell.
I remember one pro-Biafran calling me names on Facebook because of what I posted about Nnamdi Kanu, the missing leader of the separatist Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB). My sister was like I should delete his post and unfriend him. But I said, no, it’s best to leave it so that everyone could see how stupid he is.
Some people think social media is where you come to have your ego massaged, with praise-singers lining up to say how wonderful you are. For me, if everyone is in agreement with me, I always start suspecting that maybe I was wrong because I know that the majority don’t usually get it. As Bob Marley sang, “man and people will fight you down, when you see Jah light”.
Ezekwesili and her fellow Twitter “blockers”, who spend an awful amount of time telling the world how undemocratic Buhari is, should see the light, practice what they preach and welcome dissent, instead of suppressing it. They seem to prefer to dwell in a bubble without opposing views.
One has to wonder what they would do if they had the power to act beyond blocking people on Twitter. They’d probably end up like the goons in the Senate who were trying to curtail freedoms with a “Social Media Bill”.