Friday, 22nd September 2023

‘Keeping vigil over this democracy’

By Martins Oloja
14 October 2018   |   3:50 am
The 2019 general election is barely five months away. Though the campaigns are yet to begin in earnest, key issues that should dominate the election campaigns...

The 2019 general election is barely five months away. Though the campaigns are yet to begin in earnest, key issues that should dominate the election campaigns are curiously not crawling out. As the presidential, senatorial and other sundry candidates of the various political parties cautiously crisscross the country to engage with citizens, the only dominant campaign issue that can be attributed to a particular candidate so far is restructuring.

So, from national and state assembly candidates, there has not been a dominant issue that the media has captured as a product of strategic thinking of a particular candidate too. Not even at the centre of excellence called Lagos, our Lagos has any new buzzword emerged as even a primary election campaign slogan for any likely successor to Akinwumi Ambode.

There have been no serious campaign issues since 1999. Our leaders forge some agenda points only after winning election. There have been no ideological parties since the ‘Prince of the Niger’ created two birds of the same feathers tagged differently as a little bit to the right and a little the left he called National Republican Convention, (NRC) and Social Democratic Party (SDP).
But we have just noticed that our leaders of today are all hypocrites. They are all scoundrels in power. They claimed from nowhere that ‘hate speech’ would undermine democracy. They did not wait for any philosophical debate about it. They classified the opposition and the media, as vehicles of their genre of ‘hate speech’. They massively shirked their role as security chiefs. They allowed the wickedness of the wicked to be on the rampage. The wicked ones in parts of the Middle Belt curiously created a large pool of mourners and orphans. The gory stories did not touch the hearts of state actors. But they asked the all the bereaved to close their mouths, lest they would be charged as hate-speech merchants and culprits. They are the state. They have said they have had no responsibility to protect the defenceless and the vulnerable. They detained a journalist and some town criers from the Niger Delta for over two years and denied same when the rights activists asked questions. Yet they asked the detainees’ relations to keep quiet in their rage, lest they would be daubed as hate speechmakers. They once sponsored their anti-democratic agents to steal into the hallowed chambers of the federal lawmakers and command the authority symbol, the mace to disappear.

They have feigned ignorance of the rule of law. They have asked their police PROs to summon the senate president to report to a police station – for investigation of some suspected crimes in his home state. They have teargased protesters led by the same president of the senate and governors against incipient election rigging strategy. And their police chief has asked the executive protesters to show why they should not be cast into prison for daring to protest against this old demon, inconclusive rigging in Osun state. They are all hypocrites. Where is Emily Baxter who would have called all of us criminals? Yes, she wrote a classic: ‘we are all criminals’.

Yes, they are all villains. They generate more hate speeches against the Office of the Citizen and call the citizens ‘hate speakers’. What they have created most (hate speech) is what they are calling critical observers and opinion writers. They are all hypocrites!

Behold, they have elevated their mediocrity, their artlessness to a new plane. They have created so many cyber attackers who demonise anyone who does not recognise the indispensability; the residual integrity of the continent’s most honest contender who they claim has never stolen a dime. They even have some of the attack dogs to dispense lies and damned lies about the state of the nation on national news cable television stations. They have un-artfully dodged to the realm of condemning ‘fake news promoters’ even as they dispense more fake news as their invisible achievements all over the vast kingdom. They are all hypocrites!

It is feared that this their new ‘alternative fact’ strategy after the emergence of a real challenger in Port Harcourt the other day will create more political tension in the kingdom of the most populous black nation on earth. Now, it is sad that no one is talking about what has been wrong with Nigeria the political leaders have failed to develop since 1999. They are attacking everyone who does not praise the now old ‘new sheriff in town’ whose body language alone has improved electricity all over the kingdom, driven away all the insurgents into the evil forest – Sambisa, though we still bury more people daily – than before.

They have a potent army is in the social media. They attack anyone insight who dares to use the print media to welcome the new Waziri from the old Gongola to the race. Their attack dogs are all over the virtual space where they create phantom groups, force your number through ‘identity thieves’ consultants into their groups for monitoring of your views against the lion who is no longer ill.

Yes, the their monitoring spirits are ubiquitous and some naïve radio and television stations have recruited these artful monitors as analysts. They analyse while speaking from both sides of their mouths, especially the side that can keep the truth in a grave. They still do not know that you can keep truth in a grave, but it won’t stay there!

The purpose of this alert is to encourage and sensitise the Office of the Citizen to be vigilant at this time. And here is the thing, those who do not serve the gods of the belly should ask for the gift of wisdom and discernment at this time. Like the ancient Issacharites, we also need to understand the times and know what we need to do to save our blessed country from fake nationalists who want to destroy the majesty of democracy.

They want to destroy the power that democracy has given us. We must keep vigil over this democracy. This vigilance is a critical assignment. Reason?

Democracy is too important to be left to our brand of democrats alone. They can crash it. They are already demonising it after about 20 years of using its authority to steal and loot. This democracy, (this country) is bigger than citizens Muhammadu, Atiku, Moghalu, Mailafia, Oby, Sowore, Durotoye, Olawepo, Gbor and a host of others contestants for the highest office in the land. This democracy is not created for only the Fulani, The Yoruba and Igbo nations within the nation. It is for our common good.

This democracy must be jealously guarded and guided through to May 29, 2019. Some powerful forces may want to crash this democracy. They are beginning to deride it. They may begin to arrest many stakeholders they want to claim are alleged hate speakers and fake news peddlers. Let’s listen to what the oracle is saying to the nation. They will create their own narrative, their alternative facts. They will not believe in any classic that, ‘comment is free but facts are sacred’ as C.P Scott, the legendary Manchester Guardian editor noted in 1921.

Because they are not creative enough to organize decent debate and face political opponents, they may want to resort to the Samson’s complex – crash the house on all including themselves. They can crash democracy if they can’t win. They are wicked hypocrites. Though they are not too young to recall how the late Uba Ahmed and Ebenezer Babatope (Ebino Topsy) were conducting decent party reputation management with comic reliefs for the defunct NPN and UPN, they can crash this democracy.

We must be vigilant about this homeland alert on democracy. May we understand the meaning of VIGILANCE at this time. May we deepen our understanding of Wendell Philips who once warned that, ‘eternal vigilance is the price of liberty; power is ever stealing from the many to the few’. May be that was also why another great one Thomas Jefferson also warned those who want to preserve their democracy: ‘The price of freedom is eternal vigilance’. That may also be why in the same vein, Russell Pearce noted years ago that, ‘The candle of liberty has always been kept lit by a vigilant few’.

The oracle has spoken again that we must be vigilant and suspicious so that we do not focus on the snake and miss the scorpion, another deadly one. I have said it before and I am signing off with this on vigilance: democracy is too important to be left to our democrats alone. Our democrats today are not great men: they are just unpatriotic big men. We must keep vigil on this democracy, lest the muckrakers, the mudslingers who keep forwarding damaging material everywhere about candidates will crash it. We need to tell them that it is time to campaign about what they want to do to fix Nigeria’s broken walls. They need to sensitise us on their records so far. The first timers among them need to publicise their blueprint, their vision and mission statement crafted in Nigeria about Nigeria – not by members of the MBA power elite.

We don’t need the muck they are raking online. We need all the Ezras, all the Nehemiahs to rebuild Nigeria from the architecture in the rubble and the broken walls. We don’t need anyone to distribute wet blankets. We need builders. We need data analysts and thinkers who can capture our sad stories with execution – that discipline of getting things done! We need rebuilders of our comatose energy industry, dead transportation infrastructure, moribund education, unserviceable civil service and crisis-prone character. We do not need ‘the illiterate of the 21st century’ in leadership positions, anymore. Alvin Toffler says such people under-develop their countries because ‘they can’t learn, unlearn and relearn’.

‘The Editors & Sustainable Democracy’.
We went to Asaba. We talked. We even conquered selves. We concluded in the presence of the central election management agency, INEC that indeed credible elections too could sustain democracy. Essentially, Nigerian mass media editors, the gatekeepers across platforms rose from the All Nigeria Editors’ Conference (ANEC2018) in the early hours of today in Asaba, Delta State, with a resolve that: no weapon fashioned against sustainable democracy in Nigeria shall prosper again. We also resolved that the principalities and powers that expect the print media to die soon because of the advent of citizen journalism would not have their way. Behold, media houses would live to declare profits soon in the land of the big disrupters. We have resolved to learn, unlearn and relearn to do data and investigative journalism, to save democracy in the world’s most populous black nation. So, help us God!