Muddy waters make it easy to catch fish…. Chinese Proverb
In the face of an epidemic throe, one is not drawn away from Nigeria’s social media space which is never shorn of its abstractions, juvenile engagements and self-contradiction(s). From its robust engagement to the recursive embroilment in banter, there is a broad-sweeping plethora of readily available options.
First was the mix of umbrage and affirmations to a Twitter post(Tweet) by ex-CBN Deputy governor and Presidential candidate of the Young Progressive Party in the 2019 general elections, Prof. Kingsley Muoghalu. In his characteristic passionate presentation of his pedagogic analogy, had made reference to the price of the Brent crude oil in the market when he opined as quoted thus “I pray the oil price stays at $20 per barrel for the next five years. That should force some serious reforms in our economy, governance and politics. With no fund for FAAC allocation Nigeria will have to be restructured back to a real federation. We need to start thinking straight!”
The Tweet which received hundreds of responses, did not go down well with some section of the commenters who felt that as a member of the elite group of Nigerians, his statement was selfish and smacks of brinkmanship having benefited from the system which he speaks so ungainly of. The respondents who had in affirmation exemplified the prospects of a “No-Oil Nigeria” made further arguments in defence of the ex-apex bank chief.
While Prof Muoghalu’s tone might be unsuited for Nigeria’s current desire for an emotional massage following the recent lows in the price of its primary asset, his statement was obviously aimed at revisiting the premise of his campaign at the last election. Of a truth, the nature of his statement was an overdrive, but many a Nigerian critic has called for measures, even the extreme, to get Nigeria thinking again. These are critical times; placations are only precursors to self-destructive (ad)ventures. It will be myopic and self-flagellating to limit the broadness of the professor’s supposition to him still relieving the pains of defeat – as inferred by some of his hecklers. On this, Prof. Muoghalu, who isn’t by any means exempt from the elite Nigerians and their failure to rectify the country’s long-lasting economic quagmire was spot on with his prognostication.
ALSO READ: Muhammadu Buhari: A Style of Steel
In another breath, not one to be outdone in the course of actions and in an express binder to his unrestrained and unpresidential persona, and presumably dignified position as the spokesperson of the president, Mallam Garba Shehu, took banality to the NEXT LEVEL, ditto a notch higher by disparaging the vintage efforts and his pronounced distinguish abilities as a veteran journalist. Mr. Garba threw caution to the wind where he all but called Prof. Wole Soyinka names. Prof. Soyinka who had been a vocal supporter of the Buhari presidency countered the curfew imposed by the president on the nation’s capital Abuja, the country’s most infected state, Lagos, and Ogun state, which is a major recipient of the spill over activities from Lagos. The Nobel Laureate had called for the review of the president’s action which he tagged unconstitutional and illegal. In his words he inferred that the country was not in a war to warrant such an extreme measure.
Contrary to Prof Soyinka’s assertion, the world over, the corona virus epidemic has been treated like a war with most countries adopting extreme measures to contain the war. However, the measures and orders by the government have been violated by the elites who are the major vectors of the killer virus. It is in no doubt that the measures to contain the COVID-19 cannot at the moment, afford rounds of subjections to academic argumentations; notwithstanding the validity of their place. Therefore, it is well within the president’s remit to adopt measure that will see through this event.
Prof. Soyinka and others were right in their assertion of the law; that rule of law and the legality of the president’s action have to be married with constitutionality. These are desperate times and they call for desperate measures to contain the novel corona virus whose virulence and fatality have unsettled the world.
For a presidential media assistant, like Garba Shehu, the civility on the job at the moment could be an enduring respect that will outlive his stay as the president’s assistant. Mr Shehu’s emotion of a teaspoon has gotten him in uncomfortable positions. The last was an accusations of misplaced loyalty by no other person than the Wife of the President. It calls to question his realization that the job which he hides behind to attack perceived enemies of the president is a transient one.
Lately, Garba Shehu has been lacking in in decorum. In fact, his mannerisms in civil conversations give him off as one who got the job as an ill-fitting cap. There is a need to make reference to his status as a former President of the Nigerian Guild of Editors and his stint as the Vice-Presidential Spokesperson. It is expected that an established personality, who is supposedly a refined mind should be able to sift between needed conversations with the right tone from dogfights. It is quite unfortunate to see someone destroy years of labour under the deceitful guise of loyalty, and this is why in all respects, it is also necessary to allow professionalism lead.
In a democracy, the standout feature is the variegation of opinions. In liberal societies where public opinions shape the framework of public policy and verbal constructs, these divergent opinions are harped on as they simply provide valid models for assessing a leader’s acceptability, acceptance and exceptions. The President’s handlers and representatives must be careful of the booby trap that precipitated the downfall of President Jonathan and his party, the PDP. The public opinion in a participatory democracy set the pace for an easy assessment of the citizenry and the reach of governance. In the interest of Nigeria’s expansive communication, Mr. Garba and his likes have to misalign themselves from the praise-seeking public, for not only does it give a false negative bias, therein lies their downfall.
Follow me on Twitter @Kayce_Joshua