28th September, 2022
By Fredrick Nwabufo
Who wants a mob rule? It is off-putting when a miscellany of threadbare youths taken up in hate and seduced by ignorance unpack threats of violence and curses on people who differ with them on their political choice. Nobody wants a mob to hover around them with a scythe over who they choose to support or who they prefer. Nobody fancies a mob rule except the mob.
There is tyranny evidently effusive in the conduct of Peter Obi’s political soldiers. Tyranny of choice. If anyone supports any other candidate outside Peter Obi, presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), then they must have been bought or compromised, and are deserving of violent death and the plagues of Egypt.
This is both disingenuous and silly. It is fascist psychology. A rule by threats and fear. No one should be bullied for their political choice.
In the column, ‘There is a dictator in every Nigerian’, I coloured the pugnacious tendency of some youths who take up residence on the internet. We want to be heard, but we do not want to hear others. Even when we listen, it is not to understand but to muster ammunition for a truculent response. The falcon does not hear the falconer. We have become so regimented in our cerebration that any view which does not follow a “popular solitary narrative’’ is blitzed, and the messenger assailed ruthlessly.
It must be our way or the highway to hell. A straitjacket opinion dominates the landscape and all contrary perspectives sentenced to silence. If you dare to think different or say different, you are cancelled, ridiculed, vilified, slandered and threatened. In our world, everyone must be on the bandwagon of the solitary narrative. Is this not a tyranny of opinion? Are we not dictators?
Peter Obi’s army must understand that after the elections, comes governance. If he by some conspiracy of destiny, which is unlikely, wins the 2023 presidential election, how does he hope to govern the country when his foot soldiers are dangling a sword over those who differ?
I have been a sponge for the bellicosity of this Red Army and the like. I have been verbally abused and threatened. I am often reminded that I am Igbo, and so I must support Peter Obi or risk living with the tag of a quisling for the rest of my life. What happens to respect for divergent opinions and choices?
Let me share one of such threats. This is from a nondescript number which has been persistent in hounding me. Read abridged and as sent: ‘’This only confirms what we have always known. That you are just a sick, spineless, self-hating, sadistic, corrupt and cowardly villain who can kill your own people for a pot of porridge. You are a disgrace to yourself and your family. An outcast to all. Cursed is the womb that bore a sick, sadistic and shameless traitor like you. By your manifest self-hating bias and evil mindedness; people like you have worked to sustain Nigeria’s fault-lines and consequent misrule. You are cursed and will remain Cursed for the rest of your life. At a time, the youths in the country are rejecting the old guard that destroyed Nigeria, you chose to side with the corrupt devil. You have cursed yourself without knowing it.’’
This is what I put up with for my thoughts – from people with whom I share the same ethnic origin.
The 2023 presidential election is no longer about equity, but about realpolitik. Even though deserving of the presidency, the south-east failed to prepare and do the groundwork for power at the centre ahead of time. That ship has sailed; this is the sad reality we must contend with. But we should begin now to forge alliances and build for future elections.
As I often say, if we divide the country during the campaigns, we will have to live with the consequences of presiding over a divided people. If the purpose of seeking power is for the good of all, then we must begin by keeping the campaigns clean. What is the good of power when the next government will spend the next four years struggling to mend fences and manage diversity without success? We will be reinventing a parlous wheel. If we sow hate during the campaigns, we will reap hate afterwards. The travails of the past seven years should teach us not to make campaigns about ethnic and religious prejudices, threats and curses.
We should hear one another. If you insist only your way must stand, how are you different from Idi Amin? Dictatorship stirs resistance. When you come to people from a position of tyranny, naturally they will resist you. This is a normal human reaction. No one wants to be dictated to, no one wants to be pushed around or made to feel like an indentured slave. We should hear one another.
Peter Obi’s Red Army must retreat from this regime of tyranny.
-Nwabufo aka Mr OneNigeria is a writer and journalist.