• Wednesday, February 28, 2024
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To election agitators; freedom of speech is not freedom from consequences

To election agitators; freedom of speech is not freedom from consequences

Initially, I wanted to advise Yusuf Datti Baba-Ahmed that his freedom of speech is not his freedom from the consequences of his remarks. I decided to expand the scope of my advice to all the election agitators to allow Nigeria’s electoral process to take its course.

Datti went overboard by making some divisive comments on national television, stating that swearing in Tinubu would be unconstitutional. His remarks were interpreted as a coup amidst calls for an interim federal government to replace our democracy. Though I have questioned the impacts and the extravagance of our democracy, I have never considered having the military back to power in Nigeria.

Throughout history, the military government destroyed Nigeria’s peace and unity, contributing to the gross inequality, highhandedness, and entitlement of some regions. Nigeria’s unity is a negotiated process, but the military with their guns turned it into a forced marriage where some people became more entitled and dominant to power even without the capacity to benefit their people.

Yusuf Datti cannot know the game of pursuing the presidency more than Atiku Abubakar, who holds the records of the most contested aspirant and the most returned unelected in Nigeria. Yet, Atiku, in his experience, is detailed and knowledgeable enough to limit himself and his utterance, unlike the novice Datti. In my opinion, Datti is among the selfish and opportunistic Nigerians whose ambition is ahead of the collective welfare of the poor masses. I will justify my assertion soon.

For not being elected the VP, Datti wanted to return the entire Nigerian people to the era of unconstitutional government

So, for not being elected the VP, Datti wanted to return the entire Nigerian people to the era of unconstitutional government. He wants to take us back to June 12, when people fled their primary place of residence and business for safety and back to the East.

Has Datti considered the impact of destabilising the government on the people? With an unexpected change, a change because the personal aspiration of Peter Obi and Ahmed Datti is not realised, we will be in more trouble, and the clamour for a divided Nigeria will be on the increase.

Instead of allowing the process and their challenge of the APC victory to follow the outlined pattern, people like Ahmed making utterances to disrupt the democratic process are nothing but a bunch of self-centred individuals lucky to be in the public space and seeking political power and relevance by all means including with the peace and blood of the innocent Nigerians.

Where was Ahmed Datti during the End-SAR movement? What was the role of Peter Obi and Ahmed Datti in the campaign and the call to stop police brutality? What people-oriented action have they participated in and influenced before their adoption as the Labour Party as flag bearers?

Undoubtedly, Peter Obi’s message and rhetoric succeeded in the election. He has lived a simple life, and his messages were connected to the suffering majority but to me, he is not the beautiful one. He is part and parcel of the group of politicians that are the leading disaster we have in Nigeria.

If you judge leadership by the outcome, the outcome of Nigeria’s political leadership, a country with vast human and natural resources is more than a disaster. Check the list of all the leaders who have ruled Nigeria, compare them with the state of affairs in our country, and you will see a team of people worse than a natural disaster.

So for Ahmed Datti to make inciting statements to stop the swearing-in of elected public officers is unfathomable and treasonable. He had faced his private businesses and made notable contributions to society before the Labour Party adopted him. He was never part of any national struggle against the government in the past.

Still, he was calling for anarchy because his personal interest in being the country’s vice president had been shattered. I am sure he must have been cautioned to retrain from putting his interest above the collective peace of the country through his refrained utterance. Ahmed, leave the work for the lawyers to do. Your freedom of speech doesn’t guarantee your freedom from the consequences of speech.

To all Nigerians, this is not the time to follow leaders whose interests are for them. They can fly their family out of the country if there is any unrest. If we check it out, they have houses outside the country and are ready to leave once you are forced into the commotion they have planned.

Whether you are with the election’s outcome or not, please let the process stipulated in the Constitution be followed. Constitutional provisions guide the conduct of the elections’ tribunals. We should be calm and allow lawyers that have been paid to prove their clients’ cases.

We should, for once, trust the judicial process and avert violence, as an option that is not only unconstitutional but destructive to the innocent Nigerians not covered by the political impunity and immunity available for the affluence and the political class.

Read also: NBC’s persistent fines threaten press freedom

Records show that the president-elect fought the military and was part of NADECO. He has traceable contributions to the good and mess we are in today. We should give him a chance to either clean the mess or mess us up further. One thing I am sure of is that no administration will perform below the outgoing administration. We are at the lowest ebbs, and it cannot be worse than this, even with a lunatic person in power.

We have seen a situation of over-promising and grossly underperforming, except for the railway system and the road infrastructure that had yet suffered Nigerians more than the anticipated benefits. With this in mind, the least anyone could do for Nigeria is to wish the next administration is resolved, determined and purposeful enough to make a difference.

In the process, I will charge all political agitators to be mindful of their utterances as their freedom of speech has no guarantee and prevention against them facing the consequences of their freedom of speech. If you use your mouth to call for the disruption of Nigeria, the law will disrupt you before you cause havoc for millions of innocent people.

There are limits and consequences to all freedom. Therefore your freedom of speech is without shield from the consequences. All troublemakers shall be made to account for their reckless statements.