We Are Not All Jonathanians: The Right To Wail By Hemenseter Butu
It is a dangerous trend, one that seeks to summarily discount the opinion of others as irrelevant, or even untrue just because the opinion holder is perceived to be a PDP supporter or voted for Goodluck Jonathan. The term, I believe, that settles it all (particularly on the Twitterverse) when engaging in verbal fisticuffs, no matter how intellectually beneficial such an engagement is, is referring to that person as a “wailing wailer” or “Jonathanian”. At the mention of that name, every perceived enemy of the current national government blows up in smoke *puff*. That in itself is not such a bad thing, banter and counter banter is encouraged as it strengthens democratic discourse.
However, the way in which the derogatory index of such terms is rising and the sacrosanctness it has gained is troubling. I have seen where calling someone a wailer has ended a debate on twitter much in the same light as one would think only God Almighty could end something. Much to the cheering admiration of the other half.
You see, I don’t know how many people actually know this but people have the right to wail. They have the right to be Jonathanians and to lend their voices to every and anything they see wrong with the current national government. You know what’s more beautiful about that right? They need not have voted for any of the candidates to enjoy it. Hell, if they had voted for former president Goodluck Jonathan they’ll still enjoy that right regardless. Do you know why? President Muhammadu Buhari while taking his oath of office didn’t swear to uphold the constitution, territorial integrity, protect life and property of only those who voted him. He didn’t swear to be a President of the APC. He swore to be the president of Nigeria. Their president. So he answers to them because there are Nigeria citizens and that is the job he vied for. So you see we all have the express right to wail.? The fact that a few people think, only they can point out government shortcomings as rights ascribed to them for voting APC is wrong and funny even.
That been said, permit me to make my main point. I have reached the point of exasperation on this issue of people having to be GEJites, Jonathanians and wailing wailers. The monotonous thinking that one cannot stand for anything except PDP or APC, PMB vs GEJ, Amaechi vs Wike is both saddening and insulting all at once. The views of people are expressed based on the ambit of their thoughts, not of the interpreter. So when I oppose APC from presenting a corrupt candidate as a “change” candidate it is not because I am supporting PDP it is because I’m supporting Nigeria. Surely anyone with the mind of 5 year old with the ability to perform simple arithmetic functions knows that 180 million trumps a few individuals no matter how acute the perspective.
Not every voice that rises against the APC today is that of a Jonathanian. Certainly the mundanity of classifying everyone under those two groups is clear to anyone with a mind that reasons beyond binary. The trader in Wuse market just wants the economy to pick up so he can make money and send his daughter to school. He can care less about President Buhari or the PDP or even Biafra. The Fisherman in Otuoke just wants a new policy that helps him export hic catch to Ghana or process and can it. The same thing with the Yam farmer in Shendam and the wheelbarrow pusher in Kafanchan and the school girl in Konduga and the millionaire in Argungu etc. They are neither for Jonathan nor Buhari. They are for themselves.
I have observed with benign sadness, sometimes smiling, at the way these words as thrown around the social media. Denigrating and deprecating individuals with low self esteem, leaving a wake of scarred citizens who did nothing but express a counter view. Yet, some think social media should not be censored, just so they can continue to bully others unabated. Yet even the westerners who pride themselves as advocates of freedom have laws against cyber bullying. Well, back to the matter.
Truth is, we need an opposite side of every view. It is the very essence of a democracy. It is as important as free and fair elections, if not more. A docile opposition breeds complacency in leadership. Without a potent opposition to the last government, Nigeria would’ve lost $20 billion without any eyelid batting. That is plain dangerous, but not for the governing party or its loyalist it is dangerous for Nigeria.
So for our country’s sake, let the wailers wail. Let the Jonathanians spew their irrelevance, let both sides of the argument be aired and let Nigeria win from the ensuing debate.
Hemenseter Butu writes from Abuja – Nigeria. Follow him on twitter @HemButs??