Get Ready To Hit The Streets!!! Let The Whole World Know We Are Under A Siege Of Tyranny, And As A Result, Buhari’s Time Is Up And Needs To Go; By Rinu Oduala

This is an opinion piece by By Rinu Oduala.

This is the time to rise with everything in us. This move is a indicator of many worse decisions to come. This is about our future. This is about us as a nation! We can’t get tired now. This anger over losing jobs and a lot more must fuel us to act… Get back on Twitter… Let the whole world know we are under a siege of tyranny and as a result, Buhari’s time is up and he needs to go!

For far too long we have allowed the Nigerian government and the Buhari administration dismiss and downplay the impact and reach of social media on our culture, governance and economy. We let them lie blatantly about how we were simply wasting our time, called us miscreants, tried to delegitimise our collective power to advocate for ourselves on a global platform. We persevered, we mobilised, we crowdfunded, we advocated. But once our online power began to spill offline, into the streets of Akwuzu and Ikeja and Barnawa and Wuse, the government acknowledged us in the only way they seem to value; through reactionary violence.

How can we begin to explain or even make sense of the Nigerian government’s decision to ban a major source for real time news, activism, jobs and accountability?

How can a platform that helps citizens express their dissenting opinions on issues, provide a source of livelihood for people, be banned because the government woke up and wished it into existence?

Twitter, for over 10 years, has served as the primary medium for lightning fast dissemination of information, so powerful in its ability to reach global audiences that even the government was forced to adopt it to prop up its usually ineffective communication strategies. It has become a major information platform helping the government, private sector, businesses, to engage real-time with citizens.

I cannot recall the number of lives saved because of the quick responses from people via twitter; how many kidnap, rape cases, police harassment and extortion cases, armed robbery, mental health responses and breaking news we are able to get daily, because of the real-time nature of Twitter. Only last month, ordinary citizens rallied together to expose a rapist and murderer who had operated with impunity for years, protected, as evidence suggests, by the very law enforcement agencies that are supposed to prevent people like that from operating freely. We mourned the victim,

Inibong, as a nation and demanded for change as one voice.

Twitter is the engine which we use to navigate a failing state like Nigeria, and even the president acknowledged it in his swearing-in speech, how the platform aided his win at the polls.

However, on June 4, the current administration showed us how much it is defined by cowardice by suspending Twitter indefinitely. General Buhari of the 1984’s decree 4 is back. The ruse is done and the tyrant is back, but 2021 is not 1984.

Millions of Nigerians use Twitter as a democratised alternative to an incompetent government that refuses to prioritise the welfare of its citizens. Graduates have become micro influencers, bloggers, content creators, and built MSMEs, all of which will be affected by this ban. Through this move, the government has ensured that new businesses won’t come into the country.

This administration considers itself a supreme ruler rather than a steward of the electorate, and by banning social media, it has made it clear that Nigeria does not have a democratic government. This is as good as a military regime. It has come to steal, destroy and encourage killings.

It’s time everyone wakes up to see that this government has no plan for the people of Nigeria, other than to return the country to ground zero. Each time youths in this country bring up a plan/idea to survive, this government deliberately ensures we die of hunger and frustration. Mr President promised Nigerians in 2015, a more secure living environment, better economic opportunities, a more accountable government, and a country we can be proud of.

Has Mr President been able to give us all of the above?

We claim to operate a democracy and social media gave people an opportunity to participate in government. Government is a function of people’s participation. However, this government spends its time attacking criticism rather than do its job right.

This administration considers itself a supreme ruler rather than a steward of the electorate, and by banning social media, it has made it clear that Nigeria does not have a democratic government. This is as good as a military regime. It has come to steal, destroy and encourage killings.

In the last six years, we have not experienced what it is like to be Nigerian. The progress we voted for to make Nigeria a place of pride has not materialised. Citizens are treated as enemies of the nation or terrorists when they complain or express their anger.

For a government that has spent more than 2,000 days in office to still blame the opposition party for its failings shows that it has nothing to offer.

Nobody should fall for its tricks any longer.

We made jokes about Twitter setting up in Ghana, but we can see that it’s not our tweets that is keeping investors away, it is clamping down on private businesses that keeps investors away! This government is ready to unfairly target any business that sides with the people and upholds their inalienable rights.

Remember all this as we draw closer to the polls: There is no sector that this government can be scored 30 per cent in. Instead of this government to cover its face in shame, it is flexing its muscles.

We made jokes about Twitter setting up in Ghana, but we can see that it’s not our tweets that is keeping investors away, it is clamping down on private businesses that keeps investors away! This government is ready to unfairly target any business that sides with the people and upholds their inalienable rights.

What is left of our quality of life as citizen?

What is left of our dignity and respect as people of the world?

Has our President bothered to ask us like he did six years ago, if he can keep us safe when we travel to any part of the country? Are our lives better than it was six years ago?

This is the time to rise with everything in us. This move is a indicator of many worse decisions to come. This is about our future. This is about us as a nation! We can’t get tired now. This anger over losing jobs and a lot more must fuel us to act.

Get back on Twitter.
Get ready to hit the streets strategically!
Let the whole world know we are under a siege of tyranny and as a result, Buhari’s time is up and he needs to go!

Rinu Oduala, a Brand Strategist, was one of the prominent Activists of the #EndSARS campaign.

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