President Muhammadu Buhari
The extent to which Nigerians have fragmented along ethno-religious components can only be measured in the direction of wish list drafted along unfortunate cleavage based perspectives.
The nation is balkanised, serially polarised and dangerously fired up with hate agenda hot enough to make the sun shy of how cold it before the hate heat. The recent death rumour of President Muhammadu Buhari across social media platforms is only a reflection of how some segment of Nigerians would want to bury the President just for mischief value occasioned by the unabated hate mantra wielded across the country.
Who could the possible culprits of the death rumour be? Is it those calling for an independent country, or those who believe the present administration favours a religious group, or those who believe his death will shift power from the North, or those corrupt politicians who loath the fight against corruption, etc?
Nigerian leaders since 2011 have suffered ethno-religious rejection, culminating into what Buhari is experiencing. For former president Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, some Northerners see him as the worst president ever produced in the country.
The war against terror was used to measure his administration and the thirst of the North to get their “mandate” back formed a blinding shield to whatever good intentions he had for the country. An evil seed is already growing in the country. It is difficult to predict where the hate mantra will take Nigeria. The issue of a collective heritage is fast eluding us.
Those who set off the rumour understand the extent of our gullibility as a country in swallowing information without filtering.
For me, it is sad how we mostly allow ourselves to be part of those who made the news go viral. Authors of the death rumour know Nigerians will take the information to the next level of hate.
Only a few may foolishly believe it, the other divides used the information to unleash hate speeches. Those in support of Buhari, used it to release avalanche of curses at those perceived against him, the other divide used it to gloat, hoping to draw flaks. It is instructive to intimate that Nigerians are already fighting a virtual war on social media platforms.
The heat coming from the wave of assault hauled at perceived enemies is only waiting for a physical base to trigger off a full scale war between North, South, Christians and Muslims. Let no one make any mistake, we are more divided than we have ever been since independence.
We have more reasons to hate ourselves based on ethnic, religious cleavage with leaders who have axe to grind with the system based on complicity over corruption fanning the embers for the rest to blow hot steam. We have the social media platforms showing us real and doctored images of carnages to drive even the simple minded towards murderous tendencies.
We have the very corrupt throwing monies around to make governance difficult by selling terrorism to distract governance and promote fragmentation of our nation. On the top of the chain of events, the politicians Nigerians are building forces to fight or protect are simply enjoying their lives.
To make matters worse, they are relating with themselves in the most civil way they can while the hailers and wailers are daggers drown, ready to slaughter each other for these class of individuals who only care for themselves. Hate was once directed at Jonathan until it consumed him, now hate is hovering on Buhari and poised towards drowning him.
The culture of seeing Nigerian leaders along regional, ethnic, religious divides has begun like a roaring monster. The hate culture may fester and even worsen as we move up the ladder of cleavage based politics. Nigerians need to correct the mistake grounded immediately after the death of President Umar Musa Yar’Adua.
The ethno-religious card will certainly do the country under. Nigerians are no longer praying for their president to succeed, instead, they hope the one “representing” another ethno-religious divide should fail.
We must evaluate our democratic practice. Americans sold democracy to us. Even for the Americans, democracy has over simplified everything. I must confess, our democracy should be evaluated to fit into our own cultural underpinnings. If China is succeeding as a one party country, we must find a system that accommodates our differences.
It is indeed instructive for us to understand that the kind of democratic practice we are operating is changing, taking a turn for the worse. Aside the hate mantra, our political system must be fashioned to fit our peculiarities.
Mr. Israel Ebije, a public affairs analyst, wrote from Abuja.