Just yesterday, we were saying Happy New Year, and now it’s the finale of the first quarter already. In my opinion, every word, thought and action should be very intentional and purpose-driven; simply because there is no time. I cannot coman be playing around, doing second wise, hour foolish. Nope, not me!
And harsh as it may sound, that is how I view the set of people who this piece by Vincent Nzemeke is centred on – time-wasters. In this timely session at The Lectern, Vincent tackles the hailers and the wailers, those who sacrifice constructive criticism for blind praise-singing or mud-slinging. In his words which you will soon devour for yourself, they are ‘sycophants … petty … dimwitted’ and I totally agree with him.
In spite of drawbacks and numberous failings, we march forward hopefully, in this new month of March. And we do so in the company of men and women who first sit to constructively pick cases apart, before speaking out in favor of the big picture, objectively. As for the hailers, and the wailers, just stay dia.
Happy March, everybody.
Wailers, hailers and presidential moments
It seems to me that as long as Muhammadu Buhari remains the president of Nigeria, there will be no place for neutrality. With this government, there is no sitting on the fence. You are either a wailer or a hailer. There is no room for an ordinary citizen whose only desire is the progress of the Nigerian project.
To fully grasp the acrimonious nature of our politics today, spend an hour on Twitter and Facebook to read what Nigerians are saying about salient national issues. If you are not an active social media user then just spare some minutes to go over the comments at the end of a news report or an opinion article published on the website of any of the country’s major newspapers and you will agree that you are either a wailer or a hailer.
The hailers have their jobs cut out for them. Their task is to defend the present administration and to a hilt despite its glaring errors. Those in this camp are the ones averse to any form of criticism however constructive it may be. They are the ones who see Buhari as a demigod who is infallible and can do no wrong. The hailers come after you on Twitter and Facebook for expressing contrary opinions on some of the activities of the present government. They are sycophants!
The wailers are worse. They are petty, dimwitted and only interested in talking for the fun of it. This group is peopled by those still suffering from the post-election trauma – people who just can’t let go of the grief of losing an election that took place almost a year ago. They are the ones who are never slow in sharing photos of the President sitting behind another country’s flag at an international event. They are the ones who frequently whine about his accent, mannerisms and other mundane issues. For the wailers, as long as a man who is not Goodluckk Jonathan holds the reins, nothing good can happen in Nigeria.
So when patriotic Nigerians such as Seun Onigbinde and his friends at BudgITng devote their time and other resources to scrutinize the 2016 budget and reveal that it is just another governmental scam, the hailers sulk, the wailers jeer, while Nigeria and its unborn generations suffer.
When as an ordinary Nigerian I express my views on why the president should cut down on his trips abroad and stay back in Nigeria to attend to pressing needs, the wailers call me brother and the hailers call for my head.
That is the problem the Buhari phenomenon has created. The public space is now occupied by diehard followers willing to help the government spread its propaganda rather than question it and opposition wannabes too lazy and intellectually lethargic to come up with constructive arguments or offer credible alternatives.
Take the 2016 budget as an example. The revelations are alarming but rather than being enraged and disappointed by a government that came to power with a promise of change, Nigerians are calling themselves out at every public space.
The wailers who only see issues through the prism of ‘Jonathan versus Buhari’ are making harebrained comparisons that are beneficial to no one while the hailers as usual think it is a witch hunt aimed at bringing down a popular government. Hence, they are willing to catch a grenade for the president. They would do whatever is required to help Buhari and his handlers pass the buck that naturally stops at his table.
These developments bode ill for Nigeria as a country. We cannot move forward if we insist on doing things the same way that brought us to this sorry state.
Regardless of our political differences, Nigerians must realize that building a nation is a collective task. Wailers have to understand that being in opposition is not a license to cast aspersions on the president and condemn every initiative. It is rather a privilege to be in the forefront of holding the government accountable, offering pragmatic alternatives and making sure that the collective aspirations of the citizens are realized.
Hailers must also be told that there is a limit to propaganda. Inventing excuses for every failure, praising the president at every turn, bandying unverified figures to boost rating, selling half-truths and outright lies may work at the infant stages of this administration but in the long run the people will get tired of it.
President Buhari himself still has a lot of work to do. He needs to understand that great presidents take advantage of presidential moments. Buck-passing was one of the reasons Jonathan was not re-elected and Buhari cannot afford to repeat the same mistakes.
The president must learn to take advantage of precious moments to reassure those who gave him the mandate with their votes that he is up to the task. These frequent lamentations and buck-passing won’t cut it all the time.
By Vincent Nzemeke
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