Nigeria's Twitter Ban
It is no surprise that the government of the world's most populous country - the self acclaimed giant of Africa, Nigeria banned twitter from its airspace. What caught most people by surprise is the reason for the ban. According to the nation's misinformation minister - Lai Mohammed, twitter is a private company, hence has no right to delete the presidents tweet, that out rightly stands against the regulations of twitter community. Imagine a visitor, blaming the house owner for shutting his door against, buglers. A case study of Nigeria.
Nigeria once experienced a civil war, that saw the death and starvation of millions adults and children alike. To many Nigerians and those who understand this era - it was the birth of Biafra insurgence. An agitations by the marginalized easterners who wants a better/equal treatment in both civil matters, infrastructural development and political involvement. It is history's national day to remember fellow Nigerians and their struggle for a better Nigeria. Instead, the president threatened the region in unreserved words. Offended Nigerian reported the tweet as offensive and twitter happened.
Occurrence like the, Chibok girls kidnap saga by politicalized terrorist group, Boko-Haram, military killings of peaceful protesters as early in history as 2020, without justice and accountability, be-heading of innocent civilians on live stream over the years and 2021's kidnap of almost 200 university students just to mention a few, met little or no response by a leader who lacks the ability empathize and communicate the same, effectively. When he finally speaks out, it comes out as rude, comedic and dictatorial in intent and delivery and lack professional or leadership nuance. Twitter deleted an insensitive tweet; the same government, sprang to action in 24-48hrs. They are alive after-all.
Anyways, Twitter stands by their decision and has expressed sadness at the government action. Nigerians are even more agitated. Nigeria leaders are ill bent on tackling firewood fire with gun-powder. VPN has been trending hitherto. Trust, Nigerians to find a way around it yet unfortunately, twitter is the most effective avenue for Nigerian people to engage their government official as it is the case across the world. For some, it is a source of income or at least, support their source of income.
This development is actually a big deal because, how can an elected government, govern those who democratically elected them especially, when it becomes impossible, ineffective or costly to communicate with a those who elected them? Well, Facebook has taken a similar action. They deleted the same tweet, twitter stand against. Since, Facebook owns WhatsApp and Instagram. Perhaps a Facebook ban is en-route.
Why is this important?
Nigeria is an entity and just like any business, they requires an effective communication outlet. Such outlet must be free, easily accessed by all and reliable. Twitter fills that space in countries like Nigeria for free. Announcement, updates information and national engagements are delivered therein. It seem inevitable, that nation is heading for another lengthy civil unrest. It is no surprise, it is referred to by some, as a "ZOO". A shaky foundation gets even closer to complete collapse.
Twitter Ban Effective - What happens to Nigerian citizens who conduct forms of business or its customer engagement via twitter as a source of income, especially in a space when the same government is an abysmal failure? Who fills this economic loophole and how? What happens to the confidence of those who use other social media platform as a voice or source of income? They are currently in fear, perhaps their platforms are next. What happens to the confidence of the average citizen to voice his/her opinion about issues concerning his/her polity? Is there an alternative for the Nigerian government cum governed communication and engagement? How will the government tailor its policies viz a viz the demands of the people, when they have closed channels of communication and engagement? Is it even possible to lead those, who you have refused to hear from?
Dear Nigerian Leaders, It is normal for pained individuals to voice their pain. When you take away that voice, that pain becomes an ingredient for uncontrollable agitations of the pained man.
I weep for my country. I pray for Nigeria.