The recent ban on Twitter in Nigeria by President Muhammadu Buhari, PMB has again raised concerns about the present administration’s democratic credentials.
The government seems to be at variance and averse to a governance model which, ordinarily, it is supposed to be championing, deepening and strengthening. Buhari’s administration rather than do the needful appears to be much more at home and comfortable with the martial language of authoritarianism as demonstrated by its seeming rash and illogical action against social media network, Twitter, which it banned its operations in the country, recently.
The government had wielded the big stick on Twitter following the popular social media platforms deleting of a tweet by President Buhari which it claimed violated its “Abusive Behaviour Policy”
The tweet in question it should be recalled was the “threat by the president to deal ruthlessly with South East agitators” over alleged violence and destruction of public infrastructure.
Because Nigeria is a democracy one had ordinarily expected that the president would have availed himself of the many civil avenues to seek redress in a democracy, in the wake of Twitter’s action.
Shockingly, however, he opted for the heavy handed reaction reminiscent of a bull in a Chinese shop and under one week after that military like action, the country and not Twitter, seems to be losing the battle.
The country’s already battered, bruised and globally maligned image is experiencing an all time low perception. You don’t need to look far to come to grips with this reality as the joint statement by US, UK, EU, Canada and Ireland condemning the ban more than tells the story.
Beyond image slurring , experts and concerned Nigerians have drawn attention to its deleterious consequences on the country’s never ending search for Foreign Direct Investment, FDI. According to those who know,that step sent a very wrong signal to the investing world, with the likely outcome being drastic drop in FDI inflow.
It is also feared that even those already on ground may pack and exit the country to avoid losing their hard earned funds.
The same way the country is presently facing uncertain times abroad, it has been predicted that its domestic woes will heighten significantly following the Twitter debacle.
Most national newspapers splashed those anticipated negative consequences in their banner headlines in the Monday, 7 June 2021 publications. The numerous minuses of the ban which they listed include destabilization of the country’s $12b e- commerce ecosystem; losses by companies estimated to hit the region of over N50bn in one month, job losses, as well as stifling of free speech.
Indeed, looking at the avalanche of demerits occasioned by the ban, it goes without saying that the economic woes of the country, businesses and citizens will certainly go through the roof.
This looming scenario is unacceptable and unwelcome. Nigerians have already suffered enough under the present adminstration and so, do not deserve to be pushed from frying pan into fire.
We are therefore calling on president Buhari presidency to swallow its pride and subsume its personal or narrow interests under national interests and immediately rescind the ban on Twitter.
That is the wish and desire of Nigerians who elected him and as servant of the people he is duty bound to hearken to the voice of Nigerians.