Given the emerging consensus on the future of Nigerian society that is emerging from a certain broad-based confederacy of emotion and hysteria, unable to resist the lures of expedient catharsis whenever transient but illegal developments feed into its prejudices, Nigeria’s military authorities will one day wake up and single-handedly proscribe the internet with zero recourse to the civil authorities and institutions responsible for supervising the military – and they can expect to do this to popular acclamation.
We will only avoid this impending doom if the society has a sizeable number of thought producers willing to cut through the crap, risk being called names – sympathizers and all that jazz -, resist the lures of flowing with the wind of popular hysteria, and insist on the envisioning of a fair and just society for us all where our children will not grow up thinking it is okay to fight threats, hot air or illegality with even more illegality; fight unconstitutionality with even more unconstitutionality, so long as it is expedient, convenient, and feeds into the mass psychological jouissance of the moment.
A confederacy of intellectual clear-headedness must emerge to confront this perilous moment if our march towards legality, institutional integrity, civilized process, as wobbly as it is, is not to be completely doomed.
There is a reason Donald Trump is unable to undermine institutions and due process and is reduced to a mere “were dun wo ko se bi lomo” on Twitter.
If he could, he would long have long declared Black Lives Matter a terrorist organization to feed the mass psychology and popular hysteria of his base. However, there are processes and institutions on that road. It is a long-winding road from Congress to numerous committees in the State Department to Judges to the National Security Council – all civil institutions – before the designation is finally announced by the State Department.
Medal-bedecked Army Generals cannot just gather on the podium of the Pentagon and begin to issue statements proscribing anything.
We must be willing to risk being called names to fight for civilization in Nigeria. We cannot have a people and public sphere governed entirely by military statements and proclamations.