Dining With The Nigerian Devil (Alice In Naijaland)
If you want to go dining with the devil, you must bring an excessively long spoon. That is a saying lots of Nigerians are familiar with.
It is probably true too.
But if you opt to go dining with Nigeria’s ruling class, they believe you have lost every right to criticize them. Constructively or otherwise.
We have seen this play out with “intellectuals” and “influencers“. Many of them spent a long time not just criticizing, but attacking the Goodluck Jonathan-led government.
When Muhammadu Buhari got elected and they got appointed into government, a lot of people expected this to herald a change in attitude.
Lo and behold, this government has been the most allergic to criticisms, opinions, and oppositions of any democratic government since independence.
Journalists, analysts, and citizens alike are being arrested and detained. Even without court orders.
State governors act like demigods. They know the man in Abuja cannot speak against their actions because he is just as guilty.
If not a thousand times more.
Some of these young government appointees watched in silence as the government retrogressed in performance and respect for rule of law. They kept quiet when their former comrades in the struggle for a better Nigeria were getting locked up left, right, and center.
When a few of them eventually found their voice, they got locked up just as fast.
My dilemma right now is am I supposed to sympathize with them? Am I to leave the one thousand and one other things wrong with Nigeria and start fighting for their right to expression?
If only they had put pressure on their principals from inside while we were applying pressure from outside.
Maybe if a few of them had tendered their resignation in protest to the disrespect for human rights by their principals.
Then maybe we wouldn’t have to start the struggle afresh with each lock up.
I will not liken Nigeria’s ruling class to the devil. He must be wondering where they got their own heartlessness from.
Either way, if you must go dining with the Nigerian devil, don’t do it from Nigeria.
Or at least, get out of the devil’s lodge and dining table before you start fighting him.