OPINION: The tyranny of consensus – by Pius Adesanmi
I congratulate the President, the President’s supporters, and the Presidency. They have achieved a feat that President Trump and his handlers can only dream of: a consensus of silence and avoidance.
President Trump and his handlers have been heehawing to their hearts’ content, they have not been able to foist a consensus of silence and avoidance of issues on the American populace. Nobody is silent on Russia; nobody is avoiding talking about Jared Kushner, General Flynn, etc.
The rightwing media and the conservative machinery have been on steroids. All in vain. The right to query, the right to ask questions, the right to expression are still on display in the American public sphere because they are indissociable from the right to be human. Once you relinquish these rights, you are a thing.
Resisting the sort of blackmail and intimidation that would make you slide into silence and consensus is therefore a critical foundation of your humanity.
The last time I heard about President Buhari, Sahara Reporters was whispering that Mrs. Aisha Buhari had gone to London. Only Sahara Reporters has dared to retain the right to whisper.
Aside this detail, nothing. Silence. People have been so intimidated, so blackmailed by the President’s supporters who claim that the exercise of one’s civic duty to query, to question, to demand answers about the President’s condition, is tantamount to treason. Everybody is thus silent.
Nobody wants to be labelled inhuman by these hordes so the nation has slumped into silence and avoidance. However, this is an argument that the intimidators must not be allowed to win, hence defying them or cracking coconuts on their heads must now be seen as part of your civic obligation to Nigeria. If you allow compatriots to intimidate you into silence about your own President, you are finished.
You cannot ask because they say you are inhuman.
You cannot ask because they say you lack empathy.
You cannot ask because they say you wish him dead.
The only allowable utterance: pray for the President.
I warn you that you must resist jejune blackmail and assert your right to query.
I warn you that you must swat petty intimidation and send your voice on patriotic errands of critique.
It is your right to know. It is your duty to ask and ask again.
What is the status of the President?
Who is paying?
If we are paying, how much have we paid thus far?
Is he in any condition to continue when he returns?
Why is resignation taboo?
You have to keep asking these questions and make the Presidency and the merchants of consensus uncomfortable. That is your higher duty to Nigeria. The emotion of the blackmailers and the personality cultists is of no moment. How they feel is their own funeral. We are talking Nigeria here.
The other day, Babatunde Rosanwo was on Oluwakayode Olumide Ogundamisi’s show with Lauretta Onochie and Aisha Yesufu.
My most important takeout from the show, apart from Rosanwo’s brilliant performance of his duty to country and fatherland, is the phone-in from one moron who accused Aisha Yesufu of daring to touch “a no-go area” – by calling for the President’s resignation in her now viral video.
A no-go area? There is something that some citizens have decided that their compatriots cannot say about the President’s obligations to them in a democracy?
Whenever I see Babatunde Rosanwo and Kayode Ogundamisi, I will crack a coconut on their heads for allowing that stupid statement to pass without commentary. I thought they were going to educate the fellow who phoned in.
“Mr President, resign” is not a no-go area in a democracy. Every citizen has the right to that utterance. Every citizen must also recognize your own right to say: “Mr President, do not resign.” Then we state our respective positions and see who has superior logic.
It is true that there are callow carping, diseducated misanthropes who, blinded by ethno-religious animus, are openly rooting for the President’s death. I have no opinion about such fringe lunatics because I opine only about human beings.
However, it is just as odious, just as atrocious to exploit the depravity of such characters as a basis for deligitimizing those who are exercising their right to query and inquire; those who demand accountability and information as a right.
You cannot use the position of marginal misanthropes as a basis to intimidate and blackmail those are raising legitimate questions about the President.
When you are constantly blackmailing and intimidating and silencing, when all you allow your fellow citizens to do is to pray for the President, failing to do which they are evil, inhuman, and lacking empathy, I’m afraid you are no different from the misanthropes. You are just being tyrannical in a different way.
Every day the President is away, exercise your right to ask questions. Keep pressing. Keep querying.