I blame the handlers of President Muhammadu Buhari for leading him into the Twitter nest. In the first place, how could they have allowed the President of the largest Black nation in the universe to be chirruping like a bird? Worse still, he would have been lured to tweeting any time of the day like a norctunal owl or witch. Yes, it is witches who join nocturnal birds in the night to fly and tweet as they seek hapless humans to suck their blood.
In the first place, Buhari had no need for Twitter; he has at his beck and call huge television networks like the Nigeria Television Authority, NTA whose reach cannot be beaten, radio networks like the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria, FRCN with its ubiquitous reach, the Voice of Nigeria, VON which is loud and clear across the world and the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN whose reach across the world is instantaneous. Any of these, and numerous private media networks in the country are ever willing to carry any message by our President even if all he does is cough.
The unpatriotic conspirators even went to the extent of getting the Commander-in-Chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces to agree to the humiliating terms of Twitter. So when that giant social media witch decided to do Buhari in by taking down his message to Igbo youths in the country that he is going to deal with them in the language they will understand, it was nothing but public humiliation. Who does that and get away with it? Buhari is a Field Marshall, and no person of such rank would be confronted in a battle and shy away, or lose.
Therefore, where so called powerful Presidents like then American President Donald Trump backed away from battling Twitter which had similarly humiliated them in public, Buhari pulled off the plugs, de-activating the estimated 40 million twitter users in the country. For this monumental victory over Twitter, even the mercurial Trump doffed his hat, saluting Buhari and sending him a congratulatory message acknowledging his leadership role in the universal war against tech giants.
To taunt Twitter, the Buhari government had gone on Twitter to announce its immediate ban; it is nothing but courageous to go on enemy territory and fight him. When the government discovered that millions of Nigerians were sidestepping the ban by using VPN, it announced it was going to put them on trial. Imagine the courage of a government putting millions of its citizens on trial simultaneously. Who knows, the government might be clearing islands, hundreds of kilometres land and forests like Sambisa to use as prison camps because even if all the 220 Correctional Centres in the country are emptied of their 65,292 inmates including pre-trial inmates and those on remand, they cannot contain a tiny fraction of these Twitter law breakers.
Forget those Nigerian professional agitators who are pointing out that there is no law banning Twitter or its use; of what use is a Nigerian government whose word is not law? Some media even joked that when Mr. Shehu Malami, our chief law officer and Attorney General of the whole Nigerian Federation which includes territories held by Boko Haram, the Islamic State, bandits, IPOB and Yoruba self-determination groups, decided to de-activate his Twitter account, he used the VPN. What they do not know is that in the eye of the government Malami who also doubles as the Minister dispensing justice in the country, has immunity.
What can be more annoying to the Buharists is that those disobeying the ban include elderly, well-educated intellectuals-turned leaders of the Lord’s flock like Pastor Enoch Adeboye Of the Redeemed Christian Church of God who turned 79 on March 2, and William Kumuyi, General Superintendent of the Deeper Christian Life Ministry who turned 80 on June 6. Is it that such men have not read Matthew 22:21 or Mark 12:17 where Jesus Christ directed people to “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what belongs to God”?
I am afraid that those who misled Buhari to the Twitter nest have not backed away, they are pushing him to use the Indian micro blog, Koo. How can President Buhari be Koo, kooing like a lost bird? We must leave all these birds alone. I have heard it somewhere that Nigeria has been unable to fly like other developing countries because of the static eagle atop its coat of arms. That our national team, the Flying Eagles might also have been unable to soar for years now for the same reason. In fact, it used to be called the Green Eagles, so when our team was not winning, there was an argument that green is not the colour of any eagle alive or dead. So the name was changed.
Not a few Nigerians believe that in demonology; the nocturnal bird and the witch are allies and interchangeable. In the early 1990s, the military imposed two political parties on the country; the Social Democratic Party, SDP with the horse as symbol and the National Republican Party, NRC with a bird as its icon. Now, traditional rulers were supposed to be politically non-partisan. So when an Emir decided to campaign for one of the parties, he told his subjects: “ When our forebears first came into this country, they rode on horses, therefore, we are not going to accept any type of bird (witchcraft) from anybody.”
The handlers of President Buhari must not push him into any bird-like organisation as it may send the wrong message to Nigerians. They must know that witchcraft is real; at least our laws so recognise. Sections 216 and 210 of our Criminal and Penal Codes says anyone found guilty of being a witch is liable to two years imprisonment. So they must distance the President from any accusation of being a lover of birds rather than of horses or cows.
Let me also caution that in exorcising Twitter and other nocturnal birds from our national life, there must be no compromise. They are full of intrigues and tricks. Just a few days after we courageously banned Twitter, the Federal Government was tricked into believing that the tech giant was now sober, pleading and ready to do the bidding of the Buhari government. In excitement, the government announced it was going into negotiations with Twitter where it would warn it against carrying messages that threaten the country’s existence. However, it has been silence from Twitter giving the impression that the government is not telling the truth.
We must ignore pressure from the same American Government that has been incapable of tackling Twitter, asking us to back down. Nigeria must exorcise Twitter and other witches permanently from our national life.