“The only way to get the society to truly change is to frighten people with the possibility of a catastrophe” – Daniel Botkin
Perhaps the only person in this country allowed or is guaranteed the freedom to tell lies and run with it is the current Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed who has successfully and indisputably established his consistency in this regard. From his alarmist soapbox he tells a bewildered nation and the global community that the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its Presidential candidate in the February 23, 2019 election, Atiku Abubakar are planning a violent overthrow of President Muhammadu Buhari’s government.
He says it with all the authority of a federal minister and spokesperson of the government making you shudder that it could be true. But the antecedent of the messenger tells a lot about the message he heralds. If a media channel is known or associated with unsubstantiated news, the public hardly reacts to its news no matter its weight.
Only a Lai Mohammed can make such wild and dangerous allegations without any substantive proof and it would not have the deserved consequences. “oh it’s said by Lai Mohammed, I beg forget it lets move on”, one social media activist wrote in reaction to the above brazen accusation. When you see the cloud gather in the sky even without weather man’s prediction you can begin to expect that rain is coming.
There is always a sign that predates an event. In politics when you start seeing certain signs that make government begins to show sudden uncontrollable fear or anxiety leading to their talking from both sides of the mouth, you are free to worry and get apprehensive about the stability of the government in power.
Two main factors can led to a government being in such state, one, when it’s enjoying questionable mandate, two when it has not been able to deliver the needed good governance or even both. There are signs for a dying government that has been having issues of legitimacy or the goodwill of the governed. The global community recently saw it in Zimbabwe with the ageless Robert Mugabe and in Sudan with the maximum leader Omar Al-Bashir.
When their legitimacy was going down they were busy multiplying the confusion in their country fooling the people until their cup got filled up. When a government keep shouting of subversion, accusing imaginary persons as trying to disrupt the system without any evidential proof know it that the gap between them and the people are widening and it’s making them uncomfortable. Unsure of who and who is with them, they release imaginary alarm news accusing perceived enemies.
In a democracy, the best security of a government is the people and you get the people when you deliver on good governance. If there is no good governance in a democracy, it would get to a point where even the security operatives themselves will be afraid and that is when you see them groping and searching for fantasy enemies. That appears to be what is happening now in the country where all sorts of nervous statements are coming up from both government officials and security operatives. Minister of Information, Ministry of Defence, Chief of Army Staff the DSS and the Inspector-General of Police all talking of subversion with no evidence to show.
Even the irrepressible sycophants are getting exhausted with their praise singing and the selling of a non-existent and unable to see achievements. Having just ‘won’ an election and supposed to be swimming in the euphoria of their victory ahead of forming government, this regime incredulous of their victory, are afraid and uncomfortable about the feeling of the people.
This country is not new to all these kind of shenanigans but once you start seeing these signs begin to adjust your seat because even government themselves are uncertain of the situation. We saw it during the late Gen. Sani Abacha days when late Wada Nas will be needlessly heating up the polity to cause a deliberate scare in the system for an opportunity to misbehave and act in most uncivil manner.
What is happening with the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) is akin to what happens to somebody who steals ones good and anticipates his violent reaction of possibly ‘soaking the monkeys and baboons in blood’ but got none and instead of running away with his stolen goods, now turns to blame the victim. The only thing that kills rumour in a government is good performance.
The last time this nation was put on edge the way it is now with coup rumour was exactly two years ago, May 2017 with a ‘missing’ President then who had vamoosed to London on medical treatment shortly after he spent over 50 days with a strong rumour of his living and dying amidst a stagnant economy.
Then political and military circles were swirling with rumours that some unknown persons were discussing a military coup in the country. Precisely on May 16, 2017, the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai had issued a statement claiming that the Army “received information that some individuals have been approaching some officers and soldiers for undisclosed political reasons.” The political uncertainty then similar to the situation now that informed the phantom talks had more to do with President Buhari’s health and the possibility of having Vice President Yemi Osinbajo succeed him and of course plus the economy that was into recession.
What am saying in essence therefore is that when a government is in trouble and apparently unable to proffer solutions to the challenges before it, it introduces a strategy aimed at diverting attention and looking for a scapegoat. The current coup talk started just like in 2017 when Buhari was away on a seven-day private visit in London, and again as he jetted out to Saudi Arabia, Lai Mohammad came narrowing the coup suspects to the opposition party and their Presidential flag bearer. This is amidst barrage of problems erupting across the country for which the administration has shown clearly it has no idea what to do.
The ‘technically defeated ‘Boko Haram has been surging on killing and inflicting enormous injuries on our troops and civilians in the North-East with no measurable response from the government. The bandits have gone on rampage coming even close to power house whisking away a district head and a relation of the President in his own home state of Katsina and killing hundreds in Zamfara and Sokoto states.
In other northern states, the literarily abandoned youths have gone into an uncontrollable behaviour chasing their rich men out of town. Amidst all these, APC governments in Plateau and Kano states are busy pouring fuel into a flame with their creation of Emirates in a vendetta mission aimed at settling scores with perceived political opponents. If the polity is too tensed for comfort due largely to the inept approach of government to serious issues, instead of security operatives standing up to tell administration the hard truth about the real intelligence, they wilfully join them in idle phantom talks about coups.
This is what you get when commanders overstay their welcome in their duty posts and becomes no longer professionals but highly politically exposed officers. After the hoax of 2017 Nigerians waited for evidence and it never came, ditto in 2019 no evidence will come. Let’s just hope and pray that in the midst of all these that some overzealous ambitious persons will not sneak in and disrupt our democratic journey after all we are the one reminding the grasscutter of bites after it kept its teeth hidden until the hunter came showcasing the grass to it. But all said and done while coup is being talked, about the real danger is loading, erudite fiery Catholic priest Rev. Fr. George Ehusani calls it ‘the revenge of the poor’ which he says is already at the corner. We should therefore all be concerned about this because when it arrives, nobody, not even the soldiers would be free. By this I am not being an alarmist like the Nigeria military or Lai Mohammed but only addressing some obvious concerns. God help Nigeria in distress.
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