Nothing shows how hungry and angry Nigerians have become than the insane death wish, pervading the social media about a president, who is away on holiday and undergoes routine routine medical check in the process. The Internet literally went ablaze with wild rumours of the president being moved to emergency unit of a hospital in London and some dared say he might have passed away. Even photographs of President Muhammadu Buhari and Aisha at the holiday venue and that of the president at the dining table with an aide, did not assuage the death wish peddlers.
I do not make light of the economic recession and the attendant loss of jobs and general hardship across the land, but I do not see how death wish for the president would give the least of panacea. It is base, and to borrow the word of the late Ojo Maduekwe, idiotic for anyone to think that the president’s demise would bring the nation out of current economic challenge. Even if that campaign came from the camp of opposition, it does not detract from the idiocy of such rumour.
There is no chance in the world that death would revert power to the opposition as things stand. There is a vice president, who still has his root in the ruling party. That route is not the way to go, even in opposition. The way to go, which was a path well used by the ruling All Progressives Congress(APC), is the planned protest, which I hear is scheduled for Monday, February 10, in Lagos.
The proposal is a throw back to the days of fuel subsidy protests in Lagos. It used to be a carnival of sorts featuring popular musicians, actors and the like. Food and water were freely served and there were stories about transport allowance made available to some participants. Now the table has turned. A popular musician, Innocent Idibia, generally known as 2Face, is said to be the arrowhead of the impending protest. He has a large, following amongst young people and they are likely to heed his call.
The protest is to show displeasure with the current state of the economy and the attendant hardship, which has increasingly become pervasive. Young girls have become subtle whores, hawking themselves on Facebook and other social media outlets. They solicit for funds and do all sorts of things in the process. There are reports that people hardly have access to three meals In a day. The scarcity or high cost of cooking gas has forced wives to devise new but crude ways of making their meals.
The matter of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) is still brewing. All filling stations now sell the product at a flat rate of N145 (one hundred and forty five naira), an indication that something is about to happen. Before now they did not sell at a flat rate in Lagos. Some sold for prices lower than 145. That now belongs to the past. The tendency is that government would still spend large sums in subsidy.The alternative would be to send prices upwards, a situation that would lead to unplanned outburst, not any arranged protest, just a reaction that could snowball into something that could also be resistant to security personnel.
It makes sense that government has made categorical statements about making no moves to increase the pump price of petrol.
Returning to the impending protests elicits questions about its essence and the pedigree of the organisers. I dare say that in the circumstance of strangulating economic situation, Nigerians do not need any Adams Oshiomohle of yester years to pour into the streets. Anyone can lead in such debilitating situation. I also dare say that it is an uphill task to saddle Presidential Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, with the duty of damage control, where ill mannered people would be rude to him in radio stations. They descend on him as though he was the ultimate policy maker.
Thank goodness he has quelled the rumour of death and severe ill health of his principal, even when the ‘unbelievers’ persist in their unbelief.
However, it would be hypocritical for the ruling party to refuse to pluck a fruit from the tree it planted. There is no end to the instruments it used to oust the immediate past government.The only instrument open to the ruling party is good performance and a plan to steer the nation away from recession. Good performance is like pregnancy, the tummy protrudes and everyone sees it. I recall the president promising in a rally in Abeokuta, during the campaign, that he would look for and appoint ‘competent’ people that would steer the country on the path of success. Perhaps, the president may take a second look at this cabinet or weigh their performance and see where the weak link lies.
There are several reasons for people to pour into the streets but if they see signs of light at the end of the tunnel, they would hold on. But those signs are hard in coming, which is why the government must sit up and put up a superlative performance that would quell all the death wishes and make protest points empty.
It does not matter that the musician, 2Face is allegedly being used by the opposition; it stands to reason that if there is no need for it, Nigerians would hardly come to protest points. There is a tendency that security operatives may move to quell the protest if it holds but the symbol of protest continuing in their hearts cannot be stopped. That is more damaging than physical protest.
Come what may, it is the height of low and base life to wish the president dead. I do not know how that would alleviate our situation.