There’s a young man in my gate-house. His cup has just filled up. And he’s going to die… Already, I’ve sent for a thread. And a water-gun. I’m only waiting for the senate to decide how he should die…with eyes and teeth open like goat or closed(?) I’m waiting for the passage of that bill on “hate speech”!
The dude talks too much. And in “phonetics” for that matter. Each time I want to drive out, he blocks the gate and talks like he has tweeters in his mouth. ”Sir, can I speak to you, please?” He always has something to “speak” about. The other day, he complained of an issue of “serious importance”, as he called it. “Please sir, I promise my speech will not be long this time”. “Ye-e-es, what is it?”, I asked. “Sir, I hate to tell you this but there was an invasion last night”. Blood of God! I looked around for any sign of an unwanted visitor, while I slept. None. But my adrenaline was high, already. I started having headache inside my head. “What happened?” “Sir, honestly, it was a terrible night. I yus, sorry, just couldn’t sleep as they kept coming in numbers. I tried to fight them but failed. In short, the compound was invaded by troops of mosquitoes, last night. And I hate mosquitoes, sir!”
He claimed the mosquitoes emerged from the “soak away”. All very big and black! Probably, those were not yet born when the late Tunji Braithwaite promised, in one of his campaign speeches, to kill all the mosquitoes in Nigeria. Anyway, so my “educated gateman” would allow me meet an appointment, I called someone to fumigate the compound before I returned. In my hurry to leave, I completely forgot that the guy had Lai Mohammed as a role model. He loves overgeneralization. I knew he likes to “speak”. But I never suspected he’s a hater. Suddenly, it dawned on me. As soon as the Senate passes the bill, I have to invite EFCC, NAFDAC, PHED, ECOWAS, JAMB, CBN, etc to arrest this dude for “hate speech”! Afterall, in his “speech”, he told me he “hate(s)” mosquitoes, abi?
The Nigerian Senate’s been very busy these days, fighting from all fronts. The senators are busy making laws. Or breaking some(?) Dragging heavy bags of allowee; singing aje ni Ija…whatever; dancing and struggling to clear themselves of some allegations. Oh, they also find time to invite everyone to appear before numerous committees; speaking big-big grammar; and well, sleeping! Very tedious! But then, Sen. Sabi Abdullahi remembered that 2019 might be tough, and decided to try a funny bill.
The expected law is to criminalize hatred in spoken or written form that attacks individuals or groups, particularly based on religion, race, sex, sexual orientation, etc. But trust Nigerians, we can always find an extra use for the envisaged law. If my sex drive increases, for instance, and I feel like doing ‘muchu-muchu’ 12-times a day, should mama-yard say “no”, I can accuse her of “hate speech”. And, if my senator is missing in Abuja, I can’t even organize a search party. In fact, the fear of the yet to be passed bill is already “catching” some of us. That’s why Eket Senatorial District can’t ask the police to search for Senator Nelson Effiong. What if he accuses the people of “hate speech”?
Government, at federal and states, will conveniently hide behind “hate speech”, to evade being held to accounts. Already, most people want to be in the good books of PMB or the governors. “The government should be allowed to do its job”, they argue. As if anyone invaded the government houses and stopped the chief executives from taking people-focused decisions. You see, I’m so scared of the “hate speech” allegation that I can’t accuse my governor of doing anything wrong. So, you won’t hear me say anything about even the proposed N10billion worship centre. I think it’s a good idea because many jobless youths and yet-to-be-touched villages can go there everyday to receive their ‘miracles’! Some people say Emmanuel’s promised industrialisation is yet to take root. They even make jest of his road projects, saying most stop at a kilometer in three-years! But me? I won’t join them because I fear God and “hate speech”.
Nigerians ask too many questions, jare. But the more you question a bad politician, the more he hates you. Many only listen and crave praises. Anything else affects their eardrums. Or libido. Hence, a majority of aides only tell them what they want to hear. Few have the guts to tell truth to power. (I was there; among the few!) Take Garuba Shehu. The veteran journalist has started dismantling the ladder he used to climb – accusing journalists of “hate speech” against Buhari. Ok, so let’s start putting the bill into use, already! Kill all the journalists in the private media. And the so-called ones on social media. At least, that way, Shehu and his boss will have a peaceful reign. No more critical press to put the government on its toes.
Hate speech in Nigeria would certainly be a toll for ridicule, vendetta and well, hatred! In most of the countries with hate speech laws, I’m not aware of those with as drastic a penalty as death sentence. But the proposed law could be more political than No-Smoking Law. Why? Because if you say your reps arent performing, they could sue you for “hate speech”. Already, the “hate speech” proposal, in some quarters, is only discussed based on party leaning. If I’m APC in the morning, every comment against Buhari or any APC official is “hate speech”. By evening, when I”m PDP, any comment against Gov Emmanuel’s policies, for instance, I consider “hate speech”! The situation makes genuine views to help government improve impossible. Sentiments are beclouding our sense of reasoning. Sane and objective views are getting scarcer by the day.
But then, there’s always a good side to a bad idea. In this case, the “hate speech”, when passed into law and printed out, might help make wraps easily available to groundnut and akara sellers. It might also provide jobs for some Nigerians. How? Well, you may not be aware, but there’s scarcity of hangmen in this country! Please, don’t tell anybody –o.
I’m told there are hundreds of condemned convicts awaiting the hangman. But the guy’s given himself leave, like IGP Idris, who took leave recently, while 110 girls have been abducted. Anyway, the hangman, I’m told, is still trying to recover from the last do. Yet, nobody bothers to tell either the convicts or the nation that there’s vacancy for such an important job. I heard the only ‘guy’, who does the job takes years to sacrifice to the gods before hanging one person. He first practises it with the chicken, during Christmas. And with ram, during Ileya. Then, he does another ablution for a year to scare off the stubborn spirit of the guy he hanged last. Sometimes, he offers the spirits ogogoro, kolanuts and pepper. And when he’s ready to hang another person, he’s old enough to either retire. Or die!
I would’ve accused government of being unfair to a promising career. But I fear “hate speech” accusation. But, why can’t the President or the Governors appoint hangmen the way they appoint Chief Judges? It’s really annoying that a job, which could have helped us to get rid of some bad politicians, without allegation of hate speech, has no credible process of succession. Or enrolment!
So, if you can’t buy meat during the coming Easter, we can’t blame the government. The economy is fine, thank you! Who wants to be accused of “hate speech”? When herdsmen kill humans like chicken, we dare not say a thing. If there’s no fuel, we cant blame somebody for hanging the prices and the nozzles. Urinate into your fuel tank every morning. If there’s injustice in the polity, don’t blame the selfish politicians and skewed policies. Say nothing so you wont be accused of “hate speech”!