Of June 12, democracy and democrazy, By Chiamaka Okafor


But even then, the woman in my head wonders aloud: Which laws would tweeps actually be violating? The ones in the jailer’s head or the ones that will be made to vomit what they have not swallowed? And, how does he intend to compile a list of offenders? In a dream or by climbing through his contrived ladder of illegality to peer at the ‘sin-yard’? I am reminded of how pretend jailers share space with comedians in a democrazy. 

Yesterday, the falcon could not hear the falconer; today, things have fallen apart; and, the centre cannot hold anymore.

A few days to the commemoration of Democracy Day (June 12), the Nigerian government has just shown us crazy, as we say in social media parlance; we have been taken to another level of the national narrative, and we are now seeing crazy!

How can people who claim to be ruling and not leading or governing get so emotional at the prick of an ‘inconsequential’ entity? I always thought rulers had zero emotions.

What is democracy? How do we describe democracy? I hope it still has a meaning in this terrain of ours.

For a country whose largest demography is youthful, suspending a more or less e-commerce platform where young people who the state could not provide jobs for, have come together on and found a means to survive, is so much 1984; in Nigeria’s best forgotten dehumanising past.

I can think of nothing but hum Fela’s “animal in human skin o…”, as it is evident that we are running an autocracy that’s inhabiting a pretend democratic skin. How do you decide to suspend a part of the constitution (the freedom of expression/speech) when we are not at war?

The Soro-Soke generation that has learnt how to converge its voices in ‘applying pressure’, as it during the #EndSARS protest, will not take this clampdown on a fundamental human right from a nation called a democracy, which ought to be about the people. 

As Niccolo Machiavelli wrote, “It is just as difficult and dangerous to try to free a people that wants to remain servile as it is to enslave a people that wants to remain free”, can this clampdown on the survival of citizens withstand the brewing response? Nigerians have been put down for too long, and if the lessons of #EndSARS have anything to offer, it is how hard it would be for rulers to keep riding roughshod over the people. 

The ‘Coconut Head’ generation has definitely grown in resilience, toughened against abuse, and is devising its own structures of resistance that will defy any contrived ban on its founts of expression and wellbeing. We will no longer take abuse in silence.

The beauty of technology is also the opportunity it offers to subvert control, bans and whatever, in the ability to be in multiple countries at the same time without leaving the comfort of the beds or a single location. Technology gives us the platforms to gather our voices in a joint song of solidarity – we shall triumph over stricture; this and any other to come.

The Soro-Soke generation that has learnt how to converge its voices in ‘applying pressure’, as it during the #EndSARS protest, will not take this clampdown on a fundamental human right from a nation called a democracy, which ought to be about the people. 

If Democracy were actually to be a human being, it would likely be ashamed of many in leadership today.

And then, Mr Jailer! The interpreter who deserves to be interpreted… He who is howling and seeking prisoners. ‘You will be prosecuted for reaching for a chirping bird, as it is a violation of federal laws’, he said. But some saw him sneak and climb a VPN ladder to tie up and cage his own chirping bird – after the fact of his proclamation!

We have also witnessed the political acrobatic in the rhetoric of those in power. What games are they playing and what gods have they suddenly realised they are offending, hence the acrobatic? Is the restriction on Twitter an indefinite suspension or a temporary one? What has suddenly informed the language games? The fear of the coming thunder?

TEXEM

And then, Mr Jailer! The interpreter who deserves to be interpreted… He who is howling and seeking prisoners. ‘You will be prosecuted for reaching for a chirping bird, as it is a violation of federal laws‘, he said. But some saw him sneak and climb a VPN ladder to tie up and cage his own chirping bird – after the fact of his proclamation!

But even then, the woman in my head wonders aloud: Which laws would tweeps actually be violating? The ones in the jailer’s head or the ones that will be made to vomit what they have not swallowed? And, how does he intend to compile a list of offenders? In a dream or by climbing through his contrived ladder of illegality to peer at the ‘sin-yard’? I am reminded of how pretend jailers share space with comedians in a democrazy. 

Again, I am reminded as a Christian faithful that, “what ‘god’ cannot do, does not exist.”

May Nigeria find peace and heal in my generation. AWOMEN! 

Chiamaka Okafor is with the Premium Times Centre for Investigative Journalism (PTCIJ), Abuja.

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