The Nigerian presidential election has come and gone. A president-elect has emerged. As is the norm in the election process here it was marred with irregularities and violence.
A lot of violence. If you follow me on my channel on Youtube, you will recall my series or rather some of my videos on ‘ABUSE’.
Let us see whatthe dictionary defines as ‘Violence’ to help you better understand my post. According to the Merriam Webster dictionary;
According to the Longman dictionary;
2 extreme force
4 literary an angry way of speaking
I could have picked the relevant meanings I needed but from the above, you can see that violence is not just physical. Violence just like abuse can be emotional, verbal, psychological, systemic, religious etc.
It is understandable that people are passionate about their candidates winning and all. It is normal human nature to see your way as the right way and any other way as bad.
We saw the physical violence that happened in different polling units during the elections. It was said to have originated from a particular party and that is the party no one wants to be a part of.
We also saw and do still see the verbal violence and abuse on social media. Sadly, It is perpetrated mostly by members of another political party who say they are working to change the narrative, bring democracy to Nigeria, build a new Nigeria etc.
They rained curses, expletives, blocked, and did all sorts to known figures (celebrities) and unknown figures for belonging to a different party. They tagged them enemies of Nigeria and the people. Some even went as far as insulting the children and family of the ‘enemy’.
Unfortunately, my candidate did not win the election. No candidate of mine has ever won an election in Nigeria, sadly. It does not stop me from being unbiased when I see a clip or message about another party that I do not agree with the general consensus. It won't make me attack others.
Members of different parties are being violent to people from other parties, online and offline.
This mob, yes, I call them a mob. Literally bully and try to silence anyone whose view is different and tag them evil and an enemy.
What is a mob? According to the Mirriam Webster dictionary.
1: a large and disorderly crowd of people
especially : one bent on riotous or destructive action
2 informal : a large number of people
3 : a criminal set : GANG
4 old-fashioned : the common people : MASSES
5 chiefly Australia : a flock, drove, or herd of animals
So, they are a mob. Each political party and candidate have a mob of followers around them. The mob does not belong to one political party.
How is violence okay?
How is it okay to say we want a new Nigeria that works and we think the best way is violence, hitting people physically and raining expletives and unprintable words on them?
We say we want a new Nigeria, unfortunately many who do this on social media are learned and went through the four walls of a university that never taught them that in life, people will never want the same things you do, see from the perspective that you do and it doesn’t make you right or them wrong.
We want a new and different Nigeria, so it makes it okay to bully, hate and force into silence anyone who has opposing views from us?
We want a new Nigeria so we come out en masse on the streets of social media to abuse and shut down anyone who does not want what we want and feel is right? We take away their freedom of association and freedom of speech.
We want a new Nigeria where people are so scared to say their views because they are afraid of being bullied and targeted and pushed to consider suicide?
We want a singular democracy in Nigeria where only people from my party or your party exists?
How are any of these okay?
The way you campaign passionately and celebrate your candidate, is the same way the opposition parties' members and supporters will campaign and post about their candidate on social media.
I have seen people who agree with the violence and abuse online and offline and say that it is okay and whoever received it is deserving of it for supporting that candidate because that candidate isn't theirs. Some also say, if you don’t want to be bullied watch what you say and who you support.
Some say they will never work with another or watch their movies for supporting a different or particular candidate.
That our candidates lost does it make it okay to threaten others? How does this make us different from some politicians' supporters during the 2015 elections that had threatened violence or the mob supporters that went about hitting people and causing physical chaos and chaos during this year's election?
How is this the Nigeria we want?
Is any form of violence really better than the other and okay? Should disappointment and anger towards a failed electoral process justify our insulting and threatening others?
Before you move with the mob, ask yourself “If this person was supporting my candidate would I react like this?” “Would I want such things said or done to me or anyone I know?”
In my opinion, no one is deserving of violence of any kind. People will always want different things and see things differently.
I want a Nigeria where people feel confident, safe and free to support any candidate they want and not be abused physically, verbally, emotionally or in any way for it. And a Nigeria where people from all tribes matter and are not insulted for their tribe and they can lead wherever they live.
If you are part of the mob abusing people, online and offline, and you belong to a religion. Ask yourself if the tenets of your religion support your actions? Does God support it? Is it a sin or not?
Let people be free to support who they want. Let people be free to say their mind, so long it is not racist or tribalist or harmful legally.
If you don’t agree with them, state points and facts calmly to win them over to your party and your point of view. Don’t go incurring unnecessary sin and curses on yourself for the words you say, the anger in your heart, the hate and the resentment.
If you are tired of seeing their posts about that other party and cannot take it anymore, calmly unfriend, block and go your way in peace. Truthfully, you shouldn't end friendships because of politics. Even if they are bigots, safe a certain level of it. Well, that's my view.
That your candidate won doesn't mean you should mock others that their candidates lost.
Nigeria belongs to everyone, so does the world. The “I am better than you and my views are better” is sadly why we had the slave trade, colonialism, still have caste systems, racism and tribalism all over the world.
That you are doing it online does not make you any different from those who hit others physically offline. Violence is violence.
Please let us stop the violence and mob mentality! There is absolutely no justification for it.
The opposition parties are taking it to court. Which is the right thing.
The politicians you are being violent for, would not want it nor appreciate it. There are no permanent friends or enemies in politics, just different interests.
Please, let us have peace. Reel your emotions in and check yourself before you act or type. Love yourself and love Nigeria which consists of other people too.
God bless us all and God bless Nigeria!
Thank you for reading my thoughts. What are yours?