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All this Twitter twaddle

A few years ago, when we still had the liberty to think, and freely express our thoughts in Nigeria, I would have sworn that the tweet at the centre of the ongoing face-off between the Nigerian government and Twitter, the American social network and microblogging company, did not originate from President Muhammadu Buhari. In fact, I would have suspected that if anyone was quick enough to reach the President privately before the tweet became such big traction on the blogosphere, Buhari would have genuinely drawn a blank on it. He’d probably have been hearing of the ‘offending’ post for the first time.
He would have honestly told you of how he doesn’t know about whatever his aides and shadow presidents upload to the social media in his name. He would have revealed how he does not even know his own Twitter handle. It would then have become clear that this was another case of someone putting Indian hemp in another person’s pocket and getting that person into trouble.
But, I guess, it’s too late for the president to deny authorship of the tweet.
Moreover, with this new regime of breathing down our necks and threatening opposition with prosecution (or is it persecution?), I doubt we still have the liberty to interrogate anything the administration has decreed us to believe.
So, I hereby pledge to believe. That I believe that Twitter was wrong in taking down PMB’s tweet and the FG was right in banning Twitter in Nigeria. That AGF Malami is right to throw all of us into jail for still having the Twitter App on our devices. And that I indeed believe that Buhari authored that controversial tweet. That I believe that no aide wrote it and attached the president’s name to it. After all, PMB had said that much, using even stronger language, in his statements before now. I still remember what President Buhari once told corps members serving in Katsina State, but many of whom were from the old Eastern Region when they went to pay him a courtesy visit in his Daura country home a few years back.
That is our new reality.
Yes! About three or four years ago, when I still cared about how President Muhammadu Buhari ran our country, and naively believed his word that he was president for all Nigerians, I would have been worried sick over the ongoing tantrums the Nigerian government has been throwing at Twitter.
Yes! At that time, I naively believed that opposition and constructive criticism were the livewires of democracy,  and that we needed to continually point out wherever the new government was losing track, to encourage it to retrace its steps and get back to the path of moral rectitude, and its campaign promises. But that was before those of us who arrogated ourselves the role of keeping the new government on its toes were branded Wailers and dismissed with a wave of an uncaring hand.
 I have since come to realise that criticism, no matter how constructive, is, in the dictionary of the Buhari administration, synonymous with treason, insurrection, sedition and even, coup plotting.
All of these, going by the body language of the regime, deserve to be crushed with the fullest military strength the country can muster, even if it amounts to killing an ant with a sledgehammer or resorting to some not-too-presidential tactics.
That is why those backing the regime on this Twitter storm are citing justification, and maybe, provocation, for the unpresidential tweet. That Nnamdi Kanu had said worse things about Buhari and Nigeria, which the owners of microblogging company did nothing about.
So, because Nnamdi Kanu vomits rubbish on Twitter and gets away with it, our President, Muhammadu Buhari, should also get into the gutter with the IPOB irritant and start tweeting rubbish too? How are the mighty fallen! 
When did Nnamdi Kanu become the yardstick for measuring the conduct, language and comportment of the Nigerian president? Just when, did we degenerate to this abyss?
When did it become acceptable for us to walk the streets naked, simply because lunatics do the same without anyone raising any eyebrows?
What is this fixation about Nnamdi Kanu that has suddenly made Buhari and his goons see all Igbos and the entire South-East zone as reflected and represented in the IPOB leader’s utterances? Is it a recent realization or a latent bias simply waiting for the slightest opportunity to manifest itself?

Why is the Federal government more willing to judge Ndigbo with IPOB, rather than Ohanaeze, Aka Ikenga etc.? Whoever judges the Yoruba by the standards of OPC or Sunday Igboho? Who in his right senses believes Boko Haram and killer herdsmen are the same as the Fulani, Kanuri or Hausa? Why then does the Buhari government insist that the reverse is the case with the Igbo and the South East?
But do the social media companies actually ignore other offending posts? I think the answer is No!

There is hardly a week that passes without, at least, one Facebook friend of mine celebrating his or her readmission to the social media platform, at the expiration of the ban/suspension imposed on them by Facebook. It was either for using foul language, strong words, raw and overtly sexual innuendos, or posts that have violent or terrorist undertones. Such posts are not only taken down by Facebook but the account of whoever posted is also taken out.
Like Facebook, Twitter also takes down “offensive” posts, and, when necessary, even bars the account owner. Many of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu (MNK)’s posts have suffered a similar fate. And at the weekend, in a clear afterthought move, many more of his tweets were also taken down by Twitter.
That was also the same treatment meted out to the then US president, Donald Trump.
For Trump, there was even a mechanism to flag his posts – an automatic denial/disclaimer of whatever he posted. That was before the Buhari episode.
Yes, lesser mortals like yours sincerely might get away with a few reckless posts, but the same cannot be the case with presidents and prominent public figures, with followings that run into millions. For whatever such personalities say or post or tweet is often a call to action for their followers. That was why several American Republicans found a way to live with the loss at the last presidential election until Trump’s tweets falsely claimed that the vote was stolen. That eventually spurred the ultimate invasion of the Capitol by Trumpians.
As a proud Nigerian who still holds the office of the President of the Republic in high esteem, irrespective of whoever is occupying it, I think Twitter owes us an apology for the way it treated our President. It should also restore the account forthwith, while the Nigerian government, for the sake of us Nigerians, rescind its decision to ban Twitter in the country. The ban doesn’t speak too eloquently about us, our democracy and our level of tolerance.
And we have to act fast before egos get in the way, and escalate an everyday Twitter twaddle into a major diplomatic crisis.