By Tola Adeniyi
I wouldn’t know where the bogus concept of hate speech came from or who brought up the idea to the floor of the National Assembly but I know for certain what purpose it was meant to serve. Having messed up the sensibilities and sensitivities of the Nigerian citizenry by incessant and unrelenting butchering of Nigerians in a fashion bordering on ethnic cleansing across the country the handlers of the cabal that is hell bent on conquering and subduing all the ethnic nationalities and re-colonize Nigeria in their own image believe the Nigerian masses should have their mouths permanently padlocked so that nobody should ever say a word about the gory atrocities being daily perpetrated.
The only objective the so-called Hate speech legislation being remotely sponsored by the Presidency is to further strengthen the growing dictatorship and cruel tyranny of the Buhari administration. The Military Constitution which was forced down our throats by the Abdul Salami Abubakar Junta already has built-in mechanisms for unprecedented dictatorship and over centralization of the government at the centre which will now go for the kill in the hands of an unrepentant dictator of power hungry Buhari.
What does Hate Speech really connote? Is to direct Nigerians to live in self denial? Is it meant to teach Nigerians to call a spade by another name? Is it to call a blackboard white when actually it is visibly black? This kind of arm twisting will not work in Nigeria of 193 million highly informed and incorrigibly vocal citizens. Nigerians may have been traumatized to the marrow, impoverished to the bones, and seriously humiliated and oppressed by the negligible minority wielding excessive power over them; they are not ever likely give up their freedom of expression. Fela Anikulapo Kuti, Africa’s greatest music machine who sang ‘the padlock of my mouth is not in your hand’ would turn in his grave if he found that his kinsmen and women in Nigeria ever yielded to a draconian legislation that would turn them into slaves in their own land.
Let’s face it. How do you describe a gang of Stone Age barbarians who plundered your farmland, destroyed your crops, fed your tubers of yam and cassava to animals, raped your wives and daughters, massacred innocent babies and shot your husbands to death? The simple word for such animals in human skin is Terrorists! It does not matter if such marauding drug-addicted lunatics are your next door neighbours or aliens from the moon or from the pit of hell fire.
There is no other word for nepotism but nepotism. And as said in popular advertisement, ‘if it is not Panadol, it is not panadol.’ Simplicita! My English teachers from Reverend S T Sheyin in the Secondary School, to Agbaje the father of Barrister Bamidele Agbaje at the HSC, to my Professors of English at the University of Ibadan the likes of Professors Whitehall, Izevbaye, Ogunba and the greatest of them Emeritus Professor Ayo Banjo did not tell me there was another word for a rotten egg if the egg was rotten. No amount of deodorant or perfume can cover the stench of a fart from decaying anus.
The Naira chewing members of the National Assembly who may be contemplating approval for the Hate Speech agenda know in their hearts that majority of them are dead rotten by the mere size of their undisguised irresponsibility and greed.
President Muhammadu Aleko Buhari cannot cover up his proven ineptitude, gratuitous nepotism, gross insensitivity, his alliance with the third most deadly terrorist group in the world, his nonchalant attitude to serious national challenges, his confessed ignorance of what goes on in government under his watch and the charges of monumental corruption in his government by a so-called Hate Speech contrivance.
This Buhari government has failed woefully. And what it is now doing is akin to what a thoroughly beaten boxer seeking cover and protection from the Referee does. If you are beaten, you are beaten. Just raise up your hands in submission and quit the stage. The hate Speech escape route is not going to fly.
There are so many laws in the land to adjudicate on matters bordering on slander and even libel. Anybody or any organization that feels slandered should go to court. Even if the government or any of its organs and operatives feels slandered, such agencies should seek redress in court. Nigerians are not prepared to tolerate any Decree 4 of 1984 being brought back through the back door. Nigerians no longer have sacrificial lambs like Tunde Thompson, Emeka Irabor or Diete Spiff’s Amachree! That era is long gone with the unsmiling generals Buhari and Idiagbon.
And imagine the audacity of the proponents of the Hate Speech nonsense! They are seeking death penalty for offenders of Hate speech and yet they are blind to the taunting, touting and menacing AK47 marauders who are killing Nigerians with notorious glee. What the heck some people think Nigeria is? If some people are comfortable living in the Stone Age, do they think every other person belongs in the Stone Age?
Yes. Nigeria needs death penalty for a tribe of people: those who have stolen our patrimony. Let a more serious minded nationalistic government emerge that would give Nigerian looters the Chinese and South Korean treatment. Nigerians would welcome a national as opposed to a village leader who would Rawlingsitize and sanitize the bleeding country. Nigerians are not opposed to death penalty. Death penalty still obtains in some states even in the United States. Let all those terrorizing fellow Nigerians with guns and machetes be lined up and given public execution.
Death Penalty should not be for a harmless farmer who calls a thief a thief, or who calls the rapist of his daughter a rapist. If a Yoruba man goes to Sokoto to rape the wife of a Sultan he should be described for what and who he is. Such a person is a Yoruba rapist! He cannot be anonymous and should not be allowed to hide under anonymity. The Ijaw self determination groups do not hide their identity. And when they blow up pipelines they own up and the Press describes them by their identity. If the Fulani terrorist militia men are killing people in Taraba, they deserve to be described as Fulani terrorists. That is not hate. It is simple use of words.
A non-performing government cannot legislate against criticisms. If you are bad, you are bad. You cannot force people to create a new word for your badness. Bad is bad. If you are a murderer you are a murderer. If you are Igbo, you are Igbo. This is the universal Age of Aquarius. The world no longer tolerates sweeping matters under the carpet. This is why the Creator gave this Age the Computer and the Internet. This is why the creator allowed the Google, Face book, Instagram, Whatsapp and other forms of instant messaging and information dissemination to happen.
Come to think of it? How do you enforce the so-called Hate speech nonsense in a global village which the world has turned into? How does anybody prevent pseudo names and anonymous writings and postings? Are we asking for another radio Kudirat? How do you stop an Australia-based critic from posting commentaries on Nigeria? Did the proponents of Hate Speech ever go to school? Are they aware of the Age we live in? And these are people making laws for the country!!!
Perish the thought on hate Speech, or find a new definition.
By Chief Tola Adeniyi, former Chairman/Managing Director of Daily Times Conglomerate.