“The moment I understand that you are a Jonathanian, then our friendship is over. If I stopped talking to you simply because you are supporting Jonathan, then I have no regrets because I see you as an enemy of Nigeria.”
I have come across some emotion laden statements on social media but the above statement by a young man who is vocal about his hatred for the President Jonathan led administration is in a world of its own. The sad reality is that there are several individuals that think the exact same way but are yet to openly voice their thoughts. They abound in the opposition and the in-position. They are everyday people with everyday challenges and everyday thought processes. They are known amongst us and around us. They are netizens that daily post updates on the plethora of social media platforms. They are all of us. They are you and me.
As a present and participating social media user in Nigeria, the build up to the 2015 general elections has had an unprecedented conversation flow in the platform. New alliances have been formed on the grounds of the enemy of a supposed enemy being a temporary friend. The tearful trend however is the breakdown of once robust online relationships that has been sacrificed on the altar of different political affiliations. Furthermore, friends have realigned with new acquaintances and chivalry has lost value and essence. How healthy is this trend amongst young Nigerians that make up a large percentage of social media users? Do we not know that in politics, there exist no permanent friends or enemies, only permanent interests? Do we not know that the various politicians that we line up cheering their campaign know that it is only permanent interests that matter? Do we not know that when we burn bridges because of politicians, in our absence they make peace and plan for a future that has no place for us?
Pastor Enoch Adeboye once posted on his twitter platform that politicians are difficult to trust, they will promise one thing and do the other. He was strongly persuaded by this statement that he categorically challenged his audience to quote him anywhere. I share his thoughts in totality and that is one reason why I have always called for moderation, decorum and circumspection in the usage of social media platforms. It is neither a show of support nor a display of intelligence to embrace enmity with another individual simply because of varying political leanings. It rather points to a faulty line of reasoning and in the extreme, unveils the failure of parental and societal influence in nurturing children to become decent young adults.
It is not all gloomy as there is always a turning point in the life of every individual. It starts with a personal decision to shed off unbending assumptions and togas of intolerance. It is further defined by a deliberate attempt by the individual to continually seek to learn, unlearn and relearn the very essense of living. Above all things that bond humanity together, love and mutual respect is the glue that connects us together as mortal beings. What will life be if we continue to live in suspicion and distrust of one another? It will be a conundrum of fear and anxiety aptly followed by the inevitable violence. We can do better. We can be better.
I conclude by encouraging us to think beyond the elections. It will come and go and Nigeria and Nigerians will remain. The future we desire has to be planned for, today. It starts with refining the thought process that leads to the next update on your favorite social media platform. We can do it if we desire to and move beyond thinking to doing.
God bless Nigerians. God bless Nigeria.