I felt led to drop this note against the fact that some Nigerians, especially on social media, just do not get it.
My criticisms of President Buhari and his administration are often met with statements like, “come and collect your Wailers form,” or “Wailers form has finished,” or “welcome our new wailer” or “Aso Rock has delayed your alert” amongst other predictable inanities. It has become necessary to define the context of some of the terms in the subject matter.
It is the right and responsibility of every citizen to hold the government accountable, this right does not suffer any limitation based on whether you voted for the government in power or not, it is your fundamental human right. Citizens who genuinely care about their country never fail to do same. Holding government accountable includes calling out public officers when they are wrong, continually demanding for transparency and accountability in the running of government and putting the government to task at all times. Take what the Bring Back Our Girls advocacy group are doing for instance, that is a classic way to hold your government accountable. You demand for your rights and that of others until at times you are seen as a pest.
Being a government critic is being a government critic irrespective of who the head of government is. When the government gets it wrong, it is your responsibility as a citizen to call them out. As usual, the so called Wailing Wailers decided to go petty yesterday after I called out the Buhari government saying, “Change begins with selling the presidential jets. ONLY a genuinely rich country should think of having up to 3. We have about 10 jets.” Now, irrespective of who is president, Nigeria has no business owning and maintaining 10 jets for the presidency. This particular statement came on the heels of the “Change-Begins-With-Me” campaign launched by the Buhari administration. An unnecessary campaign in my opinion and the reason for this position has since been treated on my @Omojuwa twitter timeline. No, criticizing the government does not make me a wailer, it makes me a normal citizen.
I do not know what was going through Mr. Femi Adesina’s head when he called out a group as “wailing wailers” but I do not know that its definition cannot wrap up everyone who rises in criticism against president Buhari. The reason is simple and intuitive enough. If you spent five years deifying and praising a largely corrupt and clueless Goodluck Jonathan administration, an administration whose high point was the fact that it left in peace when it got voted out by the Nigerian people, how do you justify your intentions on the altar of national interest when you suddenly realize just months into a new administration you were already calling for miracles, the miracles you did not expect with record breaking oil prices?
A wailing wailer is different from a regular critic in that the regular critic sees something wrong and points it out, he or she even gets to point out ideas to make change happen and the position of the regular critic does not change just because the head of government has changed. The wailing wailer is one who does not care about anything other than to show that Nigerians were wrong to have voted Goodluck Jonathan out. Period. For them, it is about proving a point; you all were wrong to have voted Jonathan out. If you regularly see those who voted Buhari often posting messages like, “even though Buhari is not impressing me, I do not regret voting Jonathan out,” that is because these wailing wailers wake up dialy reminding people they should never have sacked Goodluck Jonathan. For them, it is about nothing but Goodluck Jonathan.
This is why all of us cannot be wailers. Like I tweeted in July after another round of criticisms against the Buhari administration and the so called wailers came with their, “oya come and take form” pettiness again, “I am NOT a Wailer. I do not criticise govt because I hate those who run it or because of appointment, I do it because government needs it.”
I hope the so called wailing wailers continue to have the strength to wail against Buhari – it hurts to lose power but they should focus on that and not look to ascribe the I-lost-so-I-am-crying mentality to others who are just about our country’s collective progress. In the end, whether you wail or you criticize just because you care about your country, every administration needs to be called out when it gets things wrong. You cannot excuse maladministration for 5 years, praise a government globally renowned for corruption over the same period, suddenly find the eyes to see that government can actually be wrong after a government you worshipped got voted out and expect that your wailing against the new government and my criticism of the new government should have us get called the same name. Nah, I am not a wailing wailer and one million criticisms against this government or any other one after it will not make me one, because I am not crying over spilled milk, I just want a better country, irrespective of who is president.