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The Rise Of Watchdog Citizens



The emergence of hailers and wailers after the 2015 elections in Nigeria polity has birthed a new watchdog mechanism owned and managed by the people to hold government accountable. With the use of social media networks especially the twitter, it has become ever so easy to draw attention of leaders to issues. It has also become easy to direct attention of international community on the state of affairs of our dear nation whenever necessary. It is therefore instructive to intimate that going forward, it won’t be an easy ride on the horse of impunity for anybody or group of people ruling Nigeria. It may not take too long before democratic practice in Nigeria tunes itself towards Abraham Lincoln’s definition “…for the people and by the people”.

The recent victory claimed by ordinary Nigerians against invasion by men of the Department of State Services (DSS)  on the National Assembly (NASS) has shown that power is gradually tilting to the people.

Videos, pictures, analysis from the National Assembly fiasco flew from Nigeria to the world with spontaneous reactions denouncing the commando-style attack at the citadel of Nigeria’s democratic institution.  The sacking of the director-general of the DSS, Lawal Daura, is a popular victory for the people against impunity.  Under the present administration, the masses have been able to secure some victories, top among them is the sacking of Babachir Lawal  former secretary to the government of the federation (SGF) for alleged stealing of money meant for Internally Displaced Persons, disgraceful exit of Ayodele Oke, Nigeria’s ex – spy chief over $43.5m found in an Ikoyi residence, sacking of reinstated Abdulrasheed  Maina over corruption, Presently hanging from the fulcrum of impunity is the embarrassing NYSC certificate forgery of Kemi Adeosun, minister of finance, Obono-Obla’s school certificate forgery, MTN bribery allegation, the N28bn ecological fund under the screening eyes of President Muhammadu Buhari amongst myriad of other embarrassing behaviours by officials under Buhari. Every sensible, patriotic Nigerian has become a whistle blower. Prominent Nigerians in top government positions now take up happenings limited only to the common people in social media circles to curry goodwill from online activists for political solvency. The

case of the Nigerian hero who lost his life saving 13 boat mishap victims caught attention of the Senate president, the state governor and many others. It will not come as a surprise if the presidency decides to salute his sacrifice. The power of the people via social media has come to stay. There is no hiding place for politicians, the fear of the growing power of the people will translate to better leadership with time.

The present administration is not an easy nut to crack despite the cyber based uprising. It takes ocean of tears and thunderous wailing to move them to action. Circumstances of crass financial aberration by the president’s appointees often take forever before actions are taken. The trend however has emerged where Nigerians no longer sweep issues under the carpet. The watch dog trend has largely helped in frustrating the coup against NASS leadership, where Saraki was the prime target.

Nigerians counted down to the invasion. The script was played as analysed, making it very easy for ordinary Nigerians to intercept, and dissipate the anti-democratic act. For the infamous Daura who has a record of over 300 people in detention without trial, storming the National Assembly is the least difficult task. For a man who held journalist Abiri, Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) leader,  El Zakzaki, Dasuki in the DSS gulag, invaded homes of judges, power was his food, impunity his character. He was however stabbed by the system he served so diligently and gullibly.

The vice president may receive all the accolades for removing one of the dreaded relatives of the president from position of power, the truth is, the Napoleon who unleashed him is the same person who cut him off, when it was politically expedient to do so. Daura was an unusual expendable deployed to douse an international embarrassment for the president who was holidaying in London. The siege at the National Assembly was enough to get Buhari an expulsion from UK if Daura was not removed. They had to brutally call off their attack dog to spare nasty international incidence. They will apologise to him, give him some stuffs he cannot refuse afterwards. Daura is in this mess only because his own side of the attack mission, which would have led to other chain of events, failed bitterly under the watchful eyes of patriotic Nigerians.

Going forward, Nigerians will rid themselves of incompetent leaders through online sustained citizens platforms. Ambitions of political jokers posing as patriots will be shelved for fear of the scrutiny of vengeful citizens competently using their hard earned mobile data to alert the world of bad governance. The ballots may be rigged, godfathers may be weaning their offsprings for leadership positions but Nigerians will determine how long that will continue as the power to hire and fire is gradually coming to the hands of the people. The gale of defections across the country is informed by popular opinion against the present administration. Political party tourists took advantage of the situation, and the aftermath cost Buhari key officials in his party. The temporal victory has shielded those queuing on the side of citizens for now.

It will no longer be the beauty of your manifesto or tokenistic offerings, but what those vying for political positions are able to give the masses after a reasonable period of time in office. As ordinary Nigerians continue to forage for good leadership and at the same time perfect the art and science of managing their own democracy, they will soon master voting for credible independent candidates regardless of party platform, ethnicity or religion. If the trend continues, politics will no longer be for the thieves, opportunists and clueless. Soon, patriots with the interests of Nigerians at heart will take over.

Ebije can be reached via: [email protected] or @ebijeisrael



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