President Muhammadu Buhari’s Democracy Day speech is a good example of “newspeak” in Gorge Orwell’s 1984 dystopian classic. In 1984, Orwell explains how dictators use “newspeak” language to manipulate their citizens.
“Newspeak” says Orwell, is a form of brainless speaking that enables garbage to be uttered convincingly. Going by Orwell’s theory, informed and rational Nigerians should take Democracy Day speech by Buhari as a total garbage.
Only the Akindanidanis will swallow hook, line, and sinker the garbage with blind uncritical belief in spite of the facts concerning the Nigerian state. In Buhari’s 2020 Nigeria, Orwell’s 1984 is no longer a fiction. Buhari’s use of manipulative lies, distortions, unfulfilled old promises, new empty promises, propaganda in the speech are in line with “newspeak” language. The speech is aimed at exploiting the naïveté and gullibility of Nigerians.
The speech exposes Buhari as suffering from dictator’s false dilemma. For example, let’s examine what he says about democracy, rule of law, the constitution, corruption, the economy, and press freedom.
He says he’ll ensure democracy and the rule of law, but his disdain for flouting court orders and illegal detention of activists and critics is legendary. He tells Nigerians that his regime supports freedom of speech. In reality, Nigerians were beaten, arrested, detained, and dispersed from protesting peacefully. Protesters were hounded like criminals by the police and security forces. Omoyele Sowore, leader of #RevolutionNow was abducted and detained for organizing peaceful demonstration for good governance.
According to Buhari, “We have witnessed eleven quarters of consecutive GDP growth since exiting recession.” Under his watch, Nigeria became poverty capital of the world.
He preaches one Nigeria, but he’s the greatest nepotist divisive president that employs division and diversion to further polarize the already fractured and divided nation. He says he’s fighting corruption but looks the other way when his close aides and associates are involved in corruption. Indeed, Nigeria is the most corrupt country in the world. He assures the nation that Nigeria will always be governed by rule of law and uphold the constitution. Buhari is notorious for breaking the law and violating the constitution.
He promises that he’ll guarantee freedom of press. The fact is, The World Press Freedom Index describes Nigeria as one of the most dangerous and difficult countries to practice journalism in the world as journalists are often spied on, attacked, arbitrarily arrested, or even killed.
Buhari’s past is a prologue. His long record of abuse and brutal tactics of repression have not disappeared. Do not be fooled by the propaganda and false promises promoted in his Democracy Day speech. Buhari is who he always has been – a brutal, senseless, and sadistic dictator.
Buhari has returned Nigeria to Abacha’s dark days. Activists, journalists, critics, have been routinely targeted for state-sponsored intimidation, detention, and torture. His regime is an extension of his military junta.
Don’t blame dictator Buhari alone. We the people – Nigerians – are the ones enabling the dictator. After all, the dictator cannot function without followers. Nigerians have abdicated their personal responsibilities which directly cripple freedom of expression and derail democratic process. Though we enable dictator Buhari, we can also disable him. This is how we can give meaningful interpretation to Democracy Day!