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Bayo Onanuga is not your bigot, by Fredrick Nwabufo

I will make this brief. Scapegoatism is the merchandise of selective outrage.

At moments of uncertainty and chaos, “pallbearers” are pencilled down to bear whatever guilt or blame for any presumed offence or crime.

The 2023 governorship elections have been one of the most turbulent in Nigeria. The days leading to the elections, in particular, were tempestuous. Incendiary comments and threats by political knockabouts simmered into the elections.

In the build-up to the Lagos governorship election, some itinerants from the mob crawling all over the ungoverned social media space threatened to upturn the political order in Lagos. Some made reckless comments that aboriginal members of the state would find offensive. The tension from these as well as the counter commination was supercharged. The election happened under this cumulus of madness.

So, it is important to situate the outbursts by some concerned citizens within this context.

As I said in a column recently, Nigerians should understand that the factotums of the brawling mobs do not represent any group. These are half-witted individuals who lack knowledge of history, direction, and are constipated by anger. Let it be clear that they do not represent any ethnic group.

The harassment of citizens, and the violence in the elections in Lagos and in 30 other states stand condemned and are a blot on our electoral process.

It is important that we do not construe Mr. Bayo Onanuga’s moment of righteous indignation as a judgement of his character and professional pedigree. Opinion is free. He is entitled to one, I strongly believe. Although, many have outraged against his comment on the Lagos election, they are within their rights to do so. And they have good reasons to.

Mr. Onanugu’s life is public knowledge. He is known to be one of the principal actors behind Nigeria’s struggle for democracy and one of the country’s journalism savants. In his years as a journalist, publisher and public officer, Mr. Onanugu was never at any time accused of bigotry. He never betrayed any proclivities of that complexion. It is simply not in his character.

I believe he should not be scapegoated or made to be the punchbag for whatever grouse anyone holds. We are guilty of the same offence if we insist on singling him out for slaughter over his opinion. Mr. Onanuga is not anyone’s bigot.

The elections are over, it is time for us to turn our minds to building our nation. We must desist from scorched-earth politics and work together for the survival of our country. Nation-building is citizens building. It is our job to build Nigeria; we cannot outsource this great task to anyone.

. Nwabufo, aka Mr OneNigeria, is a writer and journalist.

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