[Opinion] Good Humour at the President’s Expense By Philip Amiola

I have observed with some degree of amusement, the wave of
criticism and outrage that greeted the ill-timed ignition of
President Goodluck Jonathan’s 2015 political campaign
machinery. The campaign message – One good term deserves
another – is especially humorous. Although Mr President has
dissociated himself from the presidential campaign posters
which recently flooded Abuja, a lot of frayed nerves still
need to be calmed. Our president seems to have a special
knack for rubbing us the wrong way, wittingly or unwittingly,
and this unusual trait has no doubt enhanced his “popularity”
with Nigerians especially the younger generation. Dr
Goodluck Jonathan’s popularity is such that he has become
the b*tt of several jokes and unsavoury comments in various
circles, especially on social media – and that is very
disheartening.
Nigerians are indeed a special breed of people. We have seen
so much gloom and doom that we have learnt to see the
humour in every situation, regardless of how bad it is. And
that is good for us as it has been proven both by ancient
philosophy and modern medical science that a happy heart is
good medicine and a cheerful mind works healing. It however
becomes a problem when we make ourselves happy at the
expense of someone else – and that is what we do when we
deride our President. It is amazing that some people would
actually go to great lengths as to deliberately circulate text,
cartoons, animated pictures, videos and internet-based
applications for no other reason than to make a joke of the
President, and in some cases, his dear wife and other public
officials.
Dr Goodluck Jonathan’s reputation has been so battered that
his cronies have resorted to Google adverts and other
outrageous strategies to redeem his image in public space. I
have often found myself assuming the role of an advocate
especially on Facebook, when these vituperative statements
and jokes become so vitriolic that I simply can’t stand them.
Now, I know that I’ll incur the wrath of some persons by
taking this position but I believe that our President and
other public officials deserve our honour and respect – and
this is not contingent on their performance. We must
understand that we live in a world that is governed by
universal laws and what goes around comes around.
Contemporary history in our nation has shown that given the
opportunity, the most vociferous critics will not necessarily
perform better. Am I advocating for passivity? The answer is
an emphatic No! I believe that we must hold the government
accountable and express our grievances whenever necessary.
But what if we explore more constructive means to air our
views and vent our opinions? Do we always have to drag
someone’s name in the mud each time we have to express our
dissatisfaction with their actions or inactions?
It will do us a world of good individually and as a nation if
each of us recognizes that behind the cloak of public office
is a human being like ourselves who is as vulnerable as we are,
to malicious words and vindictive remarks. We may not like
the President, but that does not detract from the fact that
we ought to be civil when addressing him or any human being
for that matter. Someone else’s action or inaction is no
excuse to throw caution to the winds, breaking ourselves
against universal laws in the process. Each Nigerian must
learn to think, speak and act right even when the other fellow
is wrong. If we must have a better Nigeria, we must have
better Nigerians. God bless the President! God bless Nigeria!
A passionate believer in the New Nigeria, Philip Amiola is a
teacher, writer and social entrepreneur. He writes from
Lagos, Nigeria.
You can follow him on Twitter
@Dermatoglyphics

Posted from WordPress for BlackBerry.

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