Nigeria And The Mindlessness Of Mocking The Man That Misses A Step – By Bala Ibrahim

IN the English Literature parlance, where there is detailed study of plays, poetry and most times novels, a mindless person is sometimes placed in the category of the imbecile, because he is never thinking critically, analytically or intelligently. Some even call him blockheaded. The bizarre behaviour of such blockheads, can be mocked by those who think rightly, but the mockery may be misunderstood by those that are dead from the neck up.

Today marks the day in which Nigeria is celebrating 25 years of uninterrupted democracy, as a result of which, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu was at the parade ground in the Eagle Square, to address Nigerians. It was a widely publicised affair and the nation was eager to watch. In an effort to walk into a vehicle that would convey him for the parade, the President missed a step and staggered, in order to regain balance and stability. Before then, the same President had delivered a nationwide broadcast, which drew applause from many people.

No sooner than the occurrence of the mishap or unlucky accident, that could happen to anyone, than the social media space became awash with clips, making things look like our President, PBAT, is immune from accidents. Because for the best part of the morning, I was on the road travelling, I lost the opportunity of watching the event live. First to alert me about what happened was my sister, knowing fully that I am a full-fledged pro PBAT. She was very worried by what was trending on the social media and wanted a clarification from me. I told her I haven’t seen it but there is nothing to worry about. Our President is not destined for anything sinister.

Barely five minutes after, a close friend and one that is also unapologetically pro PBAT, called to express similar concern but in a manner that is different in perspective from the ill informed position of my sister, who is unfamiliar and inadequately aware of the facts. My friend is politically polished and very conversant with happenings around the globe, with access to many Presidents and Heads of state.

By his position, he also answers the prefix, Your Excellency. He knows and understands the perplexities of parades, having been a member of the elite paramilitary. I was consoled by his explanations, especially when he highlighted that history is replete with the stories of Presidents missing steps all over the world.

Like many of the dozens of Presidents and commanders-in-Chiefs America had, President Joe Biden has fallen down. He slipped as he was boarding theAir Force One in Michigan on Tuesday. What happened is simply seen as his own share of mishaps. Biden’s stair-stumble puts him in the footsteps of several other presidents who have had trouble managing Air Force One’s stairs. Presidents Barack Obama and Gerald Ford tripped on the stairs, while Donald Trump walked up them with toilet paper stuck to his shoe.

Despite the discomfort of such accidents, which some may even call embarrassments, the Americans, who are celebrated as the beacons of global democracy, did not go out making a mockery of their leaders like some Nigerians are doing. I don’t see any gain in mocking a man that had an accident. By my line of thinking, if a man or woman stumbles on steps, and he or she is lucky to have no injuries, he or she should get back up and keep going. Simple.

However, perhaps because of negative politics, Nigeria is fast becoming the breeding grounds of people that are behaving in a manner that is not different from that of the nincompoops. Why? When have we degenerated to that low level in values and ethics? Is it a thing of joy that our President had an accident?

It is however gratifying to hear from the Presidency, dismissing all issues regarding Mr President’s missed step while climbing into the truck. According to the post of one of the President’s aides,  it was only a minor incident that did not in any way disrupts the programme.

Whatever may be our political leaning, we ought to be guided by the moral principles that control our behaviours. If we do that, we shall naturally show disdain, to those that take delight in the misfortune of others, particularly when the misfortune happens to our leaders.

Ibrahim is Publicity Director for the All Progressives Congress 

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