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How can a whole president be removed from Twitter?

How can a whole president be removed from Twitter?
January 13
11:16 2021

The world is still reeling from the shocking January 6, 2021 mob attack of the US Capitol which houses the US Senate and House of Representatives by armed thugs. To think that this attack wasn’t from some external forces but from within the US itself in what many are calling domestic terrorism. Thousands of President Donald Trump’s supporters had marched to the US Capitol intent on stopping the certification of President-elect Joe Biden’s Electoral College votes by members of the Congress.

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In fact, the thugs were coming straight from a rally at the White House where Trump and some members of his family had urged the so-called patriots not to show any weakness; and to go on to the US Capitol to support those who object to Joe Biden’s victory. With the heavily armed thugs-as people who take their 2nd Amendment Rights seriously- one can only imagine what kind of dangerous weapons these people had. (The 2nd  Amendment to the US constitution protects people’s right to carry arms).

And one dares not imagine what these thugs would’ve done to people they considered traitors. One of such “traitors” was vice-president Mike Pence. There are videos showing the mob baying for Pence’s blood as they chanted “Hang Mike Pence,” “Traitor Mike Pence,” etc. If the mob had got hold of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, they’d have done her serious harm as these intentions were widely circulated in social media posts. Even if they didn’t do her any harm, Pelosi is an 80-year-old woman. Who can guarantee she’ll recover from the shock and trauma? So far, five people have died including one Capitol policeman. For all we know, more people may still die.

In the aftermath of this apparently coordinated attack that many are calling a failed insurrection, Donald Trump has come under attack not just for his pre-attack rabble-rousing, where he encouraged his supporters to take back their country, but what he said while the attack was ongoing and what he said after the attack. Of course, as everyone knows, Twitter is Trump’s biggest megaphone. So, he was doing all his encouragement on Twitter.

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Twitter however swung into action which some would call belated but better late than ever. Trump’s account was first locked by Twitter for 12 hours for what it called “repeated and severe violations of our Civic Integrity policy.” Twitter warned further that: “Future violations of the Twitter Rules, including our Civic Integrity or Violent Threats policies, will result in permanent suspension of the @realDonaldTrump account.” And the permanent suspension was what happened. What was the final straw that broke Twitter’s proverbial camel’s back? Trump came back from his suspension anything but repentant. He made sure to assure his mob supporters not to “forget this day” and how much they were loved.

After that Trump 12-hour suspension was lifted on Friday, January 8, 2021, he sent out two tweets: “The 75,000,000 great American Patriots who voted for me, AMERICA FIRST, and MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN, will have a GIANT VOICE long into the future. They will not be disrespected or treated unfairly in any way, shape or form!!!” And: “To all of those who have asked, I will not be going to the Inauguration on January 20th.” These two tweets as Twitter explained in a blog post, had to be read in “the broader context” of other happenings. Especially the bit about his not attending the Inauguration which Twitter took to mean a signal to his supporters who have any violent plans on that day to go ahead.

Expectedly, Trump’s permanent Twitter ban drew varying reactions, but I’m more interested in the reactions from some Nigerians, who vociferously wanted everyone to know how much they objected to Trump’s permanent Twitter ban. Some wondered why Third World leaders didn’t face the same scrutiny for inciting tweets. These people would usually preface their tweets with how “they’re no fans of Trump” or sentiments along those lines but must condemn Twitter’s ban. The general tone of the arguments against Trump’s Twitter ban falls under the headline: “How can a whole president be banned?” Those are actual words from someone’s tweet. I’d wanted to ask this person whether a ‘whole president’ shouldn’t have some self-restraint? Or whether a ‘whole president’ shouldn’t bear some responsibility? Remember, to whom much is given…? How can anyone focus on Twitter’s ban which happened at the tail end of two horrifying days without talking about Donald Trump’s actions in those days-between January 6-8, 2021? Mind you, I’m not talking about any of Trump’s history of racist tweets in the last four years.

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The “how can a whole president” argument actually speaks to how we view people in authority or the wealthy (regardless of how this wealth was acquired) in these parts. These are our “big men,” who can do no wrong which is the reason many would do whatever it takes to become rich. Then there’s a whole other argument about age. Recall when musical artiste Wizkid addressed Nigeria’s President Buhari as ‘old man’? The hue and cry wasn’t over the substance of what he was complaining about but about calling a man old enough to be his grandfather ‘old man.’ A man who just happens to be at least 74 years old cannot be addressed as old?  It’s okay for us to confine this sort of foolishness to Nigeria and Nigerian matters. We obviously don’t care that our leaders have scant regard for us as citizens. It’s so bad that aides to aides of our elected officials regularly talk down on us. It’s all good so long as we don’t embarrass a ‘whole president’, a ‘whole minister’ or a ‘whole governor.’ These people obviously think some people should be above the law.

We obviously don’t care enough about our institutions. In 2018, Nigeria’s DSS stormed the National Assembly in Abuja fully armed even though the rule disallows arms from the premises. That show of force appeared like an attempt to stop legislators from deliberating on some pending issues. Two weeks earlier, some armed men had forced their way into the Senate and made away with the Mace. Senator Ovie Omo-Agege who had been suspended also happened to be around that same day.  For what it’s worth, Senator Omo-Agege is now the deputy president of the Nigerian Senate. We’re comfortable with our democratic institutions being undermined at every turn. It’s why after almost 22 years of democracy, we still call it ‘nascent democracy.’ Nascent is defined as “just coming into existence and beginning to display signs of future.”

Back to Trump, don’t get me wrong, I found Twitter’s ban of Donald Trump somewhat discomforting. At least those of us who can feel empathy or whatever emotion I was feeling, felt some sympathy for Trump who clearly doesn’t reciprocate such emotions. Definitely not for people like me. However, I cannot separate the ban from Trump’s actions, not in the last four years but just between January 6 and January 8, 2021. What kind of human being, not to mention “a whole president” doubles down on encouraging violence after people have died? What kind of responsible adult, not to mention a “whole president”, encourages thugs and people glorifying the Holocaust, tells them not to forget that day and how much they’re loved? Publicly!

And some unfortunate people were comparing the violence on the US Capitol to the October 2020 #EndSARS protests. These very unfortunate people also tried to compare the actions of Access Bank which with the help of Nigeria’s Central Bank blocked the accounts of Nigerians protesting against police brutality. They attempted to say since the bank and Twitter are private companies, no one should query Access Bank for any wrongful actions. How is a bank blocking the accounts of peaceful protesters the same as people storming the US Capitol which its members say is supposed to be the safest place in their country? These people were armed and dangerous.

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Between our penchant for hypocrisy, our basic lack of logical reasoning and what now resembles self-hatred, I don’t know which is having the upper hand here. I’m at a real loss.

2 Comments

  1. Baron
    Baron January 13, 17:25

    and you have no problem with the organisers of #ENDSARS that encourage protesters to loot and destroy peoples property.

    Reply to this comment
    • jaspers
      jaspers January 13, 22:42

      where and when did organizers of endsars protest encourage voters to loot and destroy? you should know that cannot lie sense into nonsense.

      Reply to this comment

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