Segun Awosanya: Obi’s Supporters Are Violating Freedom Of Expression Of Others
You were once loved on social media for your effort in securing the release of youths wrongly arrested by the police. What do you think changed that led to the hate you face today?
If you have ever studied social sciences and human behaviour you will agree with me that human beings are mostly fickle and capable of both good and evil. You can also be assured that I have known this since my teenage years when I began my conscious journey as an outlier.
Suffice to say that this was expected all along, if the lessons from our folklore and biblical teachings are anything to go by. The same mouth people use to shout Hosanna is the same one they will deploy in chanting to crucify him. Our Lord Jesus Christ walked the earth in flesh, and despite all the good done and the legacy of the gospel left, he was crucified, and Barnabas was chosen by the people he came to redeem over him.
Since 2017, we have used social media to communicate the intent of our advocacy #EndSARS and #ReformPoliceNG while running interventions as a stop-gap and engaging authorities on the critical need to end the culture of impunity and reform the Nigeria Police Force holistically.
We have thus made significant progress with that with the New Police Act 2020 and the Police Trust Fund 2019 Laws, long before the protest.
Today, the Social Intervention Advocacy Foundation, which I had the honour of founding and leading, is still at the forefront of ensuring holistic national security reform across institutions in collaboration with state institutions. So we are far more focused on the future of younger generations and the unborn with the legacy we are building than being distracted by what people are liking and hating. No iota of my self-esteem is tied to the validation of any mob.
The truth, likewise, is not found in the mob. We are out there to serve the vulnerable in society, most of whom are being threatened, railroaded, blackmailed and cowered by these hate groups posturing fraudulently as the youth of Nigeria, with their campaign of calumny cleverly hidden behind a political campaign as done during the #EndSARS protest.
How do you feel every time you get bullied and attacked on social media just for airing your views and expressing your stance on critical societal discourses?
As often stated, the evil most hypocrites point at in leadership actually emanates from our dying society. Our rulers, police officers, etc. didn’t fall from the sky. So whether you are talking about corruption or the compendium of social ills that plague our country today, you will find them in the citizens who are members of society.
All these were carefully considered over three decades ago when I became expressive about my life purpose. No matter how hard the wind howls, the mountain will not bow to it. I can’t be bullied; I have never been and would never be.
The tantrums of the teeming misguided only underscore the impact of the dearth of quality education and weaponised poverty in our society. We now have a village of sons of perdition and daughters of Delilah, making themselves available as tools for hate campaigns just to make ends meet.
I feel nothing but sympathy for the future of our society and most especially the crying need for a declaration of emergency on the failure of parenting in the country. This was part of the inspiration for our #ResponsibleParenting campaign, which we launched five years ago. This has nothing to do with me, but with our decaying society and our government’s failure to engage our youth, who are mostly despondent.
You were recently accused by a journalist, David Hundeyin of claiming to be a lawyer when you are not. Can you give clarification on that?
I have stated specifically on the record several times in my tweets from 2014 till date that I am not a lawyer. I, however, have run successful advocacy and have served on various tribunals based on my experience in security matters, civil society engagements, and the criminal justice system. I have corrected this impression several times, and only a pretend journalist would make such an unfounded claim, despite the litany of evidence in my interaction online.
We have proven to the world, however, that you don’t have to be a lawyer to be a successful advocate for good governance and universal institutional reforms.
Bill Gates leads in vaccines, and he doesn’t have to be a doctor, and there are several people leading in fields outside what they studied professionally.
In the early years of our advocacy, media/TV appearances mislabelled and occasionally misrepresented my profession in their introduction, and these were corrected (most of the time during interludes). I haven’t in the past made any of these interviews about myself, nor have I allowed any emotional story of my emergence to go on the record. I can also understand the obsession and the morbid craving for acknowledgement by most people who want their own time in the spotlight, but I humbly believe the way in which they hope to procure this by attempting to smear public figures is misguided and unfortunate.
I am Segalink, and there is nothing as great as validating yourself, stripped of all earthly accomplishments. I go by my name only and I want nothing from anyone.
Is there any parallel between the #EndSARS and the Obidient movement?
Fundamentally, yes. The #EndSARS and #ReformPoliceNG movement are certainly not the same as the protest movement, which deployed #EndSARS as a banner for the expression of their discontent without recourse to the trajectory of the advocacy.
However, the ‘EndSARS’ protest movement, which defied state curfew amidst other vices they would never take responsibility for, is the same movement as the Obidient movement as characterised by their coercion, blackmail, belligerence, cyberbullying of public figures, malevolence, libel, mendacity, and violation of the rights of other citizens.
I can authoritatively state that all the hate groups in the country are now enjoying an ‘AirBnB’ under the negligent Peter Obi Presidential Campaign, namely the IPOB agitators, who never wanted an election in Nigeria; perpetual cum commercial protesters, known to jump on anything popular to validate their existence; failed and aggrieved members of the Buhari Media Campaign, known for their belligerence and cyberbullying; the feminist coalition, who sought to use the protest as a cover for the push for same sex marriage in Nigeria but was rebuffed; and several others caught in the middle without clarity on what is real and what is fictional.
Suffice to say that the agitators are well known as individual groups, and the purpose of their current coalition is ominous. It is never in the interest of the peace, unity, and progress of our democracy.
The idea behind political campaigns is to win hearts and minds, and nothing explains the coercion and targeted harassment of individuals without provocation in order to force an endorsement.
No Nigerian was forced to support the #EndSARS and #ReformPoliceNG movement because the goal and objective speak for themselves.
It’s worthy of note that these groups never supported the advocacy nor contributed positively to the conversation and engagement of the authorities even though it benefited them until they had to protest under the name of its objective.
So, clearly, there is no surprise for us here, as a leopard never changes its spots. Anyone who believes there is any true healthy communication and problem solving with narcissists is naive. They never take responsibility for their part in anything. They are the mascots of gaslighting and manipulation in conversations. The focus will always be brought back on you, what you did in the past, and they will get mad at you for getting mad at them. They hold on to your description of their actions and take offence without addressing their own actions for triggering such a response.
Do you foresee a situation where violence will erupt as a result of the non-tolerant attitude allegedly displayed by some people on social media?
In the parlance of law, “Res ipsa loquitur” is a Latin phrase that means “the thing speaks for itself.” So this is not merely an allegation that the cluster of hate hubs that hijacked the Peter Obi campaign are belligerently intolerant, malicious, malevolent and will no doubt clash with other interests once the full campaign begins, which may trigger a series of violence toward the 2023 election.
Our role as a civic space monitoring organisation includes highlighting early warning signs, which we have done in the past. We have never been wrong with our prognosis and have advised the authorities to be prepared as well as position themselves to prevent the occurrence of all-out violence due to political differences and public incitement by these interest groups.
Recently, Pastor Poju Oyemade and billionaire Femi Otedola were called out by youths on Twitter for expressing views they didn’t like. Do you think Nigeria is now approaching a situation where only one viewpoint is allowed?
Sadly, this is demonstrably the extremist position of these aggressors in the coalition. They want to militarise and weaponise their interests with the identity politics of hate that they have made out of the Peter Obi Campaign.
No public figure, and by extension, citizens of Nigeria, is safe to air their political views, even as guaranteed and protected by the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended.
The freedom of expression and association of Nigerians are now constantly violated by the hate groups holding the Peter Obi Campaign hostage.
From Reno Omokri, Poju Oyemade, Femi Otedola, my humble self and many others to come, we can see the pattern of their attacks based on the common factor that all notable Nigerians must submit to their whims and caprices and bow to the graven image they have carved for Peter Obi in reverence.
According to their identity politics of hate, you are not Nigerian enough if you are not an idolater chanting the name of Peter Obi as your lord and saviour, and certainly don’t want the good of the country.
This is an infringement on the fundamental rights of all Nigerians, and as often done on matters like this, we have risen against the abusive trend and have reported its continuance to the authorities.
Source:- Punch Ng