Barely two months since the #EndSARS protests saw Nigerians from all walks of life galvanised in common purpose, it appears the perennial tribalist antics of Nigerians only took a break.
In response to the allegations of looting labelled against former commander-in-chief, Yakubu Gowon by United Kingdom parliamentarian Tom Tugendhat, President of the African Development Bank, AfDB Akinwumi Adesina took to Twitter to defend the stateman’s integrity.
In a tweet that has made the round of Nigeria Twitter and attracted strong counter-arguments from many social commentators like Ayo Sogunro, Mr Adesina said, “Be careful of misinformation! H.E. General Yakubu Gowon, Nigeria’s former Head of State, is a man of great honour, decency, honesty, amazing simplicity, humility and integrity. I know him. A great and admirable elder statesman of Nigeria. His honesty and integrity are impeccable.”
While the accusations themselves remain in question since the UK parliamentarian who made them said himself that, “it is said that,” implying the allegations are just that – mere allegations.
The ire Mr Adesina’s tweet stirred stems from what many consider a rewrite of history in calling the man who went back on his word on the Aburi accord which lead to Nigeria’s bloody 3-year civil war, “a man of impeccable honesty and integrity.”
@ayosogunro noted that Mr Adesina’s tweet amounts to, “a lesson on the importance of understanding sociopolitical history and social psychology along with one’s area of specialization. A person can be a skilled technocrat and yet spout uninformed opinion when they step outside their field.”
In a twist of the tribalistic explosion, Nigerian Twitter user @editan_1 blamed the Southern region, particularly the Western part, of laundering the image of Nigeria’s past leaders.
The irony and a point to note is that many of the criticisms Mr Adesina faced came from the southern region, especially the western part. It is a point to note.
Because these seemingly innocuous points, if noted more often by Nigerians as the country continues to face its weaknesses and build on its strengths, will go a long way into ensuring that the new Nigeria of our dreams is a country that will work for everyone regardless of tribal affiliation.