Aisha Yesufu
Aisha Yesufu

By Ruth Ochogwu

The proclivity of some Nigerians to abuse noble concepts is alarming and appalling. Elsewhere, activism is a dignified enterprise and those who engage in it are translucently selfless, cerebral, purposeful and focused. But the concept of activism has been terribly bruised and abused in Nigeria.

It is common to hear about branded versions of activism in Nigeria. The categories are many and varied. Often, one hears of “emergency activists,” “hired activists,” “street activists” and lots more. And because of the extremely unstructured pattern of life in the country, it is difficult to even differentiate activists from critics. Anyone who has a personal grudge or is disgruntled with government for selfish reasons wears the badge of “rights activist” and begins to prance about making hallucinatory noise.

Genuine activists crusade popular causes, which are unambiguously beneficial to the people. The actions tilt to pro-masses agenda.  They do not personalize the struggle or hide under the veil of activism to champion self-centered interests in disguise. But Nigeria is unfortunate to have many of such fake and pseudo activists.

The co-convener, #BringBackOurGirls (BBOG) group, and self-styled and accidental rights activist, Aisha Yesufu holds the latest flag of those who defame and traduce activism in Nigeria. Her involvement in BBOG under the pretext of campaigning for the release of abducted Chibok schoolgirls was to find a convenient platform to promote a personal agenda.

Aisha Yesufu has goofed terribly and the frustration is making her endlessly restless. The popular story making the round is that she erroneously thought she had struck gold by her membership of BBOG group, which she could use to ascend to power. But President Muhammadu Buhari did not meet her expectations. The President disappointed her.

The consequence is a nurtured and bubbling pathological hatred for the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, his appointees and all who serve in the government at different capacities. She posits herself as the author of knowledge in Nigeria and so, faults everything done by government, but has no worthwhile clue on a better alternative.

She spreads criticisms on the present government like Coronavirus. And some gullible people erroneously term her watery and fluid criticisms as activism. How can someone wake up everyday, looking for even the most irrelevant issues or insignificant matters to parrot? She parrots on everything under the sun, even on issues she is barren of knowledge.

Aisha Yesufu feigns the posture of pro-masses activist. But her greatest burden is identifying the distinction between activism and criticism. There are those who think that she is out like some one on a revenge mission, but lacks the wisdom to prosecute it decently. She only manifests it in perpetually faulting everything done by the leaders of Nigeria.

To many critical observers, she feigns fighting for the poor or projects herself as the voice of the voiceless. President Buhari’s government happens to be a victim of her unrestrained anger and frustration. So, she seeks every day to lower the esteem of the President and his administration in the eyes of Nigerians, but anchored on very feeble arguments and criticisms.

Why does she hate PMB so much? It is believed by her critics that she is using the plank of the BBOG forum to strategically position herself to be noticed and consequently sneak her way into the administration of Buhari as Minister or head of a federal agency. But she was ignored and that spurred her indignation. They (her critics) concluded that she finds it difficult to forgive the administration for failing to name her a minister in the same manner, just like one former female minister of education was also mad at Mr. President.

The irony in Nigeria is that people obviously pursue personal agenda and vendetta posture as pro-masses crusaders to attract public sympathy. Aisha Yesufu’s case is more shameful and pathetic because she lacks tact.

For instance, when President Buhari addressed the nation in the aftermath of the outbreak of the Coronavirus in Nigeria and announced certain measures to curb the spread of the virus, Aisha Yesufu was in the news saying that she is not pleased with the advice given by the President. She created the impression of someone who is an expert in pandemic management; whilst she has no idea. Is Aisha advocating that President Buhari administer Nigeria based solely on the template defined by her?

And when the Hate Speech Bill was introduced in the Senate, Aisha Yesufu pushed it back to President Buhari. She failed to recognize that the executive and legislature are separate arms of government and so, Mr. President cannot interfare with the conduct of their affairs.

In any case, in her excitement to be noticed by the Presidency, Aisha Yesufu rushed to brand President Buhari as the number one hate speech purveyor, ludicrously citing the President’s description of Nigerian youths as lazy as constituting hate speech. What wisdom equates the utterance “laziness” to hate speech?

And if it is not the display of barefaced incense, what rationale should compel someone to question the decision of Mr. President directing the CBN to  stop issuing forex for the importation of food? Nigeria has achieved a significant level of food sufficiency and has no reason to keep enriching foreign nations through food importation.

But in Aisha Yesufu’s wisdom, hence forex is banned on food importation, it must also apply on importation of petroleum products. In juxtaposition, can a normal person claim Nigeria has achieved self-sufficiency on refining of crude oil to service its domestic consumption?

Not long ago, Aisha Yesufu almost had a fisticuff with the Minister of Transport, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi over the fake claims that the latter and passengers escaped kidnap by hoodlums at the Rigasa train station. She was not present at the scene of the incident; relied on secondary sources of information, but vouched for the concocted information as if she experienced it herself. It is the extent desperation has drenched her into a fake news monger for the simple reason of ridiculing the administration.

It is easy to see the over-bloated ego in Aisha. It has become a serious burden to the management of her image and reputation. What she has failed to realize is that Nigerians now know that behind the veil-wearing woman is a notorious and lavish liar, an opportunist.

So, the reality of her being not being considered for appointment as alleged by her critics has injected an endemic hatred into her against President Buhari and all that relates to him. Its only the President that she sees in her dreams. If she is not criticizing the military in the morning, she is criticizing Mrs. Buhari the next morning or the president’s ministers.

No one should be fooled by Aisha Yesufu’s antics. Her criticisms are not for altruistic reasons. Charity begins at home, but Aisha has never ever spoken about her downtrodden and impoverished people of Auchi in Edo State. She is unaware that Nigerians already knows her person. Nobody should hide behind his or her personal interest as a camouflage to attack government in the name of activism. It is against public interest.

Ochogwu is a concerned citizen and writes this piece from Wuye, Abuja

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