Tinubu, Atiku, Obi and the theory of Whataboutism! By: Waheed Ogunjobi - THE BUSINESS PACKAGE


Friday, October 13, 2023

Tinubu, Atiku, Obi and the theory of Whataboutism! By: Waheed Ogunjobi

Tinubu, Atiku, Obi and the theory of Whataboutism!

By: Waheed Ogunjobi 

Nigeria and indeed Nigerians sometimes or more often than not have always present a melodramatic stance on issues in what our igbo brothers would describe as " Dancing naked in the village square " and we seems to be enjoying our " Palongo dance ", which had  kept on showing us off as a bunch of clown in the comity of  nations. 

Like a Television soap opera  which gradually evolved into  compelling  plots  and employs the tactic of   suspense to keep the audience glued to the screen, Nigerian politicians for instance have always come up with one issue at a time that will either  entertain or insult the sensibilities of the  people for a given time before another drama of the absurdities is allowed to play out itself.What a nation of  clowns?

Sometimes, Nigerians relish and regalled in pushing frivolous issue to public consciousness and make it to donate and perhaps have a larger share on issues of public importance  
all in the quest to divert attention from the more pressing national issues. 

Looking at the drama of the absurdities that had  since characterised the outcome of the 2023 general elections and the manner in which each of the principal political  gladiators are aiming for the throat of one another, one would readily recall the theory of Whataboutism. In Yoruba Parlance, it is called " Curing a lesser disease when the other big disease is festering and life threatening. " Fete sile pa lapalapa. 

The rhetorical function of whataboutism is to redirect attention from the specific case at hand. Alt- hough commonly used as a rhetorical move, whataboutisms can appear in arguments. These tend to be weak arguments and are often instances of the tu quoque fallacy or other fallacies of relevance.

Whataboutism or whataboutery (as in "what about…?") denotes in a pejorative sense a procedure in which a critical question or argument is not answered or discussed, but retorted with a critical counter-question which expresses a counter-accusation.

Whataboutism is an argumentative tactic where a person or group responds to an accusation or difficult question by deflection. Instead of addressing the point made, they counter it with “but what about X?”.

Peter Conradi, author of Who Lost Russia?, called whataboutism "a form of moral relativism that responds to criticism with the simple response: 'But you do it ...

The elections have  been fought and won. The aggrieved parties have done the needful by approaching the Presidential Appeal Court Tribunal to adjudicate and the tribunal in its wisdom had thrown out majority of the arguments adduced by the opposition and it is expected that the opposition parties  will alow the man holding the ace to focus more on the issue of governance.

Instead, the parties have resulted to take the matter to the Supreme Court, which of course is  still part of their  constitutional rights and is adjudged as one of the processes needed to deepen  democracy .

Having moved to the supreme Court, one would have expected that the  gladiators would present a sound argument  before the Apex court of the land pointing out loopholes where the Presidential election petition tribunal might have missed  the point and therefore listen to the prayers of  Atiku and Obi and declare Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and or Peter Obi the winner of the election.

In what Onikepo Braithwaite described as Atikus' voyage of discovery to God's own country- The United State of America, the issue that has however  dominated the media space is about the Chicago State University and how and how not Mr.  President had forged his certificate or not. 

The aggrieved Vice President had approached the Chicago State University, demanding for the release of academic transcript of President Tinubu among others , even against the latter's consent. The overriding believes as at the time the public awaits the Certificate from CSU was that the President did not attend the University  as claimed. And, after much ado, the CSU shocked the entire world when it released the document and declared  that President Tinubu did not forget his academic records  and the document had since been released with the University duly affirming   that candidate Tinubu contrary to widespread insinuation actually attended the CSU. The BBC, a respected International news media has also come out  strong,  declaring that there are no evidences that Tinubu forged his certificate after a serious fact checking expenditure.
Where does this endless pursuit take us ?

Immediatley after the certificate was cleared by the CSU, Alhaji Atiku  again adessed a press confrence, where he rallied his other opposition elements to join him in the fight. With the manner Alhaji Abubakar  reached out to his fellow contestants from other political parties  to rally round him to fight the certificate hoax to a finish, it was obvious that the issue has shifted from who and who did not win the election to the desperation to see the other person loose and everyone back to the basic.It has become a case of Kaka ki eku ma je sese, afi se awadanu”, that is, “If I can’t have it, nobody else will have it, so, let us scatter it”. 

This stance,  however called to question the propriety of the unwholly alliance now being championed by Obi and Atiku and in whose interests that is?. People have continued to wonder why the combined forces now being used to fight the Presidemt to the finishing line was nor deployed when the momentum were gathering. A combination of Obi and Atiku's votes would have taken  Tinubu to  the cleaners owing to the interpretation of the outcome of the elections and Nigerians would have been save the fortune or misfortunes  of having him emerged. 

As if to match Atiku and his cohorts action for action, a group loyal to the ruling All Progressives  Congress  (APC) has also called out Alhaji Atiku Abubakar , asking him to explain how his Senior School Certificate is carrying another name order than his original surname. 

As a result  in the last couple of days, Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has had to start explaining  the discrepancies in his Senior School Certificate Examination (SSCE) certificate.

Were it not for the wild goose chase the two political gladiators embarked upon, Nigerians would have been saved the embarrassment of having to dissipate energy on issues that are rather inconsequential 

It is now becoming a melodrama that says " if you Chicago  me, I Sadiq you". Again, where does these matter take us especially  in the face of excruciating pains Nigerians have been subject to. The long drawn legal battle Atiku had entered into had not afforded  him the opportunity to play the role of opposition element the way it  should be played. For the benefits of the doubts, opposition in the democratic setting seems is an entity that  exists to speak out  where the hope of the  common man lies, as it is expected that putting the ruling party and its candidate on their toes will help to better the lots of the masses through reversals of bad policies. But, if one may ask, where lies the hope of the masses in this politics of whataboutism?

That piece entitled Tinubu, Atiku, Obi and the theory of Whataboutism  was written by Waheed  Ogunjobi, journalist, author and Public Affairs Analyst. He can be reached via waheedogunjobi@gmail.com

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