Monday, 23 May 2005
Dr. Aliyu Tilde: Elevating Nigeria’s National Discourse?
By Paul I. Adujie
New York, United States
Recently, I received an offensive e-mail purportedly written by Dr. Aliyu Tilde, it portrayed him for what he is or what he is not? If you believed the e-mail contents, Dr. Tilde is a flame-throwing bigot with sundry animosities toward Nigerians who are not from the Northern parts of Nigeria.
He was portrayed as a blind-hater, who is fuming-mad with bigotry and pungent prejudices of the worst type, against his fellow Nigerians, for the sole reason of being from the southern parts of Nigeria! Dr. Tilde was portrayed to hold other Nigerians in complete contempt as he sees and described them in the most putrid of adjectives, all these were ascribed to Dr. Tilde in what looked like an authentic e-mail from him, as he would be describing his opinion in relation to other Nigerians from what is commonly called the Northern and Southern parts.
These vile were aptly, albeit, offensively mailed from an e-mail-address “firstname.lastname@example.org or one of the usual email web sites.
Four issues have therefore arisen, first, what are Dr. Tilde’s real opinions or views? Second, Is he entitled to these views or opinions, even if they are outlandishly outrageous? Thirdly, Why these resort to inappropriate hijacking and impersonation of Dr. Tilde’s name and email address? And Fourth, Whatever happened to a right to reply, rejoinders, joining of issues in debates or writing rebuttals, Instead of this viciousness?
I am familiar, in a broad cursory sense, with Dr. Tilde’s public views on Nigerian issues.
I find some of his views clearly unacceptable and perhaps there are other people who have a right to feel the same way…in disagreeing with his views, but would not impersonate him or his email name and address!
I take the view that Dr. Tilde as everyone else on earth is entitled to his views and opinions on any issue on God’s wide earth! No matter how aberrant or even if some may find some of his views abhorrent, he is entitled to them!
The acts that have been visited on Dr. Tilde, offends common decency, offends the laws, offends fairness and every appropriateness known to man…. It also offended my sensibilities, for it is horrible for anyone to have to endure the horrors to which Dr. Tilde was compelled to endure through or by the criminal hijackings and misappropriation of his name and email address for illegal and idiotic purpose.
It is trite to remind us all, that freedom of the individual, freedom of speech, freedom to assemble and freedom to partake in discursive debates or discourses in private and public forums, are all essential ingredients or elements of modern societies and democracies such as Nigeria.
We must remember that Dr. Tilde, myself and you that may be reading this, dabble into social, economic and political commentaries and we do expect reactions, agreements and disagreements with our points of view, but we do not, and should not expect death threats of the vileness of impersonations and email hijackings for illegal inappropriate purpose.
And in the market place of ideas, of public debates and discourses, disagreements may engender rejoinders or rebuttal, of assertions by a commentator or critic, journalist or anyone involved in public affairs… this is, or ought to be a universal phenomenon, so that reactions contribute and illuminate debates, fleshes out more ideas which in turn enhances the body of knowledge!
An unacceptable trend has emerged or developed in our public space! Whereby, some people who disagree with point of view, are offended, and would, resort to emailing electronic viruses, as has happened to me countlessly, electronic viruses are the physical equivalence of fire-bombing my personal computer or PC and now, this foray into the absurdly criminal enterprise of inappropriateness, of hijacking email names and address and impersonation for illegal purposes!
Nigerians must not stifle those who have different opinions or point of views, we will do better not to stifle dissent in our society! It certainly might be Dr. Tilde today, but it could be me or you next, as victim of these illegalities.
All Nigerians of goodwill, and the government, must therefore join in condemning the vile vicious acts that were perpetrated on Dr. Tilde. We must elevate public debates while avoiding personal attacks… Dr. Tilde is entitled his opinion, even if we disagree!