I was surprised yesterday by the news of a buharimeter site through which the activities of the new and popular President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, and his government would be tracked in real-time in order to measure a concordance between their promises and reality. Surprised, but not shocked.
Whether a digital native or a digital migrant, this beautiful initiative should not be a shock to anyone in our contemporary world. As it has been argued in different fora, the truth is that the new media has become the contemporary village-playground on which people gather and make decisions. It is the new postal box with which people communicate. But it is also increasingly becoming a foremost means of moral construction and marketing of values.
It was not by accident, I would imagine, that President Muhammadu Buhari – while showing his gratitude to Nigerians for their diverse roles in bringing the present political dispensation to birth – had chosen to thank “those who tirelessly carried on the campaign on the social media.” The fact is that in this epoch where the internet is the best platform to drive commercial activities, it is equally the premium place to market value-systems, engage in political activism and promote diverse causes.
I therefore commend the idea behind the buharimeter. With this media tool, the popular definition of democracy as “government of the people, by the people and for the people” just got a chronometer. The new administration, in the interest of the polity but also in its own interest, had better adhere strictly to its promises and election promises. This tool signals (with several other similar initiatives) the end of an all-talk politics and ushers in the era in which a government is carefully rated by its ability to walk its talk.
On a note of digression, such a special media tool of technology also brings to my mind one of the laudable initiatives of the last administration which never saw the light of the day: the National Identity Card. This new administration, hopefully being wise, would speed up the success of this initiative. It is a singular initiative whose success would have immense positive consequences for the peace, security, comfort and general good of the Nigerian people. The usual party-chauvinism must therefore not play out here. The new ruling party would want to take note that there are a good number of initiatives to continue/take over from the last administration. One of them is the said National Identity Card. Another would be the initiatives of that laudable minister of Agriculture, Akinwunmi Adesina.
But back to the subject at hand, let the current government be aware that the people are not just watching but scrupulously tracking the adherence of the Buhari-led government to its campaign promises. The period of fabricating election promises merely for the purpose of winning an election is fast becoming a yesterday. Buharimeter, in my opinion, is a welcome addition to the growing arsenal of the people’s court online.