The False Dichotomy Between an App and a Country


By Farooq Kperogi

A pro-regime apologist said he’d rather lose an app (i.e., Twitter) than lose a country. Nonsense! That’s called a false dilemma (or a false dichotomy) in logic. A false dilemma imposes unnatural and deceptive limit on options.

You can have both an app and a country—like many countries do. You can lose a country without an app—such as Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, etc. And you can simultaneously lose an app and a country, such as Buhari’s Nigeria seems pigheadedly moving towards.

But if your country’s fabric is so brittle that it can be dismantled by the mere dissident chatter of disaffected citizens on an app, then you have no country to lose in the first place. If you really want a country, go do some work to have one so that mere insurgent chatter on an app can’t undo it.

Start with building virile institutional safeguards against systematically excluding people from government on the basis of their ethnicity, political persuasion, region, or religion. Then you won’t be scared of the shadows of social media apps.

Every stimulus rouses a response. The stimulus that’s rousing Nigeria’s current raucous dissension is Buhari’s inept and exclusionary style of ungovernance. Banning an app won’t change that fact.

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