“There is not a truth existing which I fear or wish unknown to the whole world.” – Thomas Jefferson
“When it comes to the truth, the real bias is thinking any one side has a monopoly on it.” – A Barton Hinkle.
Three events or incidences prompted me to write this article.
First one was the wide dissemination of an article purportedly written by our esteemed professor and Nobel Laureate, Wole Soyinka in tribute to Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, heaping praises on him and giving reasons why he, Tinubu, is such a great political strategist, even though not a saint, and great Yorubaman who rescued Nigeria from the clutches of the evil PDP. When I read the article, I immediately suspected it could not have been the
handiwork of Kongi; I responded to my friends, most of who are in the same political persuasion as I am. I was immediately chastised by most of them, their rationalization being that it does not matter who the author is; it was the content that we should accept. I was aghast! So if Prof Wole Soyinka decided to sue the people wrongly ascribing the article to him, what would they then say? Or if the real author decided to sue Prof Soyinka for plagiarism, what would my friends say or do in his defence? We have since learnt that the said article was indeed written by someone else.
Second was the case of Col (rtd.) Sambo Dasuki, the besieged erstwhile National Security Adviser to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan who is now embroiled in a fight for his freedom after being accused of mismanaging billions of Naira and Dollars meant to purchase arms for the Nigerian military to fight Boko Haram. I remember when this man was appointed, there was so much encomium heaped on him. He was this, he was that; the next best thing to sliced bread; expert in internal and external security, counter-terrorism, counter-insurgency, best soldier in the Nigeria Army, highly regarded world-wide, blah, blah blah!! His CV was as long as my two arms extended; attended hundreds of courses, degrees, certificates, trips abroad, conferences, workshops, seminars, etc. I said to myself then, “This is the end of Boko Haram in Nigeria”. Alas, it turned out he was just there for his pocket and/or to enrich some interested individuals or groups.
It goes the same way with 99.9% of our government officials – elected or appointed. They all have the best education and achievements comparable to any and even superior to many in the whole world, but unfortunately with no sense of responsibility and commitment to service to their country and people; ONLY to their own pockets and family. Their education, achievements, accolades and success are then exposed as only a means to get to power and loot the treasury or defraud and oppress their own people; a dearth of leadership, responsibility and sincerity of purpose in this potentially great country that is only too obvious anywhere and everywhere you look.
And third, the case of the “29,000 Nigerians awaiting deportation from the United Kingdom, and 500 of them deported in one day, in one chartered plane to Nigeria just a day ago”. Again, I wrote that this is not possible! 500 Nigerians who are unwilling to go home packed in one plane, with how many guards? At what cost to the British Government? I was again buttonholed by some people who think they are more patriotic than I am (the same trait that our rulers have always had, yet loot the country and deprive their people the dividends of democracy and a developed nation). As it turned out, only 48 Nigerians were deported that day, with probably more to come in batches. Where did our journalists and reporters get the 500 figure from? Nowhere, but they just have to enhance or embellish the news so that they can sell papers, and the gullible people swallowed the lies, as they know they would.
The more I read our newspapers and the social media, listen to our politicians and civil servants, and notice often knee-jerk, misinformed reactions of my people, I have come to believe that my people just do not want to hear the truth. They really just want to be lied to, beautiful lies that make them feel good, make then forget their sorrows and the sins committed by them and against them, that make them seem to be part of their often corrupt and totally immoral governments and fit with what they really want to believe.
Trying to tell the truth to our people is absolutely futile. Trying to tell people the truth after they have been lied to their entire lives, as Nigerians have been lied to almost since their Independence, isn’t really worthwhile at all, it just gets you called a reactionary. In fact, they turn you into the Liar, and make you start questioning your own insanity and integrity. Many people only hear what they want to hear. Anybody that provides them lies is telling the “truth”. It is a psychological trait.
I will admit that in philosophy, Truth is very relative. There is no absolute Truth, but in saner societies, some kind of Truth-based ideology and tenet has been the defining and engaging foundation to their development as better societies for their (and other) people to live in. I have never before encountered a people and country where Truth is so much in short supply as to be completely non-existent as Nigeria. There is a deliberate dearth of Truth and fact, not the least aided by devilish politicians, unconcerned civil servants, selfish businessmen/women, and, wait for it, the society (people) itself.
I have always written that there is no Truth in Nigeria; nobody tells the Truth; nobody wants to hear and accept the Truth; the Truth is often hard to find or discern from the loads of information, or misinformation that is often spewed out on a daily basis by all sectors of the Nigerian society. We all want to hear what we want to hear, and this is what our rulers use to keep us ignorant and in bondage. Most of our leaders are intelligent (intelligent only enough to know how to pull the wool over the eyes of the rest of us and how to loot the treasury and still appear like heroes); but why are they like that? We were clamouring for a graduate President a while ago; then we had one with late Yar ‘Adua (B Sc Chemistry) and then, presto! Another one with a PhD in Zoology, Dr Jonathan; and Nigeria suddenly became an educated elite country; then what happened? Education is not a prerequisite to good governance, I have come to appreciate. It helps, but ONLY if the person has a good heart towards his people. That’s leadership.
Nigerians like sensational news and the ruling class knows this, so they spin us load of lies and we buy it hook line and sinker. They ALL TELL LIES. The newspapers that are supposed to feed us with correct information are even worse, bunch of lazy journalists who are easily compromised to write stories that suit the ruling elite, but manipulative of the gullible masses. All they know how to do is cut and paste. Imagine publishing that 500 illegal immigrants deported when in actual fact it was only 48. They cannot even verify the news before going to print.
We as a people don’t like taking responsibility for our own actions; someone else has to be blamed for their inadequacies. Hence Dasuki now was trying to implicate his boss and others. Examples abound in Nigeria. Have we ever heard of any ruler, ex-ruler (president, governor, LG chairman, minister, etc.) come out and admit culpability for their actions or inactions? No, they are all hiding under some cover or the other, shifting blames to one another and obfuscating and perverting the course of justice. Some even go as far as seeking court injunctions from corrupt judges to prevent investigation and arrest. Some cases against these so-called leaders have been in courts for over 10 years with no end in sight as to logical judgement or even a decision. Is that the Truth? But our leaders and even followers will cling on to the “Rule of Law”. Why does the rule of law apply when it comes to prosecution but does not apply when the crimes are being perpetrated?
The truth forces one to question the foundational beliefs one holds. If enough erroneous foundational beliefs can be manufactured in one’s belief system, the harder it will be for them to accept the truth when it stands right in front of them. People adhere to religion because they don’t want to have to change their foundational beliefs. I think everyone is guilty of feeling susceptible by some facet of the world around us, something out there could indeed force us to look at the world differently and we are all uncomfortable with that idea. Fear of the unknown is a powerful stimulus to continue in the same direction even if doing so is a bad idea. In present times, continuing down our shared road to ruin just to feel contented with ourselves is a really bad idea.
The truth should set you free; that is the familiar tenet. So why do our people actually choose to keep themselves imprisoned? Why do we consider the truth to be a menace? Most importantly, who made us think this way and why? What are being kept secret from us and why?
Why do we desire CHANGE, but are not ready to CHANGE? Your guess is as good as mine. I shouldn’t care anymore, but I cannot help myself. It is my country and my people, anyway I look.
Tell the Truth always!!!!