Animals teach us much about ourselves. So many human behavioural traits can be explained by a study of the behaviour of certain animals. Take, for example, the art of deception, which biologists ascribe to “lower” animals. Some of us cannot understand why some humans are deceptive, or why others are prone to deception. In most cases, deception benefits the user, but in some cases, it satisfies the mental craving of the victim. Predaceous animals use deception to catch their prey, while weak animals employ deception for survival and self-preservation. Protective mimicry is common to many animal species, as reflected, for instance, in the chameleon’s ability to change into the colours of its environment. For protective or deceitful purposes, many species of animals can discard their original form or colours and adopt the form of another animal or the colours of a given environment. In explaining why weak animals employ protective mimicry, the English naturalist and geologist, Charles Robert Darwin states in his 1859 classic,On the Origin of Species, that some small, weak animals “cannot escape by flight from the larger animals which prey upon them, hence they are reduced like most weak creatures to trickery and dissimulation.”
Weak animals are very conscious about the predatory nature and tactics of predaceous beasts, and accordingly adopt self-protective behaviours, like death-feigning to deceive the predator.
Deception in human beings is tricky. Unlike animals, humans are not easily categorised into deceivers and victims.Psychologists believe that man is inherently susceptible to deception. In fact, some believe that we all crave for deception. There are, therefore, two sides to deception – the instinct to deceive and crave for deception. Our ignorance, sixth religious sense and belief in the supernatural predispose us to deception. Sometimes, those who deceive us are not predaceous characters but persons who are beneficiaries of the mythical imagery we conjure among them.
This may explain why the smart ones among us use religion as a tool of deception. We believe in God but hardly believe we can have a one-on-one relationship with Him. We, therefore, create in our minds “men of God” whom we choose to worship in the hope of finding favours with God. To get God’s blessings, we discard our original self and put on the brains, thoughts and colours of the men of God in whose places we worship.To many, the man of God has answers to all human problems, including poverty and ill-health. Some take it to the ridiculous point of elevating the man of God to a god who must be protected from blasphemers and “unbelievers”. Some may tolerate you when you attack or question God, but will never tolerate or forgive you if you say something offensive to the man of God. A Christian may forgive his/her spouse for sinning against God but may not forgive the spouse for questioning the powers or spirituality of his/her pastor. Muslims are led to terrorism by their men of God; some do not even bother to read the Quran and make their deductions from it.
Deception is also a useful tool in politics. The average reasoning persons depend on the above average thinking and smart ones to make their political decisions. To be a successful politician capable of leading or deciding the political fate of the others, one must be exceptionally good in the art of deception and trickery. Such a person must be capable of miracles or feats that confound the ordinary mind.
There is one man every Nigerian politician either loves or fears, a man believed to have mythical political powers with which he can influence political outcomes in every part of the country – Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the Jagaban of Borgu Kingdom. Many are so obsessed with the fear of Jagaban that whenever he is perceived to have a relationship with a candidate at an election, they gang up against that candidate. That was the reason why James Faleke was robbed of the APC mandate in Kogi State. Many believe that many competent, loyal APC members are being sidelined in the Government and politics of the APC because of their association with him.
There is nowhere the fear of Jagaban is taken to a ridiculous point as in Ondo. Jagaban supported a candidate during the primaries of the APC in the state. He was rigged out of the race. Not to be bothered, Jagaban recoiled to his beautiful, rich Lagos to mind his business and support the hardworking Governor Akin Ambode. But his traducers were not comfortable with his silence – a tool he has always used in his political lifevery effectively. All kinds of conspiracy theories were scripted around him. Some said he shifted his support to the AD candidate with a cash support of N10 billion. Besides the fact that it is impossible to raise and throw that kind of cash around in today’s Nigeria, those who know the Jagaban know that he is a good scholar of the laws of parsimony.
While many have allowed themselves to be deceived with all kinds of stories about the Jagaban’s involvement in the politics of Ondo State, it gladdens one that the trajectory of the Jagaban’s southwestern politics is not in any way altered; he remains the political rock of the Southwest. With time, those who indulge in the folly of trying to humble him will know that the Jagaban is a patient man.
He will surely laugh last.