Nigeria’s season of sycophants

Sir: Nigeria is a country of immense humour. This humour would have been of towering cinematic force were it not for the fact that it is often cast upon the dark horizons of Nigeria`s polity. Indeed, the country and its citizens laugh at each other, fashioning hilarious jokes out of the foibles of its mighty. Many have argued that this seemingly endless capacity for humour has helped to soften the blows of the challenges Nigerians face, most of which are of staggering gravity. Simply put, Nigeria is a country that laughs when it should be dissolving in tears. This is a good thing until it becomes bad.

As the carousel of the general elections counts days to come around, Nigeria has fully entered its season of sycophants. In this season, some of those Nigerians many of whom barely managed to squeeze-past the asphyxiating conditions in the country have come alive, queuing up behind different party flags, effectively deserting the famed flag of Nigeria, which otherwise should be the ultimate symbol of their loyalty.

If their betrayal is not brutal enough, verbal daggers weaponised to eviscerate any and every divergent opinion are sent out in full force. Ultimately, critical questions are suppressed even before they are completed. In the murky theatre of Nigeria`s politics, the drums of sycophancy beat loudly and grave issues are buried by the gale of noise.

Politics, of course, is a game of numbers and every society which cherishes the freedom of its citizens, the hallmark of democracy, does everything to open up the political space for the active participation of its citizens. In prying open the public space, the electoral system and its birth child – elections – hold magisterial place. Before each election, there is a build-up where the political gladiators sell their ideas to voters. The ability of voters to interrogate these ideas is the hallmark of electioneering and the greatest signage of sophisticated and enlightened voters which are consequently less docile to the dirty antics of politics.

It is during this build-up that the political sycophants are in full flight, singing the praises of otherwise political failures and prophesying more time in public offices. These political sycophants care for everything but the truth and they would do anything to keep open the stream of pittances flowing from their political patronage. It is not just this.

These sycophants waste no time in becoming dangerous where their interests are assailed. They will do anything to keep their source of livelihood open including verbally and physically harming perceived political opponents.

It is a matter of conscience and duty for each Nigerian to watch his role in this period of elections. Nigeria is in need of voices and hands that have Nigeria at heart, not nests of political opportunists and champions of nepotism.

In a country beleaguered by many enemies, the truth is a priceless balm and this truth can only come from true patriots, not those who sing people to power and seek to preserve them there by their mendacious songs.
Kene Obiezu wrote from Abuja.

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