“The President is merely the most important among a large number of public servants. He should be supported or opposed exactly to the degree which is warranted by his good conduct or bad conduct, his efficiency or inefficiency in rendering loyal, able, and disinterested service to the Nation as a whole. Therefore it is absolutely necessary that there should be full liberty to tell the truth about his acts, and this means that it is exactly necessary to blame him when he does wrong as to praise him when he does right. Any other attitude in an American citizen is both base and servile. To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public. Nothing but the truth should be spoken about him or anyone else. But it is even more important to tell the truth, pleasant or unpleasant, about him than about anyone else.” – President Theodore Roosevelt.
A former Speaker of the Nigerian House of Representatives, Ghali Na’Abba says sycophancy has become the basis with which people are elected into political offices in Nigeria.
We are losing a lot of things. If you look at the quality of leadership in this country since 1999 to date, it has been falling
The trend, according to the former speaker, is very dangerous to the country and which has also led to the erosion of internal democracy, meaning people do not now see the need to improve themselves.
Chimazuru Nnadi-Oforgu has traced the problems of Imo politics to the activities of sycophants.
Chief Nnadi-Oforgu who spoke to journalists on the sidelines of a political re-engineering workshop in Abuja, noted that Nigerian governors are often times misadvised and misdirected because ninety nine per cent of those they rely on for advise to govern are sycophants who hardly tell them the truth.
He explained that the extent to which sycophancy has taken over reality and stunted our political development can be gauged from the daily praising of failed politicians in the media, adding that they have been selling to innocent Nigerians falsehood and propaganda.
“There is no governor who would not want to do the right things for his people, the problem is the praise singers and sycophants around them who don’t advise them well. I have observed that ninety nine per cent of people who hover around our governors are hopeless inarticulate sycophants and praise singers.
Imo politics is in grave trouble because we the citizens have allowed deception, denial, disinformation, diversion, evasion, exaggeration, indoctrination, lying, media-manipulation, mind control, propaganda, scapegoating and smear campaigns which are the signs of sycophancy in our politics and governance.
Recently, my ever curious eyes took a peep into the governance of my dear state, Imo, and my eyes specifically picked up one of the most dangerous blights silently eating away at our social, economic and political fabric. This is no other than sycophancy: defined as a process of using flattery to win favour from individuals wielding influence. The Greek definition of a sycophant went further to illustrate him as someone who brings all kinds of charges and proves none. “It is their practice to bring charges even against those who have done no wrong. For from these they would gain most profit. The word of a sycophant entails false accusation, malicious prosecution, and abuse of legal process for mischievous or fraudulent purposes.”
The number one gainful trade in Imo now is to become a sycophant and praise our governor to the high heavens. It is now profitable to become a sycophant. Sycophancy has since taken over the job of sincere policy thinkers and makers and most of our social, economic and political ideas are now initiated and proposed by the unregistered association of Nigerian sycophancy.
Just take a careful scrutiny of most of our government houses and you will notice their conspicuous presence; always decked in flamboyant regalia and their sweet talk trademark. They wine and dine with our representatives in our states and National Assembly; they mingle freely with our governor. They are so strong and powerful; the only thing they lack is the truth from their mouths.
It is no longer a big deal in Imo if wrong pegs are being put in the wrong holes and assigned to head sensitive and important positions across the state. This is actually part of sycophancy, the abuse of legal process for mischievous or fraudulent purposes. Sometime you don’t really blame these cliques of modern con men and women; they actually help expose the weakness and quality of those purported to be representing our interest states and federal level.
It is a known fact that the Nigerian politicians and other government officials, including some of their private counterparts derive joy and satisfaction from flattering and praises; they love and worship titles, awards and other organized recognitions. They hate criticism and any opposition to their failure and ideas. The daily praises of some of our failed politicians in the pages of newspapers, radio and television is a good example of how sycophancy has taken over the reality in our development. You can hardly open three newspapers or magazines in the country today without beholding some commissioned pictures of purported achievements of a governor. Nigerians are bombarded everyday with commissioned articles, write-ups, commentary on radio and documentary on television of some of the achievements of these men and women, using public funds for cheap image propaganda. The Nigerian media both the print and electronic have since been conned into the activities of the sycophantic movement, with some of them daily smiling happily to the banks, fully aware that they have been selling ndi Imo Nigerians falsehood and undemocratic propaganda.
Some of our traditional and religious leaders are not left out in this new venture, as some of them are well known supporters and sympathizers of various politicians and political parties. In fact, some of them are the grand patrons of the sycophant interest group and humble beneficiaries of stolen wealth and government patronage. Their sycophantic voice and positions provide them with the opportunity to win contracts and fix their cronies in high government positions and private establishment in the state. Those who have already been bought by their various benefactors cannot and will not tell them the truth when the time warrants. They are always scared of losing their transitory positions.
Sycophancy has been one of the most challenging factors why our roads still remain a dead trap despite all the billions yearly spent on them. It is the reason why our public schools are still looking like junk yards in this 21st century, and also part of the reason our health facilities are the most shameful in the world. I tell you, the daily adulation of our rulers has been part of the origin why most of our local and state governments are still finding it difficult to see the truth and effectively develop their constituencies. The sycophants have long knocked some false notions into their psyche. They cunningly tell them and show them what they want to see and not what they should sincerely know and understand.
All across the state, the most profiting business seems to be the smooth talk trade and some of our inefficient politicians are enjoying the sham ride on the false wheels of these men and women around them, whose number one interest is to abuse the legal process for mischievous or fraudulent purposes. Who cares if you are a failed politician in Nigeria? Just have a good number of sycophants around you or become one yourself; then you shall see and feel the wonders of the sycophantic business in the country, especially if you can make your way in government cycles and always remain foolish and greedy and importantly unpatriotically never criticize the wrong actions of those in power even when you see the shape of truth glaring triumphantly across your face.
Duruebube Uzii na Abosi