President Goodluck Jonathan is surrounded by sycophants, the author opines.
As you all know, unity and faith are no longer a real part of our national motto, both have been replaced with corruption and sycophancy. Without sycophancy, corruption cannot endure. The level of political corruption in Nigeria is so high that it necessitates a grand, national scheme that feeds, sustains and upholds its values.
Starting from the very top, the players are ministers, members of the National Assembly, clergymen, politicians, state governors, and other powerful individuals, all conspiring to hold Nigerians to ransom by raising the president up on a pedestal of which he is far from deserving. They lie, when the situation calls for speaking the truth. They twist every situation to benefit themselves while misleading the president to make the wrong decisions. Sycophancy is defined as the art of acting obsequiously towards someone important in order to gain favor. I say a sycophant’s goal is to blind the mind of the intended target with undue praise using man’s inherent weaknesses and desire for love, affection and respect. Hence truth has no place in our national discourse, it has become a stranger wherever important national decisions are made, even in the award of national honors. Truth is now the enemy, the opposition and the critic. Well, some of us still represent that truth, which is now persona non grata.
As I walked down the hallway of the presidential villa, I could hear voices of men and women talking in unison and trying to outdo one another. This was supposed to be the weekly Federal Executive Council meeting where Nigeria’s wealth is shared among ministries supposedly to implement development projects on-behalf of Nigerian masses. As I walked closer to the meeting room, I could make out distinct voices, particularly that of the Honorable Minister, Diezani Madueke saying “…wow, that’s fantastic!” I could also make out Minister Bala Mohammed saying “Wallahi, gaskiya, this is the best.” Then somebody else said “Oga, it is as if they sew these clothes right onto your body, they are a perfect fit.” I hesitated at the door that had been left ajar to compose myself a bit, before going inside. I peeped to see the number of people in the room, and my goodness, what I saw was shocking. What in Christ’s name is going on? The president was stark naked in the middle of the room, while everyone was praising him on how great he looked. Yes, our very own Goodluck Ebele Azikwe Jonathan. I must be seeing and hearing things, so I wiped my face with both palms, to try again. I peeped inside the room one more time in order to ascertain that indeed I wasn’t seeing ‘things’, and indeed, the president was naked! What could be happening? For sure, I was not dreaming.
The president’s nakedness as far as I could see was enshrined in the following sins: Subsidy removal, retention of Diezani Madueke and other non-performing aides, depletion of excess crude account for his own election, protection of corrupt individuals, indiscriminate borrowing, new presidential banquet hall, unnecessary purchase of luxury presidential planes, excessive budgetary allocation for his own meals, excessive budget for other presidential fringe benefits, subsidy fraud by his government, massive looting by ministers, insecurity, induced and unattended terrorism, no clear plans for youth employment. The list was long.
As I walked into the room, no one looked in my direction nor acknowledged my arrival, you see, I was invisible because I represented the truth. No one could hear me and even as I screamed, no one paid any attention. Again I shouted, “Mr. President, you are naked, I can see everything Sir!” But no one heard me, and least of all, the president. He was totally taken over by the men and women around him, he was the puppet and they…puppeteers. The president looked at himself one more time, at that moment, I saw doubt in his eyes, I saw unease in his body language. He asked Minister Diezani, “…but I am naked, don’t you see?” She looked at him and smiled, Your Excellency, you can be funny sha”, she went on, “Sir, you look absolutely gorgeous and everyone will love you. Look at you, look how handsome you are.” With that, President Jonathan smiled, raised up his head high, pushed out his chest and stood taller with his hands on his hips, feeling more confident even as his genitals dangled between his legs. Everyone took turns praising the president and admiring his new clothes. All the ministers, with no exception played along in this grand scheme. They reassured him that all the sins of his nakedness weren’t really sins; they were indeed the latest fashion, all the way from America, the World Bank, and that Nigerians would love him for it. They told him that, of all Nigeria’s presidents, his clothes were the finest, after all it had the inscription PhD on it.
And so it was, the president must address the press and then later face Nigerians. All the ministers and advisors, one former head of state, some governors, a jet flying clergyman, and a fuel subsidy businessman ushered Jonathan out to meet the press and as he stood there naked, the ThisDay reporter began with questions directed at the president, he did not betray any emotions to suggest any acknowledgment of the president’s nakedness. All the other news correspondents followed suit, they all in fact commended the president on his new clothes (Punch & Premium Times were not in attendance). After the news conference, everyone collected the usual brown envelope and went on to write up their stories as instructed by Abati.
However, the world reacted, no one loved GEJ as promised by Diezani, the picture was ugly, the prognosis scary and the numbers staggering. All human development indices went off the chart, showing increased poverty in Nigeria, 10.5 million children out of school, 80% of Nigerians living on less than $2 a day and the Nigerian government turned out to be the second most corrupt in the world. Our debt profile rose considerably since Jonathan took office and he had depleted our excess crude account on two things: his own election and frivolous spending on luxury living for himself and his family.
In the beginning, when President Goodluck Jonathan was presented by his party for presidential elections, many simply and categorically stated that he was not qualified to hold such high position. The candidate himself agreed that he was not qualified. Not those surrounding him, what they all saw was an opportunity to pursue their own personal agenda with a weak president in place. Those around him managed to convince him that he was ordained by God to become president, they helped him to believe falsely in himself even as they knew through daily dealings that he was not competent to lead Nigeria.
Ever since becoming president, every step taken by Goodluck has been one calculated to benefit a few individuals. Those around him have all conspired to conceal the truth from him about the narrowness of their agenda. They conspired to disinherit every Nigerian of their common patrimony in pursuit of selfish gluttonous goals. He is fed on a daily dose of lies about the true condition of the common man that he took the oath of office to serve. He is convinced that senseless and frivolous spending on planes, luxury, meals, and even a new banquet hall are all in the interest of the common man. Any agitation from the people is portrayed as the handiwork of the opposition. No one can tell the president the truth, he is unable to hear it. Former president Obasanjo whom everyone credited for bringing Jonathan to power, has been discredited by Jonathan’s men for speaking the truth. They have hired twitter hooligans to attack unsuspecting youths and other concerned citizens who tweet the truth everyday on the real state of affairs in the country. These twitter hooligans appear in different forms, religious zealots, intellectuals, so-called insiders, Special Assistants, informed politicians, or just fake twitter accounts used to do their dirty jobs.
Now the president’s scheduled encounter with Nigerians via a media chat, dressed in his new clothes, some last minute alterations needed to be made to make sure everything is perfect. He was excited to show off his handsome new look. After all, Diezani herself reassured him of his dashing gorgeous looks. After the alterations were made, the fittings finalized and the questions rehearsed for the nth time, the president was ready. He walked onto the stage in his nakedness and for the first time, it was there for all Nigerians to see. The Nigerian public and other interested parties were transfixed by the president’s appearance in his full regalia of incompetence, lack of commitment to the development of Nigeria, unabashed acceptance of corruption, and his blindness to all things truthful. It would be right to say that the president was indeed in a state of controlled consciousness, similar to the state of hypnosis, directed by a group of handlers.
As the media chat progressed, at no single time did the president show any sign of awareness of his own condition. He was incapable of understanding the questions he was being asked, hence the disconnect with the answers. The problem at hand is the force of evil, first in the person of the president himself and second of those surrounding him, the sycophants, the businessmen and women looking to make a quick profit at all cost, religious figures that have abandoned their calling in search of worldly materials, these are all praise-singers who have managed to convince a vain, foolish president that all talk of his incompetence and corruption was the opposition speaking, and that the monstrous greed of the few, is his administration’s policy for creating wealth. All calls to NTA by angry citizens to express rage at the president’s nakedness were not put through, by order of Mr. Maku. Only praise singers were allowed.