Falling for Goebbels-type propaganda, By Nasiru Suwaid

One of the most unique characteristics of the German Third Reich is its canny ability to sell its evil ideologies of Anti-Semitism, Aryan supremacy and genocide, with the moral authority and equanimity which belie the horrendous nature of racial extinction. As such, an apparatchik and official of the National Socialist German Workers Party (NSDAP), would not see, seek, or even attempt to give information management a romantic veneer or a presentable or deceptive image rather than the simple reality of pure propaganda.

After all, the most successful brain behind the Nazi idea was a failed romantic novelist who was never able to get a single story successfully published yet he was enabled to print thousands of unauthentic materials as factual documents. Dr. Paul Mathias Hubertus Goebbels, the Third Reich’s propaganda minister, it seemed, believed that a lie repeated a thousand times assumes the unfortunate certainty of truth.

Unfortunately, that natural gift of selling sand for a silver lining, a philosophy that was behind the incredible success of the attempted German conquest of the world, was erroneously attributed to Adolf Hitler by President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan at the National Working Committee meeting of the People’s Democratic Party in Abuja. Indeed the national leader of the largest party in Africa, explained how a similar model of propaganda is being perpetuated by desperate Nigerian opposition parties; Mr. President said the opposition party usually take an innocent matter, either an honest mistake or a misunderstood government policy, and turn it into a premeditated plot by those in authority to cause immense harm to the greater majority. In fact, the president trumpeted the avowed strength of the ruling party’s umbrella as though, if not for such a reality, the young democracy project would have long being substituted by either a military rule or a pestering civil rebellion, unique to a continent that is highly afflicted with failure in good governance.


To counter such a threatening situation to the general concept of democracy itself, which does not withstand subversion of its core principles and objectives, while loosening the necessary trust and fundamental resolve of the people to defend it against any threat to its general existence, the president proposed a more robust approach to information management. Where top government officials and functionaries, make time to appear before the National Working Committee of the party, to comprehensibly enlighten them as well as the general public, since everything disclosed at such fora get widespread media coverage, on the intent and motive behind a seemingly harsh, indefensible and counter-productive government policy. In fact, the president promised to start with the departments, which are in the mouth of every concerned Nigerian citizen, the National Security Adviser and the Minister of Finance and the Coordinating Minister for the Economy, not simply because of the general notion that they have failed the nation, but because of the fact of their relative importance to the sustenance of democratic governance itself.


However, as a great number and multitude of German historians of the school of Aryan ascendancy or, more appropriately, Deutschland supremacy have related, the act of initiating, instigating and perpetuating a propaganda myth is never an easy task. For it is an exercise which requires extreme patience, probable resolve and efficient control of information to achieve a certain goal, which is to change the rational belief of a citizen from what he or she believes is wrong into its factual acceptance as an act which is morally right, communally tolerable and nationally a patriotic duty.


One thing that has a universal agreement in a disparate, confusing and disorganized Nigerian political environment is the widespread acceptance and aggregated concurrence by both the ruling and opposition parties about the fact that the nation does not have an organized alternative political platform which could proactively plan and congregate to take power from a party that has faltered so many times in the discharge of its mandate. In truth, countless officials of the ruling party have chortled on several occasions, about the necessity of the People’s Democratic Party governing for the next sixty years, simply because there is no credible alternative. Thus to attribute such Machiavellian wizardry to such disjointed political outfits amounts to a grand delusional foible found within palaces and villas of leaders who have lost touch with reality.


The simple truth is that most of the deficiencies, problems and probable infractions attributed to the ruling party are not the handiwork of any organized group bent on painting the political giant bad in the eyes of the general populace. Rather, it is more to do with that perennial African disease, the formation and existence of political parties without any clear vision except as a vehicle to capture power for selfish motives and personal aggrandizement. Indeed, Mr. President himself fully agreed with such a viewpoint when he told the former American ambassador to Nigeria, Ms. Robin Renee Sanders, that it was reasons other than competence and eligibility that were the deciding factor in his selection as a vice presidential candidate in 2007 on the much revealing and highly controversial WikiLeaks Diplomatic Cables.


As such, in a nation where individuals and people attain higher political offices of state for less than noble objectives of patriotism, growth and development, government policies, programs would always be initiated and sustained for pecuniary personal gains. Thus, the superior interest of protecting the poor, the weak and the minors, who are the less venerable in the society, would likely be substituted with defending the core interest of the cabals, the profiteers and the political party fund raisers. While huge scams, mind-numbing scandals and grand thefts in financially mobile sectors of the economy noxiously announce themselves to the public information space and most especially to the psyche of any average Nigerian person.



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