— There’s a lying culture that has become the norm in Nigeria. Dino, the senator, got slammed by Sahara Reporters for embellishing his resume; he knew he didn’t attend Harvard or London School of Economics as he claimed, and if he truly graduated with a degree in Geography from the Ahmadu Bello University, all he needed to do was post his degree or transcript even if it was for a 1.8 CGPA! What’s there to be ashamed of, we are not all born to be geniuses! Instead, he sued for defamation and filed a rather juvenile petition for cyber bullying (how do you bully Dino, the Bully?) And that’s the issue.
The primitive nature of Nigerian politicians has not allowed them to admit that once you run for public office, your privacy is toast; that’s why they call it public office for crying out loud. Look, I was once invited to run for office in Prince George’s County, Maryland, probably as a way to affect political apathy in the considerable population of Nigerian residents concerning local elections. The guy who interviewed me, a respected senior state senator, asked me about my credentials. No problems there, confirmed. Then he asked whether I had any skeletons in my closet. Problem! My whole life flashed by in a nanosecond highlighting those forced and unforced errors. Skeletons? Gosh! How about having a whole morgue in the closet starring back at me everyday! I told him so, and that ended it. He never called me back; and till tomorrow, that old man, whenever I run into him still asks, “Sobo, how ‘bout them fresh bodies in the closet, hope you taking care of them” Better that than a later ridicule casting revelation.
Fast forward to Nigeria, the president disappeared for weeks and we were inundated with nothing but lies, damn lies, about his health condition. The vice president, too, a pastor and a lawyer, like the presidential spokesperson, killed the truth when he declared that the president was “hale and hearty”. The man looks ghastly sick and they continue to lie still. Dino wanted to run for public office, was it not enough that he attended secondary school since that’s the minimum qualification? No, he must lie. In his head, he’s a Harvard alumnus for attending a weeklong seminar drinking tea each morning at Harvard Square. And he felt unfulfilled still even with his fleet of expensive exotic cars, unless he claimed to have attended LSE, too. All lies, but not peculiar because lying is “not confessing the negative”, a strange doctrine promoted by those who supposed to love the ultimate truth teller.
This afternoon, I found my barber absent after a long walk to his shop, and calling him on the phone he responded he was off because he was feeling “strong”. Asked whether he was sick, he went ballistic rebuking the spirit of sickness and still claiming he was feeling “strong”. Like the president “hale and hearty”, if you are “strong” why are you not at work, I asked. He didn’t want to confess the negative, that’s why. My driver once tried it with me when he didn’t show up for three days because he was feeling “strong”. He got three days deducted from his salary and came crying. I informed him I was feeling “rich”, that’s why I didn’t pay him for feeling “strong” for three days. I didn’t want to confess the negative, too. Lying without consequences is primitive, that’s Nigeria. Period.
Muyiwa Sobo is an Attorney; and this piece was culled from his Facebook wall.