The Burden Of Loyalty And Its Place In Human Relations: Fashola, Madumere, Others Against Altice's Doctrine

By Uche Onwuchekwa

Loyalty has remained a domineering word if not a virtue in every day sociopolitical and economic issues. Disloyalty has also been linked to the schism in political and business establishments. World over, great leaders have always been traced with obstinate loyalty to a cause or establishment they believe in. It is such sense of devotion, commitment with needed sacrifices that has been known to be a major factor that led to the successes achieved by such individuals.

Loyalty and disloyalty have seasons of test when the chaffs are separated from the grains. When such wind of trials blow, pretenders are separated from the diehard. Nature have always presented for right times for test of our commitment for a cause.

Nigeria's 2015 pre-general elections horse trading with its attendant intrigues, maneuvering and betrayals presented a right opportunity for political leaders to once again to know how they are perceived. Nigerians witnessed like never before where most trusted political associates ditch their bosses. Deputies Governors dumped bosses and political parties for another following fear of unknown political future.

The issue of loyalty despite its worth is an indispensable ingredient in building confidence and trust in any relationships remains one virtue that have been mistaken for mere courtesies, camaraderie and at various times confused as folk ways if not mores.

We all go out of our way each day and at every opportunity to demonstrate our devotion, commitment in whom and what we believe in but to what extent and under what condition?

While considering virtues that cement relationships, Summer Altice believes that among the three major qualities and characteristics one should lookout in people are Honesty, Respect and Loyalty. In her exact words, she said, “I look for these qualities and characteristics in people; Honesty is number one, respect, and absolutely the third would have to be loyalty.”

In Altice's assertion, one cannot but commend her high sense of logic and observation. I commend her great sense of judgment but I will rather prefer to have "Loyalty" for in it, one will find the rest of the two. My little deviation is not unconnected to the high premium placed on it especially as it concerns family, business and politics.

A cursory assessment will definitely betray the real meaning of the word loyalty. Looking up the word in various dictionaries, I came to appreciate its strength and the reason Captains of Industry, Astute Politicians and world leaders seek people with such rare virtue to work with. When loyalty is in lack, then nothing is stable. Loyalty is strong feeling of allegiance. Other synonyms of Loyalty are faithfulness, dedication, devotion, commitment, true-heartedness, dependability, reliability, patriotism etcetera. Deductively, it means faithful followership, adherence to a cause, leader, an establishment or government.

Drawing from the above, one could grasp the reason of my deviation from the Altice's arrangement of characteristics on what one should obstinately seek from a relationship whether corporate, social, political or otherwise. At various family units, faithful family members get rewarded while deviants get the booth.

To be Loyal is not without its burden. Little wonder in the political environment, it is difficult to have anyone who is said to be one hundred percent loyal yet the leaders keep advocating the need for followers to be loyal. Therefore, a loyal person is honest and loyalty also goes with respect. The apogee of Loyalty involves making sacrifices and self-denial of all sorts without feeling bewildered.

Coming back to the Nigerian Polity, one could count myriad betrayals of supposedly close political associates and kitchen cabinet members of political leaders. This is even more worrisome because these intrigues were more endemic when principals and leaders need such close associates to stand by them at time of challenges.

We had pockets of such examples ranging from States like Niger, Jigawa, Rivers, Ondo and many others. One may argue, why not bring in the Governors into the same room with their deputy governor defectors? Truly, one can say that Deputy Governors have their individual political lives to lead. However, it is also incontrovertible that every Deputy Governor is constitutionally situated in the administrative running of the State as they also enjoy immunity and other privileges occasioned by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

In reality, could one argue the fact that no deputy governor emerges without first becoming a running mate to a Standard bearer of a political party? At the pre-main election stage, there is no such thing as Deputy Governorship aspirant or has it ever existed in any political lexicon. I am yet to see it. We can only talk about Deputy Governorship candidate whose emergence must have been as a result of the choice of the governorship candidate of a political party. However, giving the enormous task required of the Deputy Governor; standing in the gap for the Governor in times of absence, it presupposes that he be protected. Therefore, the spirit of our constitution considers such task and thereby enshrining the protective immunity and privileges for the office. The constitution in recognition of unavoidable future skirmishes in craze for power by desperate power mongers also ensures a minimal role for Deputy Governors. The same applies in the relationship between the President and his vice.

Drawing from the above, the validation that power intoxicates and absolute power intoxicates absolutely comes in to play. That one gained power through the magnanimity of human instrument does not suffice that such human instrument must be visited with evil or brought to ridicule.

Coming back to the issue, we have loyalties that are motivated by materials, gains or power. These loyalties are conditional and usually associated by political merchants whose temporary loyalty hinges on what the person can get. Like I said earlier such loyalties can best be described as mere political or social cordial relationships if not mere courtesies. Loyalty in the true sense of it is high sense of patience, perseverance, sacrifice and long suffering but whereby these characteristics are absent, it loses it meaning. Better put, to be disloyal is to be unfaithful. To be unfaithful is to be dishonest. To be dishonest is to be unreliable. To be unreliable is to lack devotion. Lack of devotion is a function of disregard to a leader, a cause and to an establishment.

A little x-ray into the lives of loyal personalities will reveal a prosperous establishment; it will further unveil a sustainable relationship in both social and business transaction. So also it is with a political establishment whether at the society, party and other small associations, organizations and groups.

As it stands today, people may not understand the make-up of Prince Eze Madumere, the Deputy Governor of Imo State and at present the Deputy Governorship-Elect of Imo State in the joint ticket with his boss, Owelle Anayo Rochas Okorocha under All Progressives Congress.

He went through crucibles from the quarters of some political buccaneers who would have promised heaven and earth all in a bid for him to take a fall. It was revealed that some of such politicians had even promised him eldorado if only he could fail his boss, friend and associate of over two decades. Responding positively to their yearning, he did not only answer the call, he failed them both in body language and in character.

Going by a startling revelation made by one of his closest aides, at the heat of the politicking, which was largely at the level of political parties with his boss, Owelle Rochas Okorocha as the arrow head, Madumere had every opportunity to travel for 2013-2014 pilgrimage in the Presidential Pilgrimage contingents. It was revealed that his boss, Owelle Anayo Rochas Okorocha was approached to participate but rather than appear disrespectful, he asked his deputy to join the Presidential fleet to Israel. What others would have jumped at, Prince Madumere politely withdrew and respectfully too.

This singular act had a collateral damage though temporary especially on Madumere’s relationship with the power that be, his aides who would have seen the opportunity as one in a life time thing. Madumere had stooped to keep a relationship he cherishes with his life. He salvaged a situation that would have created room for any unforeseen poaching, rumour and inaccurate inferences as it may affect the standing of his boss from the prying eyes of rumour mongers and political jobbers. That was one sacrifice, too many.

If anyone could recollect vividly, on returning from that pilgrimage, one of the Deputy Governors who was in that train disappointedly cross carpeted to another political party. It was one visit that had both religious and political motif as diplomatic memoranda were signed, prayers were offered and horse trading also took place.

During 2011- 2015 political dispensation, which comes to an end on May29, 2015, the number two citizen of Imo State attended virtually about eighty percent of the Federal Executive Meetings but remained faithful. He would have yielded to mouth watery presidential packages that may have been presented to him but he never gave room in the first place for such. He chose to remain focused and religious to his belief in his boss's political project.

The lesson therein is the extent to which Madumere went for loyalty sake. Emotions were ploughed into it. There were psychological torments from the opposition. He had to sacrifice personal and self-serving interest. He maintained absolute deference with every sense of humility and devotion. One thing stood him out, he never gave in.

In one of his numerous recognitions, he was recognized as one of the most dependable Deputy Governors in Nigeria. Gowon on appraising the personality of Madumere described him as a man of service and simplicity. It was Prince Madumere’s display of loyalty and deference to his boss, which radiated in the way he treated the former Head of State despite his position as the Deputy Governor. That single action endeared him to Gen. Gowon.

It is said that he who must come to equity must come with clean hands. Today, Madumere's aides would have learnt the virtue of loyalty. You cannot give what you do not have and you cannot expect what you cannot give.

Recently, it was a celebrated case when Gov. Kwankwaso chose his loyal deputy, Ganduje as successor. Ganduje can only be remembered for his unalloyed loyalty and followership of Kwankwaso for many years even when Kwankwaso lost out in 2003 guber elections. That was one project that worked and is commended by many.

Another example is the relationship that existed between Senator Ahmed Bola Tinubu, the former Governor of Lagos State and his former Chief of Staff, now Lagos State Governor, Mr. Raji Fashola. Beyond Fashola, this same loyalty has brought about a formidable political family in the South West. It is loyalty and nothing more. With loyalty and cooperation for the interest of the general good, Lagos State Government has kept to its blue print and road map to realizing Lagos State of collective dream.

Madumere, too, amid political fireworks was chosen by Governor Okorocha without exercising any fear. That was borne out of a long standing untainted loyalty for many years even before their exploit into politics.

True, readers may think that this writer is at best lopsided if not myopic. The question is, shall one continue to be stupidly loyal even in the face of wicked and abrasive leader? According to the Holy Bible, … Love does not rejoice in unrighteousness but glories in the truth. In 1 Corinthians, Chapter 13 starting from verse 4: It says, Love is patient. Love is kind. Love isn't jealous. It doesn't sing its own praises. It isn't arrogant.

Neither love nor loyalty is rude. It doesn't think about itself. It isn't irritable. It doesn't keep track of wrongs. It isn't happy when injustice is done, but it is happy with the truth. Love never stops being patient, never stops believing, never stops hoping, and never gives up.

From the Holy Scripture, it follows that the highest form of loyalty is love. My dear Summer Altice, a super Fashion model and actress, is right on her assertion of what loyalty is but certainly cannot be number three. Loyalty is not only about virtues and characteristics adduced above; it is much much more as it is laced with emotions, corrective and progressives values.