Nigerians Deserve The Truth From Their Leaders
As the nation is gradually gravitating towards falsehood and deceit, truth and sincerity are becoming rare and where they are found, are often mutilated. This ugly trend has unfortunately been extolled to an official state policy by those saddled with the day to day running of government. Half-truth, denials of clear facts, economy of truth or outright falsehood have not been in short supply in our recent political experience. The nation’s successive leaderships have continued to employ this style not minding the fact that the current advancement in information technology which makes the entire world become a global village also makes it difficult to completely conceal information especially those already in the public domain.
For instance the constant denial of Chief Obasanjo’s third term bid by that government when it was quite obvious that the then president was bent on having the constitution amended to allow for tenure elongation. Also, the deceitful handling of former president Late Musa Yaradua’s health issue by his media team and the current issues that surrounded the incumbent president’s health in which Nigerians were starved of updated information on his health status while on that foreign medical trip.
It has been many years since former president Goodluck Jonathan signed into law the popular Freedom of Information Bill (FIB) and citizens are still being denied access to certain information, even though such may not pose any security threat. Just for some unexplained political considerations, certain information are either denied or doctored in a way that unduly tends to praise the government or presents our leaders as infallible. For God sake, no mortal is infallible, where a genuine mistake has been made, it is only natural and even more dignifying to admit a sincere fault than to try to defend it because in an attempt to defend such, more lies may have to be told.
However some have argued that the oath of secrecy in the civil service where classified information is not supposed to be divulged to the public is what accounts for this official hypocrisy. One wonders why deliberate distortion or denial of the truth amounts to secrecy. A classified information is such that is not known already to the public and for security or other administrative reasons are kept away from the public consumption. While one can explain the rationale behind such policy, it makes no sense trying to repress the truth by refusing to admit it. For instance the recent insistence by government that Boko Haram has been decimated and enervated such that it can no longer carry out any military style attack only for the nation to be jolted by the news of some brutal attack on military barracks in Borno where some soldiers lost their lives and weapons carted away. Similarly, Dapchia’s episode which reenacted the 2014 Chibok girls’ abduction at the time when the fight against insurgency was not given the impetus it is supposedly given now, is quite embarrassing. In all these, can citizens go to sleep with their eyes closed each time government gives assurances of their safety? Can they swallow hook line and sinker information coming from government?
The NNPC’s denial of the scarcity of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) during the Yule tide period and its consequent blame on oil marketers of hoarding the products even when inadequate supply of the product was a known fact only shows insincerity of government. Most people make their plans based on official information from government, so when it is false, the general public becomes victims of official hypocrisy. Certainly, there is absolutely no need trying to be politically correct just to please one’s pay masters as the embarrassment that comes when the truth finally comes out will erode all the temporary gains such lies had garnered.
Managers of government’s information should realize that when the public is denied of information, they peddle rumours and when the masses are not properly informed they become deformed. This is what has unfortunately given rise to fake news which is now becoming pervasive in the land.
But in this desert of truth, there appears to be an oasis of some sort, where some bold Nigerians have braved the rough terrain and vowed to be on the vanguard of letting Nigerians know the truth. This explains why Nigerians both home and abroad always keep a date with one of the most compelling Nigeria’s television programmes aired by TVC, a premium talk show tagged Journalist Hangout. Of course, the passionate patriotic zeal that drives discussion on that platform has not gone un-noticed as it won the ground breaking TV programme of the year during the 2017 Nigeria Media Award Nite held in Lagos. The truth is that though Nigerians may be docile, though some may be afraid to say their minds in the public; they certainly know who is telling them the truth. The down to earth and in depth analysis of current issues of public concern by discussants on that programme makes it a must watch any day. Few Nigerians would discuss the country’s political development without betraying any bias as they do in that talk show. It is necessary to praise these people for the good work they are doing to encourage others to stick to the path of truth, since that is the only thing that can bring real freedom.
You can certainly not talk about that popular programme on TV without mentioning Mr. Babajide Otitoju, a seasoned journalist who is always passionate for the truth. His knowledge about the Nigeria’s political development is amazing thus making many refer to him as encyclopedia of some sort. Speaking one’s mind in such a sincere way makes Babajide a delight to watch.
It is also necessary to note that when people start telling themselves the truth, then their problems are half-solved. Such people would certainly be a blessing to a country such as ours where deceit, insincerity, distrust and hypocrisy have been the bane of her development.