The Voice Newsmagazine
BUHARI: The lying overlord
I have always made plain my aversion to lies and falsehood and I dislike it as it constitutes a deliberate affront to my intelligence. As I navigate through life and encounter one who lies to me, which I honestly do not anticipate I would be morally bound to lose my bearing thereby making it impossible for me to calculate my true position. This, I dare say, hurts my soul!
Buhari's anti-corruption crusade is equally war against lies in high places from which millions of our hard earned money was allegedly 'siphoned' from the national treasury. If the lies never existed no money would have exited the treasury. In a similar vein, in the run up to the 2015 general elections, one of the reasons given by the All Progressives Congress for the ongoing insurgency was youth unemployment. When people are unemployed they become potentially vulnerable to manipulations and this was exactly what they fell prey to when they were recruited and took up arms against the country in the hope of actualizing a sovereign Islamic state.
Lying is tantamount to theft. When you tell me something which I take to be true and, as a result, I invest my time, or my money, or even my care, you have stolen these things from me because you obtained them under false pretence. That was how they shot themselves to power after false promises that they only possess the magic wand to reconstruct the country - a country that never stood in dire need of their services after all!
APC with Buhari as the flag-bearer, we have it on good authority, promised a-N5000 monthly state stipend which was a welcome development considering the exchange rate at the time. I, too, in my ignorance applauded the initiative since that would put us on a par with the welfarist scheme here in the Old World where citizens enjoy unemployment benefits and the introduction of that package in my country of nativity would be a right step in the right direction, I opined.
Buhari, some people have often said, is a man of integrity and transparent honesty which of course is none other than a terminological inexactitude. His party partisans and diehard apologists often deify him as a Homer that never nods. But today he leads a government that shot its way to power by deceit, monstrous and hydra-headed lies; I have never known anyone who wants to be so deceived. For you to have campaigned and promised a monthly stipend to the unemployed to get their support and later reneged on the promise is nothing but a massive fraud!
The historic merger that gave birth to the ruling All Progressives Congress, I wrote in one of my pieces, was a massive fraud designed to bamboozle Nigerians by self-styled grandees who are bent on personal aggrandizement. The product of that merger is nothing short of a party founded on lies and deception - I had earlier written before now.
A fraud is a lie where the damage to me is quantifiable in money. Even those lies which the law does not define as fraud tend to fit the same definition: a knowing false utterance which the mark is intended to rely on to its harm. The only differences are of degree, for example, when we cannot assess the loss in money.
The basic tenet that lying is wrong seems to be universal to all cultures, probably because humans are social animals. To live together in a society we must tell the truth to each other. A society whose members are unable to distinguish truthful messages from deceptive ones would collapse.
The duo of Buhari and Yemi Osibanjo are like a flag who we desire to know what they actually stand for. They were 'elected' to solve the myriad of problems plaguing Nigeria, treat Nigerians asa people rather than chattel, and be responsive to opinions. Their honesty remains the cornerstone of the structure, but sadly enough we have caught them lying to us at every turn hence it is impossible to be confident that they are carrying out the mission to genuinely reconstruct and regenerate Nigeria.
Only today it made news headlines across the world that President Buhari is ''overstating Boko Haram losses'' In this news report by Associated Press(AP) he was chastised by a report in this mainstream western media for misrepresenting facts to the world as they truly are. General David Rodriguez, the Commander of US African Command reportedly told the United States Senate Armed Services Committee in DC that Boko Haram ''does own some significant territory in northern Nigeria'' and this was confirmed by some Nigerian officials in the country's north.
The question that agitates the mind of this writer is: What is the rationale behind these monstrous lies by a man who presides over the affairs over 170 million people? Buhari, I dare say has lost his credibility to lead for lying to the whole world about the true situation in the embattled region which may have offered to assist Nigeria.
While many people like his party partisans have resigned to being lied to some defend the premise that the lie he often tells is only in the interest of Nigeria without taking cognizance the disastrous consequences it could trigger off in the long run. Paradoxically, liars want the people around them to be truthful so that they do not lose their own way.
Buhari did say he did not promise any state stipend to the unemployed that his campaign coordinators did in the run-up to the 2015 general elections but a leader who is tasked with acting as a navigator for an entire country must seek to have people around him who will give him rigorously accurate information, so he does not crash the vessel on the rocks.
Today, I am very sure many will agree with me that he has failed the ''Integrity Test'' by telling LIES which his apologists will prefer to call ''white lies''. We see tons of money that had been stashed away in Swiss bank vaults by late General Sanni Abacha finding its way back to Nigeria but Buhari having served in the iniquitous regime of the late dictator as Petroleum Trust Fund chairman (PTF) did whitewash Abacha and defend him with all the emphasis at his command that he did not steal Nigeria's money but today he has taken delivery of Abacha looted funds from the Swiss government!
Into what dangers would a lying leader plunge the country if one may ask? Nigerians live in a country who are all living witnesses to the goings-on. Lying to one and all who as a matter of fact knows the truth shows you as the only one in the system. This drags one's name through the mud hence does it makes a sense for a sitting president to collaborate with the members of his cabinet and often lie to the public some of these lies which he exports abroad? Could he be trying to adopt the infamous ethic of the Nixon administration and of many other discredited regimes throughout history? Crisis situations tend to bring out this ethic which has not augured well in the end.
The problem is that lies fly in the face of human nature. Just as bodies in motion tend to remain in motion, liars who have succeeded in obtaining something important through a falsehood like the stolen mandate that shot the duo of Buhari and Osibanjo to power should be expected to utter another one when there is something else to obtain. Lies become habitual and the goals may be of decreasing importance.
Prof Osibanjo Nigeria's vice-President turned traitor by failing to exhibit true Christian virtues. The belief that lies can be contained within neat temporal, geographical or ethnic lines has been disproved by experience. He lied to a beleaguered nation writhing in the yoke and pains of frustration foisted on it by the of the ruling All Progressives' Congress that the immediate past administration under former President Jonathan did not construct any road in Nigeria whereas a serving minister in Buhari's cabinet in the person of Mr. Babatunde Fashola, heaped an encomium of praise on Buhari's predecessor as the only one with unbroken record not just in roads' rehabilitation but roads' construction in Nigeria.
Could this be a white lie? It is very hard to say what this is. Personally, I feel better saying nothing about hydra-headed lie than praising it falsely. The duo of Buhari and Osibanjo have only resorted to telling lies to wriggle out of their social contract with the people of Nigeria. I believe today that an accretion of such lies, however trivial, undermines the trust we feel for another human being in more significant matters.
It is hard to say that any lie is wholly beneficial or otherwise completely without consequences. Nigerians want to be told the truth at all times so as to avoid past mistakes which now tell on them helplessly and marvelously. A very common and trivial lie involves deceiving someone about which others possess certain information. The duo of Buhari and Osibanjo the lying taskmasters of the Abuja regime must be reminded the dangers inherent in spreading downright falsehoods to the world thereby further putting the lives of over 170 million Nigerians in jeopardy.
Iyoha John Darlington, a social activist, scholar, political analyst and public commentator on national and global issues writes from Turin, Italy.