They are never in short supply for those who need their service. Sycophants are always there for the picking of those in power. Their tribe is so large that you do not need much to get them to do your bidding. They are 10 for N1 or even cheaper than that depending on your bargaining power. At times, you may not need to pay them, just give them food and booze and the job is done.
To the larger society, sycophants constitute a nuisance, but to those who use them, they are the best thing to ever happen to mankind. Those in power like to be surrounded by sycophants while at the same time pretending that they do not have need for such people. Sycophants thrive on mischief. They deceive a leader into believing that he is the all-in-all; that there is no other person like him and that without him the country would go burst. The late Head of State, Gen Sani Abacha, was made to believe that without him, Nigeria will crumble. But, 16 years after his death, Nigeria is standing gidigba.
Since we like those who massage our egos, leaders generally are easily taken in by such talks. When they hear such statements, their heads swell and they grin from ear to ear, while asking : ”is that so?” Of course, the response is usually : ”it is so, your excellency, without you, there will be no Nigeria. So, you must remain in office forever”. These sycophants, these friends of any government in power are at it again. They have started playing on the intelligence of President Goodluck Jonathan just as they did to former President Olusegun Obasanjo, former military president Gen Ibrahim Babaginda and the late Gen Abacha, among others.
Last Saturday, a group, the Transformation Agenda of Nigeria (TAN), kicked off its campaign to get the President to declare his second term ambition. It is not a hidden fact that Jonathan is interested in a second term. Want to bet? He will run for election next year. If he does not run, I will go into exile, to borrow the words of those who in the past prevailed on some of our past leaders to run or they will become citizens of other countries if those leaders did not heed their call.
Knowing that Jonathan will run next year whether heavens fall or not, TAN does not need to go into all these pains to organise rallies to beg him to do so. It reminds one of the rallies held all over the country in the Abacha days by one misguided youth called Daniel Kanu. Where is he now? Despite his father’s stupendous wealth, the boy was misled into dipping his hands into a matter bigger than him. No wonder, he ended up the way he did. Kanu was used by politicians, who stood to gain from his ill-conceived project.
The Youth Earnestly Ask for Abacha (YEAA) so-called one-million man march in Abuja was well funded from within and outside government. The five existing parties then also urged the late Gen Abacha to transmute from a military to a civilian leader to prevent Nigeria from collapse. What a cheek! All the parties adopted him as their consensus candidate even when he did not indicate interest in the post nor was he a card carrying member of any of the parties. No doubt, Kanu was suffering from youthful exuberance, but what do we say of the old men and women who saw nothing wrong in picking the late Abacha as their parties’ standard bearer despite not being their member. That was how low we sunk as a nation under his administration.
TAN is following that path. The only difference is that Jonathan is a politician, who is interested in running, while the late Abacha was a general, who was interested in running but could not come out to declare his intention. He preferred to do it through proxies like Kanu, the United Nigeria Congress Party (UNCP), Congress for Nigeria Citizen (CNC), National Centre Party of Nigeria (NCPN), Democratic Party of Nigeria (DPN) and Grassroots Democratic Movement (GDM), which were the parties in existence then. Of the lot, GDM tried to stand its ground but its voice could not be heard in the cacophony created by the other parties and Kanu that were hell bent on installing the late Abacha as president.
We are walking the same road again with TAN’s planned pro-Jonathan rallies, the first of which was held in Awka, the Anambra State capital, last Saturday for the Southeast zone. The next stop is this Saturday in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital for the Southwest. The Southsouth edition will hold on August 30 in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital. Minna, Niger State (Northcentral) – September 9; Gombe (Northeast) – September 20 and Kano (Northwest) – September 27. Without doubt, TAN has the government’s backing in engaging in this shenanigan. The group has the right to drum support for whoever it believes should lead the country, but it should be mindful of public sensibilities.
Is the group reading the mood of the nation at all? Is this the time to embark on such a sensitive campaign? The man at the centre of it all knows the implication of taking such a step at a time like this, hence he has kept mute on his ambition, to his apparent discomfiture. There is nothing the President may desire most at this time than to tell the whole world that he is contesting next year’s election, but his hands are tied by the problems besetting the country. Although he fixed this year for his declaration, he knows that it is inauspicious to make such a declaration now.
What will he say to make Nigerians buy into the Jonathan-for-another-term project if he declares now with the prevailing insecurity and the yet to be rescued over 200 abducted Chibok girls, who have been in captivity since April 14, among others? What will he say are his achievements since he mounted the saddle in 2010, following the death of former President Umaru Yar’ Adua? Only a president without a heart will make such a declaration at a period like this. Do not get me wrong, if Jonathan wishes to declare, he is free to do so, but he should do first things first. Let him bring back the Chibok girls and make the country safe, then he may remain in office for life, if he so wishes!
It is a shame that TAN and its
backers, including the gover
nors and top government functionaries that attended its Awka rally last Saturday could lend themselves to such nonsense. Has the quest for power made them to lose their sense of reason? Is being in power more important to them than the unity of Nigeria? It is a shame that those among them that we hold in high esteem could stoop so low. And for us to have ever thought that these were respectable people. Huh! Do they think it was appropriate to be part of such campaign at this period? If their children were among the abducted Chibok girls will they be out in the street campaigning for second term for Jonathan?
Why are they doing this? The answer is obvious, they want to remain in the good books of Jonathan, who is just waiting for the right time to tell us that he will run in 2015. Our security agencies saw nothing wrong in the pro-Jonathan rally; they even provided security for the organisers. Will they act the same way if some other people organise an anti-Jonathan rally? If they disperse such a rally, they will be indirectly telling Nigerians that they, too, are for Jonathan. We are told that the hood does not make the monk. How true. In truth, Jonathan does not need TAN or any amorphous group for that matter to do what he already has in mind – run for a second term.
It is as clear as daylight, Jonathan will run in 2015, whether or not TAN and other related groups, goad him to do so.