“A liar is a person who tells lies, who has previously told lies, or who tends by nature to tell a lie repeatedly — even when not necessary.”
A long time ago, at a small family reunion, I watched as a father narrated a movie to the kids. Unknown to him, the kids had seen the same film. He went about mumbling the storyline; while the older ones feigned attention, one of the younger ones just blurted out: “Daddy, it’s a lie.”
Why is it that Nigerians have embraced lies as a national pastime, from the governed to those doing the governance itself? Lies are told about electricity. The whole APC administration is filled with filthy lies. Lying about education, lying about health. And the lies of the opposition PDP are even filthier.
The cost of lies to our national development cannot be quantified. It is fashionable that parents lie to kids, husbands to wives, wives to sisters, employers to employees. How about those lies that are absolutely unnecessary, lies that officials tell that leave you dazed, confused and in wonderment?
Telling the truth is just unthinkable. It has simply become a deviant attitude to be truthful. In fact, as a rule, you learn to lie by default on becoming a leader in Nigeria, whether in politics, administration or faith.
When a goat’s day “to die” arrives, it says there is nothing a butcher can do to it. (A person who does not recognise and heed danger courts death.) Through our lies as a people we only court death.
I am told a lie is a type of deception in the form of an untruthful statement, especially with the intention to deceive others. To lie is to state something with disregard to the truth with the intention that people will accept the statement as truth.
A liar is a person who tells lies, who has previously told lies, or who tends by nature to tell a lie repeatedly — even when not necessary.
The three definitions suit the current group we call leaders, particularly the third one. I really do not blame them so much because, as a people, we have become accustomed to accepting lies as statements of truth.
There are several types of lies, like the big lie, a lie which attempts to trick the victim into believing something major and likely be contradicted by some information the victim already possesses, or by their common sense. When the lie is of sufficient magnitude, it may succeed due to the victim’s reluctance to believe that an untruth on such a grand scale would indeed be fabricated.
The fuel subsidy is a classic big lie. All the stories about a growing economy out of recession are lies, all those stories on rice farms, cockroach farming are staged-managed with half truths, misinformation and falsification.
Whether the factory is in Plateau State or Abia, give it a few months and visit the same commissioned arrangement and you will see the lie. The problem is not just the lies, but also the lunacy behind the figures when money is involved in a Nigerian lie.
There is another lie we call bluffing. And to bluff is to pretend to have a capability or intention one does not actually possess. Bluffing is an act of deception that is rarely seen as immoral when it takes place in the context of a game, where this kind of deception is consented to in advance by the players.
For instance, a gambler who deceives other players into thinking he has different cards to those he really holds or an athlete who hints he will move left and then dodges right is not considered to be lying (also known as a feint or juke). In these situations, deception is acceptable and is commonly expected as a tactic.
This is one tactic the current APC administration has continually used, and, as long as Nigerians do not react and cannot complain, it is an acceptable tactic; after all, previous Nigerian governments, like the PDP, have been using it, why bother our amiable, incorruptible Mr. Muhammadu Buhari?
For all the noise, when the chips are down, the Kemi Adeosun NYSC exemption certificate brouhaha will die away, if at all there is anything like that, and we will do nothing. Government at all levels lie. Who is government? You, them and me. Them, they are there. You, aspiring to be there. Me, hoping to be there … to chop, you must lie or be lied to.
When we want to be truthful, we suddenly realise that we are Igbo, Hausa, Ijaw, Urhobo, Yoruba, Idoma, Muslims and Christians, and we continue lying. There is simply no truth in us. Our tales by moonlight are exactly what they are, tales.
There is the barefaced lie. It is one that is obviously a lie to those hearing it. A lie told with a straight and confident face (hence “bold-faced”), usually with the corresponding tone of voice and emphatic body language of one confidently speaking the truth.
These kinds of lies have been elevated in recent times. Go and ask those that told us that a snake swallowed money, monkeys ran away with money, a governor was slapped and his neck shifted and yet could carry his broken arm … that killers of our women and children are from Libya.
Only in climes like ours are such absurd lies told with our knowledge, and we know they are lies, but they are delivered with boldness. What can we do?
When our leaders in various spheres are not lying directly to us, they are being economical with the truth, a popular euphemism for deceit, whether by volunteering false information or by deliberately holding back relevant facts. More literally, a careful use of facts so as not to reveal too much information; because we either cannot handle the truth or we are allergic to it.
Big lies, economical lies, crazy lies, they bluff, they stare at us like Babatunde Fashola and his co-travellers telling us that Nigerians are enjoying electricity at its best, second only to the US, 25 hours per day. Whether it is the newspapers and the media lies, whether the narrative is Fulani herdsmen, technical defeat of Boko Haram, or bandits, or the narrative of the natives, we struggle with the truth.
But, really, when an ordinary citizen lies to another about the cost of a thing as simple as the shoes on his feet, does he or she not deserve lies in turn from those that ordinarily should be responsible with the truth to him? What really is rocket science about a minister addressing the truthful status of her service to the nation, after all, if no be lie, time will tell.
• Dr. Charles Dickson is a development and media professional. Email: [email protected]
21st June 2018
23rd May 2018
Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan Executive Secretary and Chief Executive Officer of the Muslim Ummah of South West Nigeria (MUSWEN), Prof. Dawud Noibi, on Friday, appealed to Muslims across Yorubaland, to get registered in the ongoing continuous voter’s registration exercise by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) before it ends on August 17. Speaking during a press…
— 11th August 2018
Felix Ikem, Nsukka Kenneth Chibuzo Ofokansi, a Professor of Pharmaceutics and Biopharmaceutics, has been scheduled to deliver the 140th Inaugural Lecture of the University of Nigeria on 16th August, 2018, the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Benjamin Ozumba has announced through the Senate Ceremonials Committee. Inaugural lectures are considered the hallmark of professorship where newly-appointed professors present illuminating…
— 11th August 2018
Laide Raheem, Abeokuta Indigenes and residents of the 13 villages, whose lands were acquired for the proposed Federal Teaching Hospital and College of Medicine, have concluded plans to drag the Federal Medical Centre, Abeokuta and the Ogun State Government to court. The action, according to the affected communities, followed the failure of the management of…
— 11th August 2018
Saturday Sun gathered that fresh concerns were being raised following last Tuesday’s sack of the former Director-General of the DSS, Lawal Daura. • CPC bloc complains of total takeover of government, party structures by CAN • You’re the biggest beneficiaries, APC replies Ismail Omipidan and Romanus Ugwu, Abuja The last seems not to have been…
— 11th August 2018
Geoffrey Anyanwu, Awka The Progressive People’s Alliance (PPA) has said that it went into alliance with the Coalition of United People Party (CUPP) because of the serial killings in some parts of the country and the rampant use of security agencies against political opponents by the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC). One of the national…
Entertainment— 11th August 2018
Model cum actress, Damilola Aina, has got what it takes to be a super star. She is beautiful, fair complexioned, talented and quite comfortable financially, having graced the billboards of top telecommunication brands in Nigeria and beyond. Damilola Diamond, as close friends fondly call her, has hinted that she is single and okay with it…
South-West Report— 9th August 2018
Obatala, Sango, Osun, Esu and Oya among other deities were celebrated through a reenactment of the life and times of these deities. Wole Balogun, Ado-Ekiti Ido-Ile, a serene community in Efon Local Government Area of Ekiti State, recently came alive with traditional festivals in honour of some deities in Yoruba cosmology. It used to be…
Abuja Metro— 8th August 2018
One of them, Rose, said she does her “romantic business” with both married and single men. But she prefers married men because they pay well and respect them Charity Nwakaudu Commercial sex business has assumed a different level in Abuja, even though it has been an age long business that had provided fun for the…
Oriental News— 8th August 2018
GSAC has appealed to the Federal Government and Governor Rochas Okorocha to use their board of mercy and release Egbunuche Magnus Eze, Enugu Anywhere in the world, 100 years is usually marked with fanfare but not so for Nigeria’s oldest prisoner, Pa Celestine Egbunuche, who clocked 100 last Saturday; August 4, within the confines of…
Features— 11th August 2018
– Woman sleeps with son to have a child for her husband – I did it to save my 2nd marriage, she pleads Linus Oota, Lafia The story of a woman sleeping with her son from her first marriage in order to raise children for her husband from her second marriage sounds so strange. Unbelievable!…
Literary Review— 10th August 2018
– Youths: Future, Career and Success, RoyalPriest International Limited, pp. 86 By Simeon Mpamugoh Seminar speaker and songwriter, Evangelist Royal Priest Goziem, is out with a nonfiction, Youths: Future, Career and Success, a book reflecting on the significance of youths to the development of nations. The book, which combines reportage, memoirs and analyses to interrogate…
Lifeline— 10th August 2018
• At Ray Ekpu’s 70th birthday colloquium, experts analyse and dissect nation’s unending political crises Tope Adeboboye and Ismail Omipidan Since its independence in 1960, Nigeria has been bedevilled by a ceaseless run of seemingly intractable challenges. Over the years, sundry factors have been brandished by different experts as reasons for the country’s stunted socio-economic…
Education Review— 7th August 2018
Speaking at the event, YABATECH Rector, Mr. Femi Omokungbe stressed that the impact of climate change has created much damage globally Jet Stanley Madu Five new courses were recently introduced by Yaba College of Technology (YABATECH) to boost students’ skills acquisition. This was revealed at a ceremony in the college to mark this year’s United…
TSWeekend— 10th August 2018
Faze blew up the music industry with hit songs like Cold Sweat, Kolomental, Faze Alone, Originality, Kpo Kpo Di Kpo… to mention but a few. Ayo Alonge One of the members of the defunct Plantashun Boiz, Chibuzor Oji popularly known as Faze, is back on the beat. This is coming after taking a long break…
Opinion— 10th August 2018
George Okolo The elections since the return to civil rule in 1999 have produced four presidents, three from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and one, the incumbent, President Muhammadu Buhari, from the All Progressives Congress (APC). These leaders represent the two dominant alternative policy options and ideologies that govern our polity. Yet, none of these…
Even if you vow not to marry a single mother as a man, this doesn’t stop these women from dating and marrying better men who know their worth. Kate Halim I laugh when some people talk down on single mothers. Yet these same slimy individuals sneak into these women’s phones and inboxes to demand free…
Mike Awoyinfa Fellow Nigerians, permit me to celebrate today one of our own: the man recently “ordained” bishop and of whom Pastor Tunde Bakare of the Latter Rain Assembly declares: “He is one of the few men I read every weekend when he writes at the back of Thisday. I read him because he is…
Like Achilles’ heel, Senate President Saraki may have become the weak point of a strong coalition of political forces that brought Buhari to power in 2015 Majeed Dahiru Achilles, a mythical Greek figure and a man of many battles most famous for his heroic exploits in the Trojan wars, as written in Homer’s Iliad, was…
If you decide to do it alone, it may work for a while, but nature will take its toll at some point. We all need the contributions of others to succeed Ladi Ayodeji The famous English poet John Donne wrote: “No man is an island, entirely of itself; every man is a piece of the…
Invasion of National Assembly on the orders of the director-general of the SSS was just a by-product of the debauchery currently ravaging Nigerian politics. Duro Onabule Nigeria politics is getting dirtier by the day, and instead of getting worried or even disgusted, everybody seems to be glorifying a deplorable situation. Politicians, the media, lawyers and,…
da Onuoha Ukeh For the first time in more than three years in the saddle, the Federal Government on Tuesday bared its fangs, in a move to instill discipline in the system. It wielded the big stick against the director-general of the Department of State Services (DSS), Lawal Daura, who was summarily dismissed for an…
A closer appraisal of the DSS operations with Boko Haram has been very deplorable and speaks volume of those at the helm of affairs of the organization. Ben Okezie In the early part of 2001, which was the formative year of the sect popularly known as Boko Haram, it was no secret that all the…
Those who hold the broom today, as a defence and fortress, may find that they do not hold a monopoly to betrayal. Their defence may become their nemesis. Alvan Ewuzie Many years ago I went to Airport Hotel in Lagos to conduct an interview with a current member of the All Progressive Congress (APC) who…
Newton Jibunoh About five years ago, I was invited by Nnamdi Azikiwe University to deliver the eighth annual lecture with the theme “Environmental Management and Conservation,” but was asked by the university to pick my related topic and so I decided on “Land Is Life.” The lecture was subsequently published and when my son read the…
Jimanze Ego-Alowes If lawyers do not ruin a civilisation, then the gods have saved it. The truth of this ancient lore is so graphically Nigerian. Give or take, no other professionals have brought so much blight and catastrophe upon the Nigerian nation than, 1. Soldiers/coup-purchased generals, 2. Economists and 3. Lawyers. It just so happened…