From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja The federal government has received through its reporting channels over 5,000 tips out of which only 365 are actionable since the whistleblower policy was launched in December 2016. This is even as it said that in the first batch of payment, the sum of N375.8 million has been paid to…
Political blackmail, as with nearly everything in Nigeria, is shrouded in parochial survivalism. It’s selling cock and bull stories about someone to a person of influence (say, an office holder) with a view to tarnishing the subject’s integrity so that he/she falls out of favour. It should better be called weaknexploitation (see blaxploitation), since the real aim of this blackmailer, prima facie, is to gain favour not by defacing victim’s image but by exploiting the weakness of the office holder. Political blackmail is in the DNA of every Nigerian politician; but it cannot fly with leaders who’ve strength of character.
Now, who is a political blackmailer? What I know for sure though, is that this tri-faced imp is tendentiously evil, manipulative, destructive and selfish. The hatemonger is at once a spirit, a human being and a seed. As a spirit, it can bewitch anyone. Sufferers who occupy so-called high offices descend as low as gossiping against or alienating own colleagues and even subordinates.
Nobody is immune, whether to commit the foul or to be fouled. Your best friend can suddenly chameleonise into a character assassin deploying and slanting inside information to finish you off, politically. In a hyper-dynamic, super-fluid political environment, such as ours, today’s sweetheart might defect tomorrow and if he/she doesn’t have the fear of God, manufacture a mountain of impeccable falsehood out of the molehill of sweet-nothings you two used to share. You are finished if this spirit possessed your enemy or frenemy.
Don’t swear for anybody. Your political blackmailer could be family or your confidant. A political blackmailer proves that water is thicker than blood. Brothers and sisters fight dirty just to grab a prize, which, in most cases, is spasmodic. They deflower the sanctity of family forever just for a four- or eight-year enjoyment.
Within one political camp, members peddle damning gist about one another so that the big man would kick someone out or not let another in. Here are some specimens of linguistic trademarks of political blackmail: ‘he’s too ambitious’, ‘she’s doing/taking over/eyeing my job’, ‘he’s a mole’, ‘she’s planning to defect’, ‘his wife is friends with the wife of Oga’s opponent’, ‘her husband is our opponent’s person’.
The political blackmailer is Satan personified: Always going to and fro; looking for whom to devour. He never rallies supporters nor woos opponents; never puts out one good word about his target. His total essence is to destroy, to put asunder, to push out.
Political blackmail is at the root of fiery, no-holds-barred rhetoric employed by persons of one stock when they seek the same political pie. I shall tell you presently how political blackmail is a seed but first let’s weigh in on the most dangerous human aspect of this vice. You could sans knowing be both a victim and villain, simultaneously. As alluded to earlier, you could be blackmailed by your past, lineage, pedigree, body language, something you did or didn’t, or said or wrote, and – the shame of it all – by the very fact that they just don’t like you. Pray, how do you cure being blackmailed out of the system for being too pretty (always disguised in ‘she’s too proud’) or too connected, or too brilliant?
Fortunately, political blackmail is a seed watered by Karma and increased by nature for a thousand-fold harvest. You reap what you sowed. Political blackmail goes around. You permit or gain from it today; tomorrow you suffer untold losses. It’s one seed – in fact, one cash crop – that haunts your harvest. Yesterday enforcers and gainers are today swallowing the same pills they prescribed or administered so inhumanly. The political-blackmail evil that men (and indeed women) do lives with them; not after. They, not their children or children’s children, pay for them!
Finally, for cynics, who sneer at political blackmail, there’s no need for that righteous indignation. Since politics now competes with football and religion for opium-of-the-people pride of place and is, in fact, the chief determinant in all that we do, every tactics is fair. Our politics is like war, right? Instead of ignoring political blackmail(ers), what is at premium going forward is to pray incumbent powerbrokers and access-haves to eschew this lousy infatuation by seizing the massive opportunity of insulating themselves and consequently position for the attractive indemnity that the future holds. This is the voice of the Lord. God bless Nigeria!
Don’t drag Evans’ trial; Otherwise …
In Animal Kingdom (not George Orwell’s), early morning market-goers ran into the king’s guards, giving his son-in-law, Tortoise, the beating of his life. Told it was for stealing the king’s cowries, the crowd encouraged them to ‘beat him very well’. That was at 5am. Fast-forward 12 hours. The same people returning, and seeing the beating still on, enquired what the crime was this time.
‘It’s for the king’s cowries that he stole’, the royal guards chorused.
Almost on cue, the crowd that had advised at 5am for Tortoise to be appropriately punished sang a different tune at 5pm: ‘Why do you beat him this long? Is he the first thief? Where did the king get all the cowries from, sef’?
Enter Evans, the million-dollar kidnap kingpin. Even for once, we must fast track our snail’s pace-like judicial process. We need to charge him to court, fast and clean; so that citizens would not be reminded to pose those begging questions that may cause many fat heads to roll. Delay is dangerous. I forewarn to forearm us. Already, one hears whispers questioning what has been done to executive and legislative Evanses daily kidnapping our commonwealth, etc. Let’s hurriedly close this Evans chapter so that this breeze doesn’t grow into a whirlwind and reveal too much or consume too many!
A blast from the recent past
In our last edition, the all-important concluding part of our lead serving -Telephonorrhea: The quiet killer on Nigerian roads- was mistakenly left out. With apologies, here you are:
‘Since fines have failed to check this deadly craze, FRSC et al should in addition consider taking ‘in the act’ photos of offenders and posting them in the media and on the Internet as well as testing their psychiatric state publicly. Adapting the whistleblower scenario will enable people to capture and send in photos of drivers, pedestrians and such other road users and monitors, who misuse their handsets. A crazy, chronic problem needs a crazy solution. God bless Nigeria’!