January 26, 2018 – The Ignorant Politician And The Charismatic Sycophant
By Olusanya Anjorin
Sycophantic fangs are baring themselves out so flagrantly, that these sharp protruding prongs have hooked the brains of many in the society.
Every experienced politician knows that flattery is like a perfume; it should be smelt and sprayed on the body but never swallowed or ingested. Sycophants launch jibes at political opponents, attacking all their policies as ineffectual. Their loyalty is tied to their patron’s pockets.
In Africa, it is sickening how politicians treat those who voted for them, and more baffling how voters keep mute and refuse to demand accountability for stewardship. While lawmakers across the world continue to make laws that will genuinely transform their societies, most of their African counterparts choose to play around, without thought for their people’s welfare and societal progress.
Agreed, sycophancy is present in virtually all political terrains, but the degree differs from one country to another. In all political corners of the world, hailers keep calling for the status quo to remain.
In Nigeria for instance, some past leaders tried different means to sit in power, as sycophants dearly wanted them to continue in power. During Fidel Castro’s regime in Cuba, economists, journalists, pro-democrats, petitioners etc. were sentenced to years in jail for the crime of independent thought! For a president to have ruled for over five decades and to still have sycophants chanting “Continue!” was really sickening, as in the words of Jeff Jacoby, “His progressive acolytes having been giving him ovations.” Norman Mailer’s early rhapsody to Castro was, ‘’you were the first and greatest hero to appear in the world since the second war.”
In Zimbabwe, a new ZANU PF secretary of youth, who is also the chairman of Zimbabwe War Collaborators Association was quoted to have said, ‘’The Zimbabwean constitution should be thrown in the bin and allow President Mugabe rule until he dies!”. Similarly, long after his death, Kim Il-Sung, the former president of North Korea remained president of his country as sycophants refused to accept that he had died. People were acting on behalf of the “sleeping” Kim Il Sung. Such is the extent to which sycophants can go. In his days, one of Saddam Hussein’s sycophants proclaimed, “Iraq is Saddam; Saddam is Iraq.” The devotee thought the destiny of Saddam and Iraq were one and inseparable.
A sycophant with a golden voice and charisma will always win the heart of an ignorant politician. The ignorant politician will continue to dance to the drumbeats from the bootlickers and obsequious praise-singers, until the drum is punctured. To the sycophant, the law, ‘do unto others as you want others to do to you’ is of little consequence. Part of their subtle intent is seeking elective office thus they dish out deceitful and chameleonic ideas unashamedly. Regrettably, much of our civil society has also been corrupted.
Fortunately, there are still seekers of truth, core idealists, who will say it as it is; though others sit on the fence – awe-struck and in disbelief of the praise-singers’ utterances and claims. It is said that truth is a scarce commodity loved and admired by many, yet few get engrossed in it.
Our society must begin to walk away from praise-singing and self-serving attitudes towards a sincere-truth for-quality paradigm. Thereby, sycophants’ fangs can be rendered ineffectual and we can finally call a spade a spade, and not an agricultural implement.
About the author: Olusanya Anjorin writes from Lagos.