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The audacity of truth


Omagbitse Barrow

Watching the most recent episode of the hit TV Series – The Fixer – where the lead character Olivia Pope decided to speak the truth about the existence of the Secret Intelligence Agency ‘B613’ reminded me again of cardinal and central role that truth plays in national re-birth and transformation.

There is no doubt that the ‘Fixer’ would ordinarily seem like the least place to find inspiration about the truth – but as always, I try to keep an open mind, and I am prepared to learn from anywhere and everywhere.

Nigerians and our dear country Nigeria will forever be entrapped and in bondage until we all begin to seek, embrace and live out the truth. Unfortunately, we are very far from that destination, as each day Nigerians and our leaders across social, political, economic and religious spheres of life continue to spin more lies to ensure that we remain entrapped, and the “absoluteness” of truth is now a source of debate for many.


Is there absolute truth? Certainly, and I reckon that this is the first of many truths that we all have to recognize – that indeed there are absolutes in this world – that everything cannot just be subjected to the temporalities of how we feel, or what others say, or what most people do, or even what the ‘environment’ forces us to do.

I was speaking at an event for training professionals and showed the cover of John Maxwell’s book – “There is no Such Thing as Business Ethics” and asked the audience to tell me what they thought the point that John Maxwell was making with the title of his book. All the responses I got hovered around – “We should be flexible and consider the environment and what is generally acceptable in making business decisions”.

Unbelievable but true, and I imagine that most of my readers even now will agree with them. Maxwell’s point was the exact opposite – that there is no need to make a distinction between social ethics, religious ethics, business ethics or any type of ethics that there is just one ethics and that every choice we make whether in family, religion or business should be guided by that absolute – ethics!

There are a number of absolute truths that our manipulative leaders and elite will never want the majority of Nigerians to be aware of because such TRUTHS have the power of liberating us from the shackles of slavery and oppression that serves the interests of this cabal of leaders that have held sway for the last four decades of our national lives.

Clearly there is not enough space to interrogate each of these vicious lies and counter them with the absolute truth, but I will give it my best shot right away, and hopefully build on each one in the weeks ahead. Firstly, and perhaps the most divisive lie that we have been constantly fed is that there is NO BASIS for Nigerian unity due to the fact that we are a contraption of the British colonialist’s administrative convenience.

Sure, we were birthed from administrative inconvenience – and so? Are we the only ones? All countries have had to deal with the question of administrative convenience at one point in their history or the other? How about all the other colonies that have existed and become strong virile independent nations?

If there is any reason why there is no basis for Nigerian unity it is not the contraption, rather it is the bigotry and exploitative greed that is now part of our DNA that is the cause. Many countries with similar circumstances most notably Singapore and even Australia that was a penal colony have risen beyond the seeming “clutches” of their colonial heritage. So, let’s stop whining about what we cannot change, and start being audacious about what we can.

Our common enemy in Nigeria is not the next tribe or the other religion, as many ignorant or ill-willed people will like us to believe. The truth is that the Almighty God that about 95 per cent of the country claims to worship is the God of all creations who doesn’t discriminate. So, how discrimination has become a part of our national DNA can only be traced to the fact that we have allowed a twisted version of truth to become pervasive, even ‘religious’ truths are now subject to interpretation and perspective.


The truth Is that incompetent, visionless and corrupt leaders leading over-certificated, yet grossly ignorant people has been the greatest source of our problems. These terrible leaders are everywhere – in our government, Corporates, faith institutions, families and schools, and their unbelievably gullible followers are out there too – refusing to think for themselves, swayed by the pettiness of money, ethnic and religious politics and waiting their turn too to get a piece of the national cake – and that is the truth!

Even worse is that the whole world knows how morally and ethically impoverished we are, yet we lie to ourselves so much that we think it is okay to continue posturing and grand-standing rather than begin to admit our faults and make the 180-degree changes required. Truth like this is not what we want to hear, as it is a lot easier to blame it on the British or to the tribe or religion that is not yours!

Bigotry, corruption, greed, indiscipline, false religiosity, and crass ignorance (in spite of plenty certificates and degrees) are the real bane of Nigeria’s progress. Let’s be audacious enough to tell ourselves the TRUTH, so that we may be indeed be set FREE by the TRUTH. Also, as we head into electoral season let us try to find leaders who espouse and live out these TRUTHS or choose to remain in the clutches of oppression and LIES forever!
• Barrow is an Abuja-based Strategy and Innovation Consultant

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Omagbitse Barrow
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