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#EndSARS and the power of truth – Part 2

By Martins Oloja
15 November 2020   |   4:32 am
Since the first part of this article, on November 1, 2020 a lot of water has gone under our already rickety bridge of #EndSARS protest and the curious election stalemate in the United States.

Nigeriaís President Muhammadu Buhari . (Photo by Kola Sulaimon / AFP)

‘What Did Buhari Hear Loud And Clear?’

Since the first part of this article, on November 1, 2020 a lot of water has gone under our already rickety bridge of #EndSARS protest and the curious election stalemate in the United States. Since then, there have been some manifestations of other curiosities on the consequences of #EndSARS significant campaign for a better Nigeria and the 2020 election that is still stressing the power of institutions in the United States, which has always wieldying her power as the bastion and guardian angel of democracy. Although, the so-called ‘leader of the free world’ is still in the eye of the storm as the 2020 election remains inconclusive more than two weeks after, the consequences of our #EndSARS protest on the country and the protesters cannot be ignored at this time.

It is getting ‘curiouser and curiouser’ what the President Muhammadu Buhari meant on October 22, 2020 when he told the nation in a broadcast that he had heard the #EndSARS protesters’ message ‘loud and clear’. Now, there are court orders to freeze the bank accounts of some of the suspected leaders and organisers of the epic protest. Most of the protesters are being detained by the same police force whose alleged brutality triggered the protest. Most of the protesters have been listed on the watch-list of national security agencies’ dossier: they can’t travel.

It is also understood that police protection has been withdrawn from agencies, institutions, business enterprises and notable individuals who supported the historic protest too. What is worse, the protesters are being treated as terrorists before our very eyes despite the fact that the same president said he heard the youth and leaders of tomorrow ‘loud and clear’. President Buhari had told Nigerian youths on October 22 that their voices had been heard loud and clear as the #EndSARS protest continued to spread across the country then.

Buhari who also urged the youth to discontinue the street protests and engage the government in finding a solution to the challenges arising from state of the nation specifically said: “I called on our youths to discontinue the street protests and to engage the government to find a solution.

Your voices have been heard loud and clear…” So, as so many surprised Nigerians have been asking, what is the basis for the crackdown on the young Nigerians, our children whose teeth have been set on edge and have been feeling the deadly effects of the sour grapes that we, their fathers have eaten? Why the demonisation, persecution and even prosecution of our children because they spoke truth to our power? Why are some private lawyers assisting state actors, notably the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice to drag our Central Bank into this peculiar mess? Is that the legacy project of our leader, Muhammadu Buhari? Lest we forget, what is the significance of all the Panels of Enquiries the President directed the Governors to set up to get to the roots of the case against the police? What is the message even the Inspector General of Police has been passing to the nation with his incendiary statements all over the place saying the already battered police can shoot anyhow? Why the crackdown on the media and the civil society?

Are all these brutalities to the media, and indeed the civil society the response to the voices our president claimed he heard loud can clear? Let’s not get this twisted again, this crackdown on the #EndSARS protesters while the presidential panels are still sitting all over the country is a blight upon our hope of a better tomorrow. It is a signal that this administration will do nothing about the demands of the people through the (#EndSARS) protesters. 

So, I would like to continue here on my sermon on the power of truth, yes the only weapon that can set us free from this present darkness.

In the first part of this article, I drew a lot of inspiration from the wisdom of a worthy elder, William George Jordan, an American editor, lecturer and essayist who has researched extensively on the “The Power of Truth”.

Let’s continue to learn, unlearn and relearn at this time that most people perish in the palace and government house – for lack of knowledge. As I had noted then, Truth is the rock foundation of every great character. It is loyalty to the right as we see it. It is courageous living of our lives in harmony with our ideals. It is always—power. Truth ever defies full definition. Like electricity, it can only be explained by noting its manifestation. It is the compass of the soul, the guardian of conscience, the final touchstone of right. Truth is the revelation of the ideal; but it is also an inspiration to realise that ideal, a constant impulse to live it. Lying is one of the oldest vices in the world—it made its debut in the first recorded conversation in history, in a famous interview in the garden of Eden. Lying is the sacrifice of honour to create a wrong impression. It is masquerading in misfit virtues. Truth can stand alone, for it needs no chaperone or escort…

Let’s continue learning from the power that Truth can give us. That politician who is vacillating, temporising, shifting, constantly trimming his sails to catch every puff of wind of popularity, is a trickster who succeeds only until he is found out. A lie may live for a time, truth for all time. A lie never lives by its own vitality; it merely continues to exist because it simulates truth. When it is unmasked, it dies. Where there is untruth there is always conflict, discrepancy and impossibility. If all the truths of life and experience from the first second of time, or for any section of eternity, were brought together, there would be perfect harmony, perfect accord, union and unity, but if two lies come together, they quarrel and seek to destroy each other.

It is in the trifles of daily life that truth should be our constant guide and inspiration. Truth is not a dress-suit, consecrated to special occasions; it is the strong, well-woven, durable homespun for daily living.

Elder Jordan says the man who forgets his promises is untrue. We rarely lose sight of those promises made to us for our individual benefit; these we regard as checks we always seek to cash at the earliest moment. ‘The miser never forgets where he hides his treasure,’ says one of the old philosophers. Let us cultivate that sterling honour that holds our word so supreme, so sacred, that to forget it would seem a crime, to deny it would be impossible. The man who says pleasant things and makes promises, which to him are light as air, but to someone else seem the rock upon which a life’s hope is built is cruelly untrue. He, who does not regard his appointments, carelessly breaking them or ignoring them, is the thoughtless thief of another’s time. It reveals selfishness, carelessness, and lax business morals. It is untrue to the simplest justice of life.

Similarly, men who split hairs with their conscience, who mislead others by deft, shrewd phrasing which may be true in letter yet lying in spirit and designedly uttered to produce a false impression, are untruthful in the most cowardly way. Such men would cheat even in solitaire. Like murderers they forgive themselves their crime in congratulating themselves on the cleverness of their alibi. The parent who preaches honour to his child and gives false statistics about the child’s age to the conductor, to save some money, is not true. In the same vein, that man who keeps his religion in camphor all week and who takes it out only on Sunday, is not true. He, who seeks to get the highest wages for the least possible amount of service, is not true. 

Jordan also adds that the power of Truth, in its highest, purest, and most exalted phases, stands squarely on four basic lines of relation — the love of truth, the search for truth, faith in truth, and work for truth. Our leaders and managers should note this. 

The love of Truth is the cultivated hunger for it in itself and for itself, without any thought of what it may cost, what sacrifices it may entail, what theories or beliefs of a lifetime may be laid desolate. In its supreme phase, this attitude of life is rare, but unless one can begin to put oneself into harmony with this view, the individual will only creep in truth, when he might walk bravely.

Let’s also consider this: The man who votes the same ticket in politics, year after year, without caring for issues, men, or problems, merely voting in a certain way because he always has voted so, is sacrificing loyalty to truth to a weak, mistaken, stubborn attachment to a worn-out precedent. Such a man should stay in his cradle all his life—because he spent his early years there.

Faith in Truth is essential to perfect companionship with truth. The individual must have perfect confidence and assurance of the final triumph of right, and order, and justice, and believe that all things are evolving toward that divine consummation, no matter how dark and dreary life may seem from day to day. No real success, no lasting happiness can exist except it be founded on the rock of truth. The prosperity that is based on lying, deception, and intrigue, is only temporary—it cannot last any more than a mushroom can outlive an oak. Like the blind Samson, struggling in the temple, the individual whose life is based on trickery always pulls down the supporting columns of his own edifice, and perishes in the ruins. No matter what price a man may pay for truth, he is getting it at a bargain. The lying of others can never hurt us long; it always carries with it our exoneration in the end.

And so, the lesson is this: those who lie their way to power, fame and wealth can be rest assured that they are standing on a quick sand. They will soon fizzle out as truth hidden in a grave will not stay there as I have repeatedly written here. Let the powers that be in Abuja acknowledge the truth the #EndSARS promoters have spoken to power and it shall be well with them and their governance process. Let them not get inspiration from the scoundrels and ever-lying liars in the capitals who continue to lie that we should be afraid of the truths our children are telling us. Any local or national or international security advisers who continue to tell the powers in Abuja that the #EndSARS campaigners are terrorists who seek a regime change are not telling the truth: they are liars and they are the real enemies of the people.