Monday, August 31, 2020

A COG IN THE WHEEL OF NIGERIA DEMOCRACY. A speech delivered by Msgr. Prof. J.B. Akam in Abuja

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Update African Journal, an foreign newspaper, has ranked Very Rev. Msgr, The Founder and Chancellor of Tanzian University. As Man of the Year, John Bosco Akam. The Occasion for the Award was held on March 20, 2010 at the National Merit Award Centre, Abuja, in the midst of fanfare and pageantries. The academic guru delivered a highly respected lecture.



Sykophantes are Greek words for sycophancy. It implies someone putting in charges of all sorts and finding none. It's sycophants tradition to bring charges against those who have done no wrong. They will gain most benefit for these. The word in this sense includes false allegation,

In ancient Greece the word was a public informer, the Anthenian equivalent of the Roman dilator. The word has maintained its ancient classical sense in Modern Greek, and is still used to describe a slanderer or a calumnian.

One can consider sycophancy in three dimensions:

1. Flagrant flattery; servility

2. False accusations; calumnies; myths

3. Character or features of a sycophant

Alternative expressions are commonly used such as:

Polishing of apples, bootlicker, brown nosing, crawler, fawning, flunky, hang-on, kowtowing, lackey, lickspittle, toady and yes guys.

Sycophany Psychological Exploitation,Manipulation of Sycophancy


Attention, flattery, gifts, money-giving, grooming, appreciation, seduction, smile, superficial charm, superficial affection ...


Rage, assassination of character, weeping, emotional coercion, frowning, inattention, bullying, nagging, nit-picking criticism, passive violence, cursing, threats and blaming of victims.


Deception, denial, misinformation, deception, deceit, distortion, indoctrination, lying, misuse of rationalization, advertisement, trick of trust, manipulation of the media, domination of mind, bullying, scapegoating, smear campaign etc.
Democracy is the rule of the people by the people and by the people, in its commonest sense. We in Nigeria so far have no reservations about accepting democracy and its challenges. We have had the ability, since the transition from military rule in 1999, to take advantage of our beloved democracy through strong successive rebirths. Our democracy was a major factor in today 's mutual transition, progress and growth. This beloved democracy, as it taught us how to check people in responsible roles in our battle against poverty, maintaining social stability, promoting the growth of our social services, deepening political progress, guaranteeing citizens' freedom of speech.

If we can maintain these monumental responsibilities with all the requisite resources and energies; if we can correct our mistakes and improve those better results, there is definitely no reason why in our beloved country we can not build integrity and human capital. But there is this dangerous mysterious cancer culture that has the potential to undermine our democracy if not addressed and collapse our gigantic attempts to create a better Nigeria. This "cancer" is what I call a sycophantic culture which is more damaging than the coup makers to our democracy. In our socio-economic and political lives, I consider sycophantic culture the greatest danger that we face, even as we form our democracy.

In the name of allegiance, people are out to lick people's shoes in the different levels of authorities; others are out to achieve personal goals and/or weaken others.

There's thin line between loyalty and sycophancy. People don't believe what they say any more, and they say what they think. The worst is when the trio no longer has correspondence: what we think, what we say and what we hear. We 're in an era, in other words, where thoughts and words no longer reflect reality. The original Greek definition of reality as "aletheia" is gone-uncloakedness. It is unusual to see the German definition of Reality as "Unverbogenheit." 

People are saying and behaving in our polity today just to draw attention from the forces that are for their own personal benefits. Our culture is unfortunately polluted and infested by people who have the habit of chanting "hosannas" when they say "crucify." Then what people hear is "hosanna filio David," as they yell "Crucifige eum." It's most tragic when what the speaker thinks and says is "crucify him" when people listen to "hosanna, praise David's son."

Sycophantic culture is a culture where people seek popularity by flattening wealth or power upon others. These groups (Sycophants) make neither waves nor critiques.

A sycophant would never challenge his boss, or contradict him, being careful to be fawningly polite. All too often we get confused about critiques and impoliteness. We have to differentiate between "constructive, destructive, and deconstructive criticism.

Today we are in trouble because in our politics and governance we have allowed the above mentioned sycophantic fangs to exist. We have allowed a culture of corruption and dishonesty to impregnate our political institution's structures and contaminate our public discourse.

We prefer to blame the military for fostering sycophantic culture in our polity for any regression of democracy but it is very clear that sycophantic culture embraces both the military and civil sectors in our society and that is the ban of our democracy. Its depth and omnipresence could well be an sign of political and managerial leadership more interested in clinging to power for personal gain than to the actual interests of the people of Nigeria.

There is no doubt that political sycophancy has always been part of the politics of the world. Invariably, most people focused on personal interests will go beyond their ways of singing praises to others in the halls of influence as a way to draw attention to themselves. "What faciamus? "I leave you to think about this.


Recently, for the president, ministers, senators, members of the House of Representatives, LGA chairmen, councilors, chairmen of boards of parastatals and even First Ladies, the political environment has been awash with the clamour for a second term.

For others, the second term serves as a compensatory time for political criminals and sycophants; a time of aggrandizement for all, and a callous watch over the degradation of the masses who are briefly experiencing a new lease of life during the first term in office. Second term syndrome has questioned a variety of politicians' creativity and experience, and has left many in letters with their reputations. First term office holders typically focus on being re-elected for a second term syndrome affects the goals of rhetoric considerably.

Gaining second term tickets should be a benchmark. Any official seeking re-election can account for his stewardship Transparency should be as far as possible; sycophantic culture should not be a yardstick for re-election nomination. We should be more systematic and careful in our selection and evaluation.


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