Njundu Drammeh

(JollofNews)- “The real destroyer of the liberties of the people is he who spreads among them bounties, donations and benefits” Plutarch

“Yaya is a very nice man, generous and god-fearing. He was destroyed by the men and women who surrounded him and he eventually destroyed himself. But principally his cabal, those who had his ears”

Statements like these I have heard umpteenth times from men and women, including young men and young ladies, who had the privilege of being closed to Yaya or took direct orders from him or worked under him.

How could a man who is touted as nice, sincerely generous and Allah-fearing be capable of the most grievous, unconscionable harm to his subordinate and citizens? How could a man who is regarded as possessing spiritual and mystical power and a clairvoyant be so easily gullible, fell so easily to political chicanery and shenanigans, allowed himself to be manipulated by others? How are good men also capable of evil of the worst type? We saw him metamorphosed from “good” to very evil, a meteoric downward spiral. We leave the answers to clinical psychologistsand behavioural analysts.

It is a fact we created our Frankenstein Monster. It is a fact that we saw his Jekyll and Hyde personality which developed before our eyes but dismissed it as “normal”. It is a fact that sold each other to him and with time he came to ravish our game. Just for a “handful of dalasi” we set each other up. Just for a position we spied on each other. Just to be closed to the President we invented stories to elbow out the other. Just to be called the President’ s Most Loyal Servant we refused to speak the truth to safe a colleague, a misprisonment of truth.

We sold each other to Yaya. We provided him the information, fabricated or cooked, about our neighbour, superior, work or business colleague, which he used as his “fact” or pretext to fire, imprison, humiliate, torture. We provided him the fodder. We ended up competing for his attention, and to catch his eyes we engaged in political chicanery and shenanigans and some below the belt tactics.

Our acts sent a buddy to prison, made a business colleague lose his or her business and a senior civil servant his or her post, forced a next door neighbour into exile, catapulted a friend or relative to an undeserved position, resulted to the torture, disappearance or death of an innocent soul.

Now we know Yaya was no clairvoyant or crystal gazer since he wasn’t able to see his election defeat. He was not capable of knowing what people discussed in the privacy of their bedrooms, at the attaya vous, what party they belonged, what private business they owned, what they said about him. He didn’t know, couldn’t have known and wasn’t present. We told him; we gave him the information about the other people.

The men and women who hastened Yaya’s journey on the primrose path to self destruction, who served as his courtiers and had his eyes and ears but acted against their conscience, have not gone away. They are still here with us, not with him in EG. They are changing shapes, dissolving in the crowd and repositioning themselves to re-enact their parts, carrying favours and acting the patriot.

The new leadership, not the recycled one, must be aware of sheep in wolves clothing. It must not give room for sycophancy to grow. It must guard against “summer soldiers and sunshine patriots” and be courageous enough to call them out even in its own ranks.

It must emphasise and have it writ everywhere that posts and elevation upwards will be earned, and merit clothed in competence will be the determinant or touchstone. Nothing kills progress than nepotism, favouritism, patronage and upping of mediocrity.

There must an insistence on honesty and everyone living by honesty. That it is honesty, not the contrary, which will be rewarded. When the bar is set higher and the rules applicable to all, men and women buckle up to meet the expected standards.

Since sunshine or the sun is the best disinfectant, transparency much be the byword. Gossips, slander and hypocrisy fester in an environment where information is not shared or where very few, selected friends of the head are privy to information.

“Who you are is who you attract” J.C. Maxwell averred. From Yaya’s inner circle, men and women versed in behaviouralism and eccentricity could tell who he was. Our new leadership, across the board, not just the Executive, must scrutinise its inner circle.

Congeniality and bon homie can as well attract sinister beings. The leadership should surround itself with citizens of impeccable and unimpeachable character and integrity. “Men that are fat” should be give a wide berth.

Dictatorship develops when the inner circle of the leader fears to say or defend the truth or give their honest opinion. Dictatorship is born when the leader acts purely on hearsay, rewards “reporters” but punishes those who speak truth to power; believes respect and honour are earned through fear and reprisal.

The leader slides on the primrose path to self destruction when he or she surrounds himself or herself with “Yes Sir, Yes Ma’am” beings; when he or she loves to be feted upon, be fawn, glorified and hero worshipped. We saw Yaya metamorphosed from “good” to very evil, a meteoric downward spiral.

In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends” MLK Jr.

In the end we will remember not only the tragedy that was Yaya but also the perfidy and unconscionable acts of men and women who stoked his fire, who provided him human fodder, who sold their kind, who looked askance why evil was hatched or executed, who sold him a lie through pretense, who fed his illusion of grandeur. And these citizens have not gone to Equatorial Guinea. They are in the system with masked faces.

Those who forget history are bound to repeat its unsavoury part.