*And the challenge of standing for something
According to Webster’s Third New International Dictionary (Unabridged), to prevaricate is “to deviate from the truth.”
The same dictionary defines truth as “sincerity in character, action, and speech.”
Character is a distinctive quality or trait that is original and immutable: our signature identity that defines who we are.
When one lacks character, we say the person lacks integrity. Somebody who prevaricates, therefore, is destitute of character.
Proverbs 6:16-7 provides:
“These six things doth the Lord hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood.”
A lying tongue means someone for whom lying comes natural.
These concepts have come under scrutiny particularly in Anambra state recently due to Governor Obiano’s claim that his state generated over $5M in exporting vegetables to Europe when in fact he knew it was false.
Now, since PMB came to power, Nigerians have fallen on hard times: the economy has been in deep recession or is it depression?
Government workers have had to go without salaries, and our naira is going through progressive devaluation that is yet to hit bottom.
The state governments are having difficulties paying salaries, not to mention providing services to the people.
Governor Okorocha of Imo state proposed three working days a week to avert economic crisis in his state, the first anywhere in the world.
Smart state governments are finding creative ways to generate funds to meet their financial obligations.
A worthy example is Governor Obiano of Anambra who demonstrated his ingenuity by exporting vegetables to Europe and earning $5M.
What a commendable and noble idea!
But the puzzle is that the farms that produced the vegetables exist in pictures and billboards and cannot be located anywhere in his state.
The logistics of exporting fresh cut vegetables is intricate due to its highly perishable propensity.
Exporting vegetables requires almost a seamless coordination and promptness, and an excellent shipping network, from the point of harvest to the ports of export, as well as technology for preserving the product, which we lack.
It also requires functional and effective air cargo facilities.
Our energy supply is anything but constant and if you have been to our ports lately, airports and seaports, you will discover that we lack infrastructure and expertise to engage in serious export enterprise.
The Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA) is lousy and our Customs and Excise is, for lack of a better phrase, a nightmare.
Besides, we have never had a government that is pro-business: we are neurotic with petroleum exploitation to the detriment of other sectors of the economy.
In the face of these practical realities, Obiano looked us with a straight face and declared that he exported vegetables from Anambra state to Europe.
If he had said that his state exported yams and cassava to Europe, perhaps, we may believe him.
But to declare that he exported vegetables worth that amount is beyond believable.
You know, there are lies that one could peddle and the rest of us will overlook and simply walk away.
But there are lies that defy commonsense and logic because their chances of surviving scrutiny is zero, and this one is a classical illustration.
In any event, the pertinent question, in my view, is why the governor should lie over such a thing.
Well, my experience is that politicians lie for various reasons including, but not limited to, attracting cheap publicity, and securing votes in an election.
This is not exclusive to Nigeria. In fact, it is said that you cannot be a good politician if you cannot lie. Governor Obiano, in my view, is living up to that creed.
Conversely, there is a moral perspective with respect to our dealings with our fellow human beings: we call it integrity.
Integrity is being the same person at all times. It means being decent. It means being sincere in words and deeds.
It means possessing moral character that is tried and true.
It is the ability to rise above deprecation – what people might say; to declare what you know is the truth.
This, unfortunately, is what is lacking in our politicians and leaders. Every aspect of our lives seeps with scurrilous disposition.
For instance, PMB is trying to recover our stolen wealth, but from politicians outside his circle.