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Thursday, July 25, 2024

Abia: Sycophancy At Its Peak – By Levinus Nwabughiogu



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Sycophancy can indeed be a messy PR formula. The amazing thing about it, is that it is usually a product of an emotional hysteria. Almost, always, a sycophant hardly even knows when he has drifted from the realm of reality and plunged himself into the ignoble act of sycophancy.

In Abia State, sycophancy has been elevated to an art and the practice is now commonplace. This is exactly what most political hangers-on around the seat of power in Umuahia have shown to us.

Last week, one of those hangers-on whom I would describe as a sycophant and opportunist, apparently on the trip with the Governor of the State, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu for the Nigerian Governors’ Investment Forum in Guangzhou, China took a snapshot of the governor standing in a moving train and hurriedly posted it to the net.

The picture on the platform I saw it was labeled with several euphemistic appellations. The loudest of those sycophantic remarks, in my estimation, was the one that casts the governor as an epitome of humility.

With a keen interest, the PR man tried to showcase the meekness in the governor to justify his action in a train on a foreign land. What a wonderful publicity stunt. Good!

But much as I would love to applaud this person who seemingly floated in some uninhibited excitement, conspicuously basking in sprawled exuberance and euphoria of sighting a sitting governor standing in humility for the picture, it is also instructive to point out and situate the wrong in his action.

For the all intents and purposes, this paparazzi misfired and eventually exposed the governor to utter ridicule, leaving him at the mercy of social media commentators and analysts who are now pouring out their disappointments in torrents.

For starters, the governor was on a foreign soil and had to key into a functional social infrastructure in a moving world.

This sycophantic follower, in a bid to celebrate the humility of the governor, displayed crass ignorance which mocked our social architecture when compared with the one in China.

His ignorance tells us that since a Nigerian governor could ride in a Chinese train, standing, then Nigeria must be a strange clime where even a local government councilor cannot walk on foot as we have seen.

Like the West, China has a functional, holistic and integrated social system that rarely throws undue recognition to the rich and powerful. Rail transportation is one of them. There is little or no preferential treatment for anyone. What obtains, instead, is equity, equality and altruism in public service.

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Yet in that self-serving and failed mission, that pocket-liner felt he was doing the governor and the rest of Abians some noble service by posting that picture. Nay, it was a great disservice. He insulted both the governor and our collective sensibilities.

The last time I checked, governors in Nigeria including Ikpeazu who got no seat in that train and didn’t have to complain or bark at anyone there, blew their sirens in a convoy of countless vehicles with a horde of stern-looking security operatives and cycophants such as the one who took the picture on board. Their motorcades snaked on our roads in breathtaking stance not minding traffic rules. They also flew first class and charted jets with ease. But offshore, they are like any other person on the street.

At the home front, I have not seen that unsolicited paparazzi who wanted to score a cheap political point in China, take and post photos of Ikpeazu going to Umuahia or Abuja in any of the Abia State Transport Company, The Young, GUO or Ekene Dili Chukwu’s buses. I have neither seen him negotiate a seat-space with Ahia ohu women in those rickety buses from Ogbor Hill to Ngwa Road nor heard about the governor being ferried from Umuobiakwa, his home town to Waterside in Aba on Okada.

I have also not seen pictures of Ikpeazu sitting in a Keke from Bata to MCC junction by this uncanny camera shooter. Not even for political reasons. Yet, he was quick to do that in China.

How can any idiot convince me that standing in a train in faraway China was a mark of humility? For want of a better word, this is crass idiocy. Of what impact was that picture? What political points was this rabble-rouser aiming at when the governor simply keyed onto a system he saw offshore? No, Ikpeazu should have flown on a jet across the dotted skycrappers of China to lend credence to his befitting status as a Nigerian governor.

I can imagine the sprawling gaiety of this sycophant who just couldn’t think twice of what may be the peoples reaction and the damage it would do to the governor before posting the picture on the internet. He had done a great work for his amiable boss and so, his ingenuity should be applauded. That’s sheer insult. Arrant nonsense. A claptrap.

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I feel concerned about this insolence because my it my State, my governor and brother. I have read a lot of unsavory comments as reactions to that post. On facebook and twitter, tongues are wagging and I feel greatly agitated. Much as I studied and practice PR, it is not to this sorry state.

Everything about the governor shouldn’t be so sycophantic. People shouldn’t laugh as if they are mentally challenged when a governor or highly placed individual has not said any thing funny just to announce their presence. It is pretense. You are not helping the governor.

It will be preposterous for some of us with a rich knowledge of the governor’s humane personality and background prior to his present position to conclude that he has suddenly, upon his ascendancy to power, lost his sense of humility, sympathy and empathy so as to now mount a facebook campaign for him.

People who are smarter, know their onion in the practice of PR have since shown us better pictures of the governor delivering his remarks, visiting some shoe manufacturing companies in China which is the very essence of that trip and not where he was standing in “humility” on a foreign soil. This is my worry with lackeys and sycophants who dot the corridors of power. Their definition of subservience and servitude is a way outta of line. It can be so annoying and this is what most political aides have reduced themselves: sycophants. So, unfortunate.

Now, you know what that camera click in China did? It unabashedly captured a huge silhouette of Ikpeazu in most isolated disposition, casting him in the mould of a stowaway, evading some recognition in a Chinese train. Much as that mischievous camera man wanted to magnify the person of Ikpeazu, he unwittingly reduced him to a minion, subject of pun and ridicule in social spheres. And unfortunately, this has gained acceleration in public circles, thereby rubbing off negatively on the success of that worthy trip to China.

De Okezie, please, beware of these impish tricksters in the toga of whatever aides. They will ruin your image and government. Emma, you too should wake up and control the PR machinery professionally before things get out of hands.

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