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“If you must tell a lie, be brief; that’s why adverts are short.” The whirling nature of life today projects a radical departure from this unwritten aphorism that defines the creation of persuasive messaging. We are inundated with barefaced lies shielded in shades of hypocrisy and falsehood. From the office, to the community, on the television, on the internet; lies have taken over the entire space. It is worrisome to observe that liars have taken over every segment of the society. In fact, lies – often dubbed creativity – are features of some profession. Like corruption, it has become a norm rather than the abnormal. Recently, I met a young man whose name as it appeared on his national identity card was different from what he filled on a form. On a closer check, the name which my organisation has in her records was a complete departure from the other two. When quizzed, he insisted all were his names – arguing blindly. Not even his surname was constant. This is the ugly situation that permeates our society. Every day we are assailed by the reality of a growing race of insincere people. The average Nigerian has thrown away caution and embraced dishonesty. Falsehood has taken root in the lifestyle of the populace. More so, in this season of elections, campaign promises are as loud as cymbals. If one considers how politicians toy with dishonesty, one will not be far to conclude that falsehood is now part of our nationhood; having been crowned in every sector of our national life. From government to the governed, politicians to professionals, young and old; almost everyone is guilty of this untoward character. Social media is the worst hit of truth muzzling and lie vending. The rate at which people design and distribute disinformation and misinformation on social media is alarming. While one cannot deny the relief brought about by social media via the internet, it has become a conduit in the hands of jesters and the falsehood industry at large. Sadly as Mark Twain quipped, “a lie can travel half way round the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.” Thus, falsehood and disingenuous manipulation of texts, images and videos go on and become pervasive with media illiterates consuming it hook, line and sinker. Honesty adds value to a person just as dishonesty diminishes from it. Lying can take you to enviable heights, but such does not last. People who forged results to secure admission into the tertiary institution have been shown the way out in their final year. The joy of their new status is cut short abruptly and their expectation of graduation is dashed. In the same vein, people who have jumped to the top have been shown the way down when the law of karma came for its pound of flesh. Ask Salisu Buhari and he would tell you how his edifice of speakership crumbled and his political career was drowned in the mire of falsehood. He has since bowed into oblivion. Liars are a burden to nation building. Their vestige of falsehood is calamitous to not just their age-grade, but also generations after them. The civil service habits many of such. Their lives and files smack of falsehood. Their academic profiles, date of birth and dependents are a shadow of the reality. Fake certificates, incorrect date of birth, non-existent dependents and ghost workers are the flurry of the civil service. Often times, we are quick to blame the government for infrastructural collapse, but by our deceitfulness, we expedite quick decline and eventual collapse of these facilities. By providing false information, it becomes difficult for government to capture accurate statistics of the populace thereby making it impossible to plan and provide infrastructure that would cater for the citizenry and engender national development. Many legs in the civil service are tired and old. But their records reflect an age below the reality. An army of active and able-bodied men can not take over because the tired and worn out ones have refused to bow out gracefully. Sadly, some of these old cargoes who should be on pension are still being battered by the harsh environment. They continue to cheat the system and deny it of fresh blood and agile minds. If your first name is liar, ‘thievery’ is your surname; for by nature, liars are thieves. It is second skin to them. People who make promises and renege on them without a sense of remorse are as dangerous as serial liars. What shall it profit a man if he tells a lie that eventually brings disgrace to him? Sometimes it is difficult to distinguish between truths and lies. But it has never taken eternity for the truth to catch up with lies. No matter how fast lies may have run, the truth will surely overtake it. Surely the wind will blow and we will see the anus of the hen. It usually begins with little lies. Small white lies graduate to become big black lies. Gone are the days those evils that men do live after them. Today, their lies live with them and trail them leaving behind a legacy of distrust, bad belle and chequered integrity. There is a growing dearth of Nigerians with integrity and high sense of value. Before you count ten, you would have counted seven who have fallen short of time tested values. Nigeria’s conscience is suffering from a sore; a deep gushing one and only the truth can cure it. To borrow the words of late Uthman Dan Fodio, we need a national “conscience nurtured by truth”. It behooves the citizenry who truly love Nigeria to clean up the sore and apply the cure. Honestly, honesty remains the best policy.     About the Writer: Yinka Adeosun is a communications specialist based in Ondo, Ondo state.  

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This article was first published on 26th March 2015

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