Praise Singers As Enemies Of Good Governance

By Sanusi Muhammad
Let me start by making reference to the scripture where it was stated that once upon a time, there reigned a King in Israel who was given a blank check by the Almighty to request for whatever he wanted. That King was so loved and blessed by the Almighty, that even, what he did not request was given to him. That King was Solomon (Prophet Solomon) whose wisdom was rated higher than normal. Yet, he was led down to the path of destruction by praise singers. Same fate befell his son Rehoboam who had the greatest opportunity to rebuild the battered image of the inherited dynasty.
But who are those generally referred to as praise singers? Why does the society need them for and how do they most often, end up doing the society the greatest and deadliest harm? Well, those questions bring to mind the job of certain sets of peculiar people mostly found in the Yoruba and Hausa socio-cultural settings. Commonly referred to as royal courtiers, they are usually found in palaces and houses of the wealthy singing and drumming for the pleasure of their targets that swim in the fool’s paradise.
If there is any lethal weapon that is so sure and quick to destroy integrity and sentence a leader to his early grave or political oblivion, that weapon is praise singing with its twin brother called boot licking and sycophancy.
Praise singing is commonly referred to as ‘cousin to Mr. Anything”, their trade turns the page away from the real issues of significant importance and responsible leadership. If not well-managed by their ‘unwitting clients’, praise singers truncate plans and induce reality deniability. The aftermath effects of praise singing are like driving drunk: if you don’t get killed, you might end up killing somebody else. So, blessed is that leader who is wise and focused enough to surmount the ‘Zakin duniya, namijin duniya’ folkloric appeals while sitting on the throne set on landmines.
In most cases, praise singing helps to blind the eyes of leaders to their mandatory responsibilities and the burden of public service. When leaders ignore the truth; when they hate to pay attention to the welfare of the people and what’s actually going on in the society they lead, they end up misbehaving and rating themselves as tin-gods on a conquered territory.
However, for those who are witty, and conscious of the interpretation of the norms of the people, caution always prevails. Impliedly, while praise singers have their key roles firmly ingrained in the cultural norms and value system, those who embrace and patronize them must be well grounded in those very norms and values. Otherwise, derailment is a sure bet, as the life and time of past leaders have shown.
The reality is that praise-singing cannot be remedied because our society’s socio-cultural norms allow and encourage it. From the local musician on the streets to the politicians and the electorates, authentic, time-tested, cultural norms are longer in existence and nobody can be directly held accountable. Before our eyes, Nigerians have become wedded into the intrigues of lofty ideas that are so sweet on paper but so hard to feel by the people. While the praise-singers cannot but do what they believe will fetch them their meal tickets, the beneficiaries of their vocation cannot but subscribe to their issues of lies, because those are the stuffs that help propel the insincerity of statistics and the foolery of illusion of imagined approval from the unwary masses. The people are frustrated, hungry, jobless and philistinic. As such, they are gullible! Like the proverbial Esau, everybody just wants to eat and have fun without caring a hoot about what becomes of the fate of the country. To the praise singers, it doesn’t matter the source of the money dished out, what is important is that Oga is alive and aerated. It is the search for this competitive edge that has now led us to norms that are in complete contradistinction to Western and Arabian cultures. The implication is that it fuels underdevelopment because the focus of leadership is shifted away from the reality. The man being praised also becomes mindful of his over-bloated ego; and the society is worse for it! It is a chain reaction; and it will always be a recurring issue, producing the same results, until the chain is broken.
Given these narratives, it is unfortunate that old values seem to have given way to new-but-unhelpful norms. The praise singers will do what they have to do because the driving forces are their stomach and pockets. That they perform the act for which they are renowned in this kind of fragile and unpredictable socio-political and economic milieu is even inevitable. A typical praise singer is an individual who has conducted no statistics to know that, truly, his target is the people’s choice. Unfortunately, the beneficiary is also foolish to believe that he is loved and respected and can do and undo at will! It even makes him or her to misbehave, derail and misgovern the more, because his or her actions or brand of politics will not be based on scientifically verifiable facts that are helpful to the society but on foolery and deceit. And instead, they will sync with the praise-singer’s proclamation! Obviously, that’s where impunity sets in. That’s what has affected the leadership of politics and political administration in Nigeria that it has always expected gratitude for services rendered with public funds with half of it diverted or stolen under different guises while actively involved in public service. What makes it so bizarre is that they expect the same courtesy to be extended to those in their circle, even, their concubines, prostitutes and ill-legitimate children as the governed are rated as foolish, unintelligent or unaware of happenings that must succumb to the wish of the gluttons in power.
Regrettably, this has not only gone a long way in expending the frontiers of entitlement culture and greed of the elite, it has also raised the bar for the ‘iniquity of inequities’ in our society.
It is troubling to note that the more we attempt to interrogate Nigeria’s multiple-but-identifiable problems, and attempts are made to solve them, the more new and intractable ones are discovered; and the enveloping ecology of a troubled society remains. So, what is the way out of this failed social process that has turned our dear country into a forest of frustration and conspiratorial manipulations?
Well, the solution is for the society to recheck and give a good fight morally and socially against praise singers who deceive leaders to believe falsehood including image launderers that hide under the canopy of greed to trumpet fictitious achievements of leaders in power at an agreed fee while the actual reality is either hidden far beneath the soil or completely murdered with the pen. Instead of patching up social problems and treating the symptoms, not the disease, requisite Cultural Revolution has to start right away as the medication to checkmate the excesses of those in power! At this junction, I must state the obvious that I doff my hat for five Nigeria’s governors that of Adamawa, Ahmadu Fintiri, Borno, Prof. Babagana Umara Zulum, Babajide Sanwa-Olu of Lagos, Maimala Buni of Yobe and that of Plateau State Barr. Simon Bako Lalong, for resisting the advanced foolery of praise-singers, bootlickers, blackmailers and sycophants that are so desperate to eke a living on public purse as parasites of no value while the people suffer in silence for the absence of economic empowerment for legitimate self-reliance. These are leaders worthy of emulation going by their recorded giant strides in this dispensation.
Muhammad is a commentator on national issuesPraise singers as enemies of good governance
By Sanusi Muhammad
Let me start by making reference to the scripture where it was stated that once upon a time, there reigned a King in Israel who was given a blank check by the Almighty to request for whatever he wanted. That King was so loved and blessed by the Almighty, that even, what he did not request was given to him. That King was Solomon (Prophet Solomon) whose wisdom was rated higher than normal. Yet, he was led down to the path of destruction by praise singers. Same fate befell his son Rehoboam who had the greatest opportunity to rebuild the battered image of the inherited dynasty.
But who are those generally referred to as praise singers? Why does the society need them for and how do they most often, end up doing the society the greatest and deadliest harm? Well, those questions bring to mind the job of certain sets of peculiar people mostly found in the Yoruba and Hausa socio-cultural settings. Commonly referred to as royal courtiers, they are usually found in palaces and houses of the wealthy singing and drumming for the pleasure of their targets that swim in the fool’s paradise.
If there is any lethal weapon that is so sure and quick to destroy integrity and sentence a leader to his early grave or political oblivion, that weapon is praise singing with its twin brother called boot licking and sycophancy.
Praise singing is commonly referred to as ‘cousin to Mr. Anything”, their trade turns the page away from the real issues of significant importance and responsible leadership. If not well-managed by their ‘unwitting clients’, praise singers truncate plans and induce reality deniability. The aftermath effects of praise singing are like driving drunk: if you don’t get killed, you might end up killing somebody else. So, blessed is that leader who is wise and focused enough to surmount the ‘Zakin duniya, namijin duniya’ folkloric appeals while sitting on the throne set on landmines.
In most cases, praise singing helps to blind the eyes of leaders to their mandatory responsibilities and the burden of public service. When leaders ignore the truth; when they hate to pay attention to the welfare of the people and what’s actually going on in the society they lead, they end up misbehaving and rating themselves as tin-gods on a conquered territory.
However, for those who are witty, and conscious of the interpretation of the norms of the people, caution always prevails. Impliedly, while praise singers have their key roles firmly ingrained in the cultural norms and value system, those who embrace and patronize them must be well grounded in those very norms and values. Otherwise, derailment is a sure bet, as the life and time of past leaders have shown.
The reality is that praise-singing cannot be remedied because our society’s socio-cultural norms allow and encourage it. From the local musician on the streets to the politicians and the electorates, authentic, time-tested, cultural norms are longer in existence and nobody can be directly held accountable. Before our eyes, Nigerians have become wedded into the intrigues of lofty ideas that are so sweet on paper but so hard to feel by the people. While the praise-singers cannot but do what they believe will fetch them their meal tickets, the beneficiaries of their vocation cannot but subscribe to their issues of lies, because those are the stuffs that help propel the insincerity of statistics and the foolery of illusion of imagined approval from the unwary masses. The people are frustrated, hungry, jobless and philistinic. As such, they are gullible! Like the proverbial Esau, everybody just wants to eat and have fun without caring a hoot about what becomes of the fate of the country. To the praise singers, it doesn’t matter the source of the money dished out, what is important is that Oga is alive and aerated. It is the search for this competitive edge that has now led us to norms that are in complete contradistinction to Western and Arabian cultures. The implication is that it fuels underdevelopment because the focus of leadership is shifted away from the reality. The man being praised also becomes mindful of his over-bloated ego; and the society is worse for it! It is a chain reaction; and it will always be a recurring issue, producing the same results, until the chain is broken.
Given these narratives, it is unfortunate that old values seem to have given way to new-but-unhelpful norms. The praise singers will do what they have to do because the driving forces are their stomach and pockets. That they perform the act for which they are renowned in this kind of fragile and unpredictable socio-political and economic milieu is even inevitable. A typical praise singer is an individual who has conducted no statistics to know that, truly, his target is the people’s choice. Unfortunately, the beneficiary is also foolish to believe that he is loved and respected and can do and undo at will! It even makes him or her to misbehave, derail and misgovern the more, because his or her actions or brand of politics will not be based on scientifically verifiable facts that are helpful to the society but on foolery and deceit. And instead, they will sync with the praise-singer’s proclamation! Obviously, that’s where impunity sets in. That’s what has affected the leadership of politics and political administration in Nigeria that it has always expected gratitude for services rendered with public funds with half of it diverted or stolen under different guises while actively involved in public service. What makes it so bizarre is that they expect the same courtesy to be extended to those in their circle, even, their concubines, prostitutes and ill-legitimate children as the governed are rated as foolish, unintelligent or unaware of happenings that must succumb to the wish of the gluttons in power.
Regrettably, this has not only gone a long way in expending the frontiers of entitlement culture and greed of the elite, it has also raised the bar for the ‘iniquity of inequities’ in our society.
It is troubling to note that the more we attempt to interrogate Nigeria’s multiple-but-identifiable problems, and attempts are made to solve them, the more new and intractable ones are discovered; and the enveloping ecology of a troubled society remains. So, what is the way out of this failed social process that has turned our dear country into a forest of frustration and conspiratorial manipulations?
Well, the solution is for the society to recheck and give a good fight morally and socially against praise singers who deceive leaders to believe falsehood including image launderers that hide under the canopy of greed to trumpet fictitious achievements of leaders in power at an agreed fee while the actual reality is either hidden far beneath the soil or completely murdered with the pen. Instead of patching up social problems and treating the symptoms, not the disease, requisite Cultural Revolution has to start right away as the medication to checkmate the excesses of those in power! At this junction, I must state the obvious that I doff my hat for five Nigeria’s governors that of Adamawa, Ahmadu Fintiri, Borno, Prof. Babagana Umara Zulum, Babajide Sanwa-Olu of Lagos, Maimala Buni of Yobe and that of Plateau State Barr. Simon Bako Lalong, for resisting the advanced foolery of praise-singers, bootlickers, blackmailers and sycophants that are so desperate to eke a living on public purse as parasites of no value while the people suffer in silence for the absence of economic empowerment for legitimate self-reliance. These are leaders worthy of emulation going by their recorded giant strides in this dispensation.
*Muhammad is a commentator on national issues

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