I last spoke with you last week when Nigeria was the cynosure of all eyes. The tension has doused and the nation is still nostalgic: some felt bad about losing the elections, some felt great about winning. May both be for the good of the nation at large. Okpam means my friend in Idoma language of Benue State, North-Central, Nigeria.

There is a set of traditional people in Yoruba culture and tradition called the “Ayan”. It is likely that you might have come across people whose surname starts with Ayan as the prefix. I would not want to waste your time on discussing this but you can read up a sister blog where this has been discussed in the past- Etymology: Prefix and Suffix as Variant of Yoruba names. This family’s craft include playing of the traditional drum and singing the praises of people and families. In fact, they add aesthetics to any event of Yoruba people. In this twist today, we would be examining it from the political angle.

Praise Singers are those who are in the business of admiration of the boss. In governance, there are set of people from the media who sing the praises of their boss; party supporters and faithful who do same, in fact, they have customized wears. There are many words used to describe them, such as charlatans, sycophants etc. They determine the information available to their superiors; they tell their superiors what they want to hear and they blindly support and defend the projects of their bosses.

Truth Sayers like a Yoruba saying goes, Olotito ki leni meaning a truthful person would not be wealthy while is symbolized by a mat. Truth Sayers are the very blunt analysts, commentators who are there to guide their leaders. They are those that inform the leader of the impending loom and danger. They are faithful and committed to ensuring that their boss makes the right decisions. At times, this role cost them their jobs and ultimately, their lives.

These two groups are important to life. However, you need critics who are closer than brothers; you need people who can look into your face and tell you the truth; you need people who can help you to sit up; you need people who would not mince words and learn to distant yourself from praise singers when it is time for ACTION!

I volunteer to be a TRUTH SAYER at all times, what about you?

Enjoy your week.



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