Sycophants Are Necessary In Nigerian Politics, And Life

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Life is a cycle. What goes around comes around. There’s really not much time to make enemies and likewise no time at all to tell who are true friends. Differentiating between friends and sycophants gets harder as one climbs up the ladder of success.

The reason is simple – we live in a world with people who are reflexively drawn to success and repelled from failures hence a large number of people who show characteristics of friends even when they aren’t.

Distinguishing between these categories when successful proves tedious as everyone comes with a claim to have a piece of you and your life. For those who have taken time to differentiate these groups, well done. For those who haven’t, perhaps we’ll discuss that another day.

Keeping close friends in the attainment of success is necessary, so is keeping sycophants. Everyone warns that we discover sycophants and get rid of them early. But that may prove to be a bad decision.

Here’s why.

Sycophants put us on an imaginary pedestal with their mellifluous words that flows seamlessly. And for any normal human being, words of praises remove every constraint and reservations, making you break limits, shift barriers and do things which ordinarily you won’t do which would earn you praises and in turn more “friends”.

No well-meaning person or friend will have advised President Buhari to promise Nigerians in his manifesto that he will provide a social welfare package for poor Nigerians (25 million of them) to the tune of N5000 each. Well, if this works, fine, but it looks highly impossible. Such promise is one of the reasons we put him there. Kudos to whichever sycophant advised him to do so.

Also, they are very fast in pointing out your enemies. Because of the need to protect and consolidate their “friendship” status before you, it’s easier to know your enemies through these bunch. They perceive anybody who tries to take your attention away from them as a foe. It’s good to listen to their advice, it could be a lifesaver.

Because of that need to stay in your cycle, they never tell you when you’re wrong. They are good ego masseurs. Criticism and rebuke are not in their menu and since every man is thrown a step back when criticized or rebuked, they are the best bet to give commendation and instant approval when you need it.

Sometimes, our true friends may delay praises due to the little rivalry that in certain cases creep into friendship, but these ones are quick to paint a good picture of our every action thereby accelerating growth and productivity.

Sycophants are actually “friends”, only snag being that they fight for their own benefits. Everything at the end, points to how they can gain.

But may I warn, these guys are deadly and the only analogy that can be assigned to them is that of “green snakes in a flourishing green grass”.

The idea of keeping sycophants should be on a contract basis, say six months or one year so as to prevent the urge of spilling deep secrets to them because the longer they stay the harder it is to distinguish between the real and the fake. Their search for greener pastures makes them flexible to change “friends” and any chance of you drowning, watch them vapourize in a twinkle.

We should always keep our friends closest and even share who these sycophants are with them so as to know when the line is crossed. Final verdicts on decisions to be made should be reached by our inner circle of friends.

President Buhari should be exemplified in this. His ministerial nominees were never released to even people we thought to be his friends. But he knew better.

This piece was written by Ayo-oluwa Obafemi, (Ynaija). You can engage him on Twitter: @quietparrott

The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of



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