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If you must lie, be brief- By Bayo Adeyinka

Sometimes in 2003 or 2004, I had to attend a job interview and I needed to find my way out of the office. I approached my boss and gave him a litany of customers I wanted to meet with the hope of securing new accounts. I so much hyped the need for me to go out urgently for those transactions as our branch wasn’t doing well then. My boss quickly released me with a pool car and a driver. Thinking I’ve outwitted my boss, I drove out of the branch smiling. Just so that I could give the driver an impression that it was a business call, I went to visit just one customer and finally we were off to my interview.

When I got to the place of the interview, I signed in quickly as I was almost late. I didn’t pay attention to the other names that had signed before me. I was ushered upstairs where other candidates for the same interview were sitting. As I was waived to my seat and I prepared to sit down, I heard someone chuckle right next to me and a voice said, “Mr Bayo, e pele o” (You’re welcome). It was my boss. I froze in mid-air. It was as if I was sitting on an imaginary chair. I broke out in sweat immediately. I had been caught red-handed. No, purple-handed. I was caught with my hand in the cookie jar. As if God wanted to really catch me, the seat I was given was right next to my boss. He too had been invited for the interview.
Laughing, he asked me to sit down. I did so very reluctantly. Quietly, he asked, “Is this your customer visit? Where are the accounts?” By then, I had summoned a bit of courage and I asked my boss with a bold face, albeit jokingly, “Oga, what did you come to do here also?”. “ I came here to wait for you and expose your lies”, he replied laughing. Of course, I knew he also came for the interview. He snapped his fingers at me and promised to issue me a query in the office. I snapped my fingers back and told him I will respond appropriately and in details with the names of those who should be in my response. We both broke out in laughter.
Back in the office, he called me and told me, “If you must lie, be brief”. Since then, I usually tell my team mates the same thing. Forget about embellishing your lies. Or better still, don’t even tell a lie. Once the narrative is too long, there is a way your lies will catch up with you. In the words of Alexander Pope “He who tells a lie, is not sensible how great a task he undertakes; for he must be forced to invent twenty more to maintain that one”. There is no one who can lie so much so intelligently that he will remember in details all the lies he has told- not even Lai Mohammed. Each lie must be covered with another layer of lies until it becomes a mesh of lies which now becomes difficult even for the liar to keep pace with. That is why the truth is better. You don’t need any great memory to tell or remember the truth.
Was the first Chibok girl rescued by Civilian JTF or the military? What is her real name- Amina Ali or Fatima? Or the third name I can’t seem to recollect now? Why is her Boko Haram abductor being treated with such respect? How come a baby born in Sambisa Forest is looking as healthy and well nourished like any other? While I can relate with the fact that the north is educationally disadvantaged, I can’t really understand how someone writing WAEC will not be able to speak a word in English.
Which brings me to the current ‘palliative’ in Nigeria. The ‘Chibok girls’ story. What do we now believe? Was the first Chibok girl rescued by Civilian JTF or the military? What is her real name- Amina Ali or Fatima? Or the third name I can’t seem to recollect now? Why is her Boko Haram abductor being treated with such respect? How come a baby born in Sambisa Forest is looking as healthy and well nourished like any other? While I can relate with the fact that the north is educationally disadvantaged, I can’t really understand how someone writing WAEC will not be able to speak a word in English.
What was the rush in receiving someone who had just been ‘rescued’ in Aso Rock within 24 hours? And I think it is a curious coincidence that another Chibok girl was found 24 hours later. Will it be one Chibok girl per day as this government counts down to the First Anniversary? If all these questions are answered logically, then there are still more questions that go way back. How many trucks were used to carry the 220 girls when they were abducted? How come the Principal’s daughter was not among those abducted though she was writing the exam at that period also? Why was the school opened against the advisory of the government? How come we don’t have pictures of all the 220 girls abducted? Somehow, somewhere, the true picture has been distorted.
These are the thoughts in my head. I’m finding it very difficult to put all the pieces together. Something is not quite adding up for me. On one hand, I’m very glad that the Chibok girls are being ‘rescued’ or found- whichever is the truth. But on the other hand, I find it tough to follow the narrative logically. I am forced to agree with William Shenstone who said ‘a liar begins with making falsehood appear like truth, and ends with making truth itself appear like falsehood’.
Since all stories eventually must have an end, it is good that closure is finally being achieved on the Chibok case. May God help us to discover the truth in the midst of all these.
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