If a king bid a man be a villain, he is bound by the indenture of his oath to be one – Pericles, Prince of Tyre.
King Anthiochus who had incestuous relationship with his daughter would not have his secret made open, and several princes who wanted to marry the King’s daughter had to die, failing to decode a riddle. Pericles who knew the truth but could not reveal it, had to seek refuge for his life. Truly “you fear the tyrant, who either by public war or private treason, will take away your life”.
In state craft there are official secrets that cannot be divulged without serious consequences. But despite such official secrets and the scheming of those who hold and wield power, like King Anthiochus, those who build their thrones and power on blood and tyranny usually die dusty death. Similarly, obedient end over-zealous servants of tyrants also end unhappily.
In 1977 in Government College, Hadejia, then in Kano State, there was an American teacher who became insane and was quickly sent back home. Only a few people knew his background and activities with the CIA before he came to Nigeria. The purpose of this flash-back is to make the point that power has a way of rubbishing those who mis-use it, at the end of the day.
Those deployed on special missions, from diplomats to security agents, need to go about their services with personal judgement and intuitive guidance, rather than serve like robots, in carrying out orders from above.
Democratic system of government developed as a better alternative to the abuses and tyranny of monarchs and absolute rulers. Unfortunately, democracy and its noble ideals and principles have also been abused in the modern era in some countries. Members of the armed and security forces have been known to be accomplices in the abuse of the ideals of democracy. Taking undue advantage of the ignorance of the masses, coupled with fear-complex, those who are supposed to protect the masses have become their tormentors.
Where allegations of infractions of the law by some elite are not suppressed, denied or glossed over, the process of investigations have been known to be compromised and in favour of those who wield power. Security agencies have been known to serve as ready means of intimidation of those who stand for the truth and as friends or defenders of the voiceless masses. Obedient and over-zealous servants of power-holders have been seen to abuse and mis-use their positions.
Such over-zealous servants have been known to act with such impunity which creates the impression that such officials are above the law. They also create the impression that they are under some diabolical influence, going about their services with some venom and sadism. Truly there are people who are possessed, in the sense that they are not themselves in what they do. There are situations where individuals expose themselves to invasion by external influences.
The mechanism of such invasion of the thinking and consciousness of individuals by external entities brings about some alternation in life-style as well as in perception. The phenomenon begins with hubris and bravado, especially under the cover and protection of official power. But the situation can graduate into more disturbing tendencies, hence ancient observers of the phenomenon would say that those whom the gods would destroy they first make mad.
Such slow mental aberration may become deep-rooted to the extent that it would take traumatic shock to up root it. Such catharsis comes in various ways and would affect abusers of power in ways that can make friends and sponsors discard them at critical moments. Ranging from political thugs, hired killers and kidnappers, to security operatives who serve abusers of power, many had ended up in mental hospitals.
A few investigated cases in the past 70 years indicate that some rarely known chemical substances played prominent roles in alternation of human consciousness. Some agents on His Majesty’s Service had been known to be programmed to commit suicide after some dirty jobs, so that some secrets are not revealed. A few who survived suicide, accidents and mental hospitals had left some sketchy records, quite scary.
One Cardinal Wolsey in the service of King Henry VIII had this to say: “Had I but served my God with half the zeal I served my king, he would not in mine age have left me naked to mine enemies”. Power is not only an aphrodisiac, it is also transient.
Dr. Amirize is a retired lecturer at the Rivers State University, PH.