By Kayode Ojewale

Truth is so obscure in these times, and falsehood so established, that, unless we love the truth, we cannot know it – Blaise Pascal (1623-1662), French Mathematician, Physicist and Philosopher.

WE live in a society where many embrace lies because they see those who speak the truth as odd and lone rangers. The few who tread the path of truth are usually not liked by the majority who do the opposite.

The society applauds a liar and condemns one who tells the truth. Most times people tend to believe lies easily even in the face of truth. We judge the truth as false and the false as true. Reason isn’t far-fetched; man has a natural tendency to be manipulative in order to serve his selfish interest or for a cover-up. Alone, odd and in isolation stands that man who speaks the truth.

Speakers of truth may be regarded as liars because the truth, sometimes might be strange to believe given what is generally acceptable and obtainable in the society today. In fact, our definition of truth may vary because the benchmark for complete or half-truth is subject to judgment by individual conscience. My yardstick for measuring truth may completely differ from another’s.

An individual, who for example, receives a credit alert that was mistakenly sent to him by a wrong person, says it’s blessing from God. He never deemed it fit to make attempt of getting to reach whoever had mistakenly sent the money in error through his bank.

To the person, his conscience tells him that he didn’t steal or defraud anyone. Yes, true, he hasn’t swindled anyone but then, he has taken possession of another man’s hard earned money or has made someone cry indirectly. What stands clear is that, truth remains true and lie is lie and half truth is false.

Falsehood isn’t limited to stealing only, insincerity and manipulation are also a good way falsehood manifests and thrives. Jumping to conclude on a matter without verifying the truth is a reflection of manipulative tendency as well. Opinions, on sensitive issues, which are capable of inciting others or causing division along religion, tribe or beliefs, must not be publicly commented on or shared via social media.

That the personnel of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority, LASTMA, are not liked by many is not strange or shocking. LASTMA is a traffic enforcement agency and as such it is not exempted from the hatred and dislike other law enforcement agencies experience. The lawless members of the public would naturally dislike law enforcers generally, so they resort to various ways of bringing them down by ill-speaking or via assault.

ALSO READ:

In a swift reaction, not too long ago, via a press release, the management of LASTMA debunked a piece written by an individual who claimed that some LASTMA personnel were seen sharing monies where he went for his driver’s licence at Oshodi some weeks ago.

Meanwhile, that did not happen within the premises of LASTMA, if it ever happened. And if that was true as alleged by the writer, the complaint and report should have been channeled through the appropriate route and source for confirmation before heading for the media platforms. The writer described that occurrence he witnessed as extortion.

I was in a Bus Rapid Transit, BRT, vehicle some weeks ago, when a motorcyclist rode recklessly on BRT corridor and he collided with another motorcyclist. If the BRT vehicle operator had not swerved to his right side, there would have been a serious accident.

A fatal head-on collision was averted just because the BRT driver was not speeding. Then a discussion ensued as many blamed the motorcyclist. It’s obvious that if the BRT had hit the motorcyclist, passersby would have attempted a mob action on the BRT driver or even destroy the government-owned transport bus falsely blaming the BRT operator.

Whenever an accident involving a BRT vehicle occurs on the dedicated corridor, there is a general wrong notion that it is the driver who is at fault, not the motorcyclist who in any case has no business being on the corridor. That way, falsehood is easily and quickly propagated.

 A recycled fake news story was once again dug out which alleged that Lagos State Governor, Mr. BabajideSanwo-Olu, said that the duty of LASTMA personnel is to manage traffic and not to arrest anyone.

The purported fake news usually surfaces online yearly and many join in spreading it every time. Those who recycle and spread this kind of fake news every year forget easily that the law that establishes LASTMA also empowers its personnel to enforce traffic laws and arrest traffic violators.

The purported fake news that surfaced online was quickly debunked by Mr.  Bolaji Oreagba, the General Manager of LASTMA. Mr. Oreagba stated categorically during a LASTMA Connect Programme on radio that the recycled news story is fake, misleading and mischievous. This also brings to the fore the damaging impact fake news can have on a society if not quickly curbed.

Of high importance is also the need for members of the motoring public to seek redress by following due process and appropriate channel whenever they feel their rights are being infringed on by LASTMA personnel. Taking to assault, blackmail and false claims on social media platforms wouldn’t be a proper avenue to get redress for grievances and proper reparation. LASTMA has various channels and social media platforms by which the general public can formally report complaints and express their grievances. So, such avenues should be made use of.

In our society today, values have eroded and the conscience, dead. So, the sense of judging fairly or rightly is missing in virtually every sane person. Only a few stand by and defend the truth. The truth may never triumph if everyone keeps spreading false news. It is better to keep an unconfirmed news story to oneself or maintain an objective view rather than spreading it. We must all work unperturbedly to ensure that truth prevails always.

Promoting or degrading falsehood in the society would be strongly determined by our individual actions. We degrade falsehood and promote the truth when we choose to deliberately and conscientiously speak the truth always. Until we love the truth and begin to practice it, we may never enjoy the fruits it bears.

Ojewale is of the Public Affairs and Enlightenment Department of LASTMA and wrote via kayodeojewale@gmail.com

Vanguard News Nigeria

Disclaimer

Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.