Quick one about the power of words

In the 1963 movie, Cleopatra, there was an interesting dialogue between Mark Anthony and Octavian, the man who would later become Augustus Caesar, the first emperor of Rome. Standing outside the Senate just after the birth of Caesarion, Julius Caesar’s son with Egyptian Queen Cleopatra was born, the following ensued:

Mark Antony: “You were so shut at the mouth just now one would think your words were are precious to you as your gold.”

Octavian: “Like my gold, I use them where they are worth most.”

During the 19 years he was chairman of the US Federal Reserve, Alan Greenspan did not give any interviews. Having taken over from the inflation-busting Paul Volcker, Mr Greenspan knew that his words from his position carried weight and so had to be used very sparingly.

This is the basis of my OpEd in BusinessDay NG today and the above chart which was published by SBM Intelligence last week. Contrary to the disingenuous argument pursued by various defenders of Nigeria’s current regime, private citizens talking about the nonsense happening in our country on social media does negligible damage. The real damage is done by the words of those in authority, and it is clear that both President Buhari and CBN Governor Emefiele have damaged Nigeria perhaps beyond repair, with what can only be classified as maliciously careless talk.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Cheta Nwanze

Cheta Nwanze

Using big data to understand West Africa one country (or is it region?) at a time.