My last article drew quite a number of remarks as expected. All of them nuanced to degrees that illustrate the variety of our collective psyche as a people. One thing I can definitely say is that whether by choice or circumstance, Nigerians are getting more and more involved in their politics…the passion is palpable. From the vociferous arm chair critics emboldened by the pseudo-anonymity and reach that social media provides to those who are actually out there in the trenches getting dirty, this generation is certainly very involved.
However, I must pause to note something fundamental. My last article wasn’t really about politics. It was about whether or not the Nigerian political system (or any nation’s for that matter) was a sturdy enough foundation to bear the weight of real national transformation. My interest is not primarily about the intrigues and intricacies that weave into the tapestry of our polity, my sights are set on something much grander. I will again attempt to articulate this and perhaps try to progress with my thoughts.
I read somewhere a statement by our current Minister of Solid Minerals, Kayode Fayemi and he said “There is no perfect policy”. This is perhaps one of the strongest demonstrations of intellectual candour by a Nigerian politician I’ve personally witnessed. Capitalism, Socialism, Communism, Nazism, Fascism, Catholicism, Protestantism, Buddhism…I could keep going; they all represent some attempt by men to make sense of the world around them. The ebb and flow of life since the history of man has been marked by one ism or the other. The fact that there are so many aligns with Mr. Fayemi’s comment that no single one of these holds the key to nirvana and should make us ask ourselves a lot of questions.
The problem for example with Nazi Germany was not necessarily the ideology itself, Adolph or the Gestapo. The issue for me is what kind of system allows the evolution of thought that culminates in the slaughter of millions of innocent humans? To bring this closer to home, whether PDP or APC or any other three-lettered acronym that may please the reader; what kind of system produces the kind of people who have successively depleted our commonwealth with such audacity? What kind of system throws up Jonathan and Buhari as the 2 front-runners in a presidential election? A well-intentioned weakling and a somewhat reformed septuagenarian autocrat? In a nation of 180 million people?
This is the source of my angst! Our nation is a smorgasbord of every kind of ism available under the sun…largely due to our often mindless adoption (translation: shameless ‘copy-catting’) of ideas around the world. Yet it remains a truly dysfunctional society. For example, if RCCG, NASFAT, Christ Embassy and Deeper Life all decided to hold a Friday meeting at their various ‘camp grounds’ the city of Lagos for instance would be near empty! Fast-forward to Monday morning and these hallowed grounds would spew their vermin back onto the city streets to continue to spread their poison. I can’t be the only one who thinks there is something wrong here.
Hence my initial question…what if systems (educational, religious, political etc.) don’t work? What then do we do? How do we sincerely address the problems of our society? By now, it should be evident that my question has existential underpinnings so, it can’t be an easy one to answer. In my next post, I will attempt to answer this question the way I see it. Until then think about it…what do the most successful governments, organizations and individuals have in common?
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