On October 26, 2008, we attended the Family Worship Church in Abuja. The Senior Pastor preached a revolutionary sermon about both the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Man in Nigeria. When we got back home, I read Dr. Tunji Braithwaite’s treatise on the need for revolution in Nigeria.
I propose, in this essay, provoked by his thoughts, to take national and global views on the subject.
I have known Dr. Tunji Braithwaite for over thirty years. As political associates since 1978, I attest and aver that he has been consistent and passionate on the need for socialist revolution in Nigeria. He has used his personal funds to advance this cause.
He visited me and Ife University students often in the early 1980s to articulate his ideas, with clarity and passion. The Leader, as he is popularly called by rank and file NAP politicians, Tunji has remained tenacious and unflinching in his crusade for a better society in Nigeria. He coined the “rats and mosquitoes” metaphor, to describe the looting class. This class has now developed into a wolves and vultures super class, which is irredeemably damned.
The history of the Nigerian Advance Party is being documented for posterity. There are, however, serious impediments to revolution in Nigeria. Ignorance among the populace holds the aces. There is little popular consciousness among the suffering masses, whose minds have been conditioned and premed to accept that the thieving politicians are the lucky ones and that that is the way things are made to be. So, all they can do is to seek after their favour and fortune, with humiliating groveling as their operational tool.
At the level of the educated elite, the Oxbridge ideology holds sway that financial success by hook or crook is the acceptable norm. This is why they have aided and abetted a civil service hedonistic culture of corruption, Western style. The Oxbridge ridiculed socialist ideology and collaborated with British intelligence to hound those who they thought stood in the way of their continued relevance in the Nigerian political space.
However, “the twentieth century showed how powerful political ideologies could be “Tony Blair. (August, 2005). Socialist China has become the manufacturing center of the world. The state became independent in 1949 and Nigeria received her mandate in 1960. How far have we come?
Last week, desperation and the crisis in the capitalist economic system threw forty- three Western governments and others into the sympathetic arms of the Chinese Communist state, a very humbling experience. Has China suddenly become a democratic state? What of human rights? What of religious intolerance? What happened to the pre-Olympic, Tibetan protests? What was Angela Merkel doing in Beijing after boycotting the Olympics because they fell within her holiday’s period?
Expediency is paramount in international political economic considerations not anti-Communist ideological musings. Have we learnt anything?
The Oxbridge group that has serviced the Nigerian state has only catered for its own. They provided the military governments with harsh and wicked laws, which provided dictatorial regimes with the peace and quiet that enabled such governments to trample on the peoples’ rights of dissent. Nigeria has remained unsettled as a result.
Nigeria embraced capitalism, but only the crude form of it, which promoted primitive accumulation of national wealth for self and family. A topology of “rich Nigerians” clearly marks out wealth traceable to direct stealing of national wealth or doing so in collaboration with strategically placed compatriots. Now, a new pattern of stealing national wealth is the legal award of outrageously and incomprehensible remunerations to the top echelon of public masters.
This has disorganized and demoralized the citizenry. There now exists in the Nigerian political economy, unequal exchange in which urchins buy expensive jeeps and homes they cannot appreciate, being individuals, with neither learning nor sophistication.
The “proposition that all men are created equal” Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865), can no longer hold in the Nigerian societal arrangement. This is why the call for revolution, an austere declaration, cannot no longer be frowned upon, with any seriousness.
Happily, in recent years, mutilated by a primitive political dispensation of the last decade, “the general political level of the people has been considerably raised and they are now more conscious of their strength. Action has become the language of the day,” (Nelson Mandela, 1918–). In both the churches and civil society, people are saying, “Let freedom ring…”Rev Martin Luther King. (1929-1968)
Other impediments are tribalism, irredentism, corruption, institutionalized injustices, and favouritism among other indubitable wrongs prevalent in the Nigerian society. Nigeria is a sociologically mal-functioning, elastic-fatigued entity, made up of many good social humans, but, some have been turned into miscreants, hooligans and social misfits by the irreverent actions of some of their political leaders, since 1960.
In spite of the increasing preponderance of evil behaviour, there are millions of Nigerians, who live by high ideals, hope and they have strong faith in GOD, the Father.
We know from our studies of physics that when steel is stressed beyond the elastic limit, it becomes plastically deformed and beyond this, a small stress will cause a plastic change. Nigeria has reached a situation, where “the people can no longer live according to the old way” and if the system cannot address their state of siege, a revolutionary situation would persist.
The most vexatious political issue now causing maximum discontent is the inexplicable, profligate salaries and allowances of our law-makers. My last visit to the National Assembly made me sad. After listening to inelegantly crafted speeches and hare-brained disputations, I left wondering how some of the law-makers qualify to earn millions in undeserved emoluments. It is annoying!
This is in a state where, I have not received my terminal benefits three years after disengagement. I was recently informed by the Registrar of Obafemi Awolowo University, where I taught law for twenty-seven years that I have been promoted and that this was to take effect from 1994! Who knows how long it will take for me to collect the arrears?
In Nigeria, where “Dishonesty is the best policy”, contractors are not paid for years, police officers and military retirees and other pensioners are subjected to indignities before they get their entitlements. This has caused many to regret that they did not make hay while the sun shined. Such a nation richly deserves to have deep reflections.
The revolution must start first in our consciousness before we assemble behind the barricades. The revolution refrain must not be subject to enigma variations, so that it does not become an operatic, enharmonic modulation.
The American, French, Russian and Chinese revolutions grew out of extreme frustrations and desperation. The simmering Second World revolution, caused by the world economic crisis is being watched with panic and trepidation. The financial melt-down is real and it is cascading.
With obvious defeat at the polls facing the Republican party of the United States of America, their ideologues have accused the Democratic presidential candidate, Barack Obama, of proposing socialist change. The verdict of the people will be an indication whether a Socialist America is on the horizon.
Workers of the World unite!