How to transform a state: a re-invention of political philosophy

by Emmanuel Omoh Esiemokhai

Progressive human thought have evolved new concepts of governance through the ages. To understand this thesis, we shall break human societies into epochs; the primitive societies, the feudal societies, the capitalist societies and the socialist societies. This clear demarcation of societal development lies at the heart of Marxian dialectics. It is understandable and can be felt.

Historically, every state has a ruling class and those, who are marginalized. This ingrained injustice in social inequality is the justified reason for revolutions and social dislocation of states in historical time.
A fleeting recollection that is simplified, will tell the story. In primitive societies, the herdsman, the strong village man took control because he was strong and was feared. He ruled autocratically and could not be successfully challenged, except by superior force.

Then societies produced many strong men, who ruled their clans. Many proclaimed themselves monarchs, princes and aristocrats. Since they could command obedience of their “subjects”, they ruled over them, collected taxes, first fruits and married the daughters of their ” subjects,” for the purpose of procreation and continuous rulership.

As a result of the inherent revolutionary instinct in man, the people did revolt against feudal rule. The feudal order has been sustained in many countries by religion and retrogressive monarchist sway.
In those states that overthrew their kings, a group of mercantilist noble men, soldiers, and politicians took over the governance of states in many European states. The later engaged themselves in colonialist adventures, pillaging other nations in distant zones and by so doing built up formidable fortunes.
Under the double impact of Marxist-Leninist-Maoist intellectual awakening, revolutionary Marxism created the intellectual platform for revolt against capitalism. This revolt has now proved successful in China, Russia and in some Latin American countries and in India.

The above sketch of the socio-economic evolution and revolutionary development of societies is not exhaustive but graphic. The decadence of one political system, often leads to radical transformation motivated by the instinct of self-preservation and national survival.

The Spirit of the nation imposes a dialectic and historical necessity to move the nation to a new and higher level of state organization. For transformation to be effective, it must be total.
Reformatory aspiration ends with a few corrections in state policies, but transformation is based on a well-rounded ideology that must have the capacity of creating a new citizen, a leadership cadre, armed with profound knowledge of state craft to direct the transformation.

The economic basis of Republicanism must be anchored on free enterprise, the indigenization of the commanding heights of the local economic ownership of the means of production, distribution and exchange. Regrettably, these are largely in the hands of absentee-owners of the Nigerian economy.
When a state is not in control of its means of production, distribution and exchange, how can it control and advance the transformation process? When a state relies on a mono-cultural, wasting asset, how can it plan for its people on a long term basis?

I accept the logic of the sentiment about the future greatness of Nigeria, but I am worried that there is an absence of the cadre that are important for transformation to take place.
The philosophic climate of speech writers’ opinion and the attendant jingles and repetition of the ideal could lead to irrationalism.

For a nation or state to be transformed, a vibrant political party must exist, whose cadre and the rank and file must be imbued with patriotism and altruism. These are the field officers, who should supervise the party political programme of transformation.

The President of a country cannot single-handedly transform a nation. All he can do is to ensure that the party’s manifesto is followed strictly and that his Ministers, Directors, Permanent Secretaries and the party officials, especially at the local government levels rigorously implement the party transformation agenda.

There is no evidence to show that the ruling party has a cadre of political activists at all levels that are adding value to federal governance.

What I have observed is that PDP members aspire to be given government appointments. Where they are not so lucky, they frown upon the party and either decamp or grow cold. Even former ministers and favoured party members do not show any concern for the party to succeed in governing the country except they hold official appointments.

This opportunistic stance is responsible for the poor performance of the party whether it adopted a seven-point agenda, or a transformation agenda.

The PDP Party Secretaries do not seem to have the necessary party ideological conviction, which should fire their patriotism to assist the party to implement its programme aspirations. It is all about money, favours and fortune-seeking. These do not make a great party or a great nation, in spite of radio jingles, hortatory pronouncements, favourable pro-government commentaries and retreats.
Primitive societies, feudal, societies, capitalist societies are man-made contrivances, which are run according to the dominant group’s whims and caprices, fortified by military force, the police and legislative props. Socialist societies have in the last twenty years, having successfully carried out proletarian revolutions , have applied economic determinism to frame the synthesis of economic progress as we see in China.

The strategy of the social revolution in China, did usher in a transformation of Chinese society from a colonized, partly feudal society to a leading economic and financial power that lends big capitalist states money as well as acquire their bonds.

The Vanguard of the Proletariat, the Chinese Communist Party is grappling with the problems of success. They are hopeful because their economy is relatively independent, they manufacture from pin to airplanes. They do feed their people, house them, educate them and give them medical support.
Anyone, who has monitored the development of a Bicycles-riding Chinese to owners of state-of the art cars driving Chinese, can easily understand the political importance of democratic centralism, as a formidable phenomenon that can effectively manage the successful transformation of society.
The greatest happiness principle is a measure of how the transformation agenda is progressing. The society and the government according to Locke have an enduring social contract. In governance, we must eliminate philosophical ambiguities, unattainable promises, vague postulations and political chicanery.

For all the turmoil and imperfections that characterize the history of Nigeria, there is a kind of political will by the people to tolerate their leader’s shortcoming in the hope that tomorrow will by better.
However, if government policies are merely simplistic and fanciful declarations, a sensitive people as we have in Nigeria, may snap.

In the contemporary world, governments that are going nowhere slowly, do meet with popular resistance. In the long history of governance, at no stage have the people become so manifestly impatient with bad governance and the circle of political mal-contents is widening.
It is not easy to estimate with certainty how much the transition to higher efficiency and transformation will cost and how we propose to finance the change. Should our resources be gulped by salaries and high emoluments, then we need to establish the Bank of the Holy Spirit. Our financial regime is unstable and immature.

Since no society is purely instinctive, we must work out national policies with full consultation with the people. Those, who are temporarily, strategically placed, should not wear the fading garb of omniscience. I wish we have a press that regula

rly challenges the pontifications of “leaders and dealers” that strut the Nigerian political space, with licentious utterances.
Voluntarisms, self-opinionated discourses, ranting by hare-brained protagonists, confuse and cause political dialogue to oscillate dangerously.

Is it not an act of thoughtlessness for the Nigerian press to start speculating on who will emerge as President of Nigeria in 2015, when there is need to help frame the jurisprudential synthesis to transform Nigeria. Of course, paid, hack writers have been commissioned to start inane and tendentious musings about 2015.

These purchasable libertines are laughable. How can one speak authoritatively about people, whose lives are not under your control? It is a downright pity that some journalists jog-trot Nigeria’s political affairs for profit.

When the Yar’Adua government proclaimed its Seven-point Agenda, the Nigerian press fell for it. They propagated the virtues of the agenda, without a disciplined analysis of its workability. It is with the same zeal that they are talking about the transformation agenda.

It is clear that the government has reiterated a philosophy which in effect it only half believed and professed implementation, which it only half practiced.

The core philosophy of the Yar’Adua agenda was a declaration of those democratic ideals of freedom, humane living, human rights, which benefited a single social class. Although he believed in socialist ideology and class struggle, he could not find ideologically inclined people in the PDP to push the politics of dialectical materialism. He could not confront the really dominant ethos of the individuals, who held the party and the nation under oppressive sway.

The same scenario can be witnessed in the present dispensation, in which a cacophony of influential party stalwarts must have their say and have their way. The influence is not intellectual, not ideological but belly-full aspirations.

As it was in ancient Greece, the Council of the Areopagus was the remnant of the aristocratic Senate, a group that insisted on privileges, homage, adoration and attention. They were garrulous, quarrelsome and disrupted the governance of Athens.

The Magistrates were tough and the civil servants were relatively upright. The weak culture of our judges and the old habits of our civil service portend a crippling effect on the transformation aspirations of the administration.

Announcements over the radio by government officials about futuristic proposals dampen the citizen’s enthusiasm, when they recall the 1980, 200, 2005, and 2010 promises of a Nirvana that never came about. These announcements sound escapist. Procrastination, they say is a lazy man’s apology.
The principal functions of government in the Era of Transformation is to announced accomplished projects as promised during the last elections, not set milestones of futuristic plans. There must that energy and enthusiasm to make new things happen and to make things succeed.

The man-hours put in by ministers on the job must increase. Awo maintained a sixteen-hour schedule. Ministerial laziness and the hours spent in receiving visitors and the time allocated for such favour-seeking visits must be controlled.

Transformation means a complete and total change of attitude to governance, which must essentially lead, say from political stagnation to progressive movement of society. In terms of socio-economic transformation, a society could move from dictatorship to democracy, from a corrupt system to a cleaner society, from indolent attitude to serious occupation of the mind. We have to reconcile nomalism with realism as suggested by Abelard.

The new state of political conditioning must work out diplomatic strategies to deal with non-conformists, political mal-contents, and listen to their arguments and offer superior convictions. The inability to deal humanely with the Niger Delta militants did cost Nigeria inexorably.
We cannot transform Nigeria, with a fraction of society at war with the state. Those, who advocate the use of force, must know that it is easier to destroy than to build. There will be ructions without end and nobody needs a state of disequilibrium, if we intend to move forward.

You may also like

1 comment

Kevi Daniel August 21, 2011 - 12:17 pm

An informative write-up.


Leave a Comment