Nigeria Matters

The Shame Of A Nation

One of the epic books of David Horowitz titled, “The Professors: the 101 most dangerous Academics in America”, is a book laced and strewed with mind-blowing political expressions. The expressions and comments are seen by the author as inflammatory and no wonder he classifies and sees these intellectuals as dangerous to the American establishment. The book was published in the USA by Regnery incorporated, Washington in 2006.

In the book, the author takes a sample of 101 academics and tries to paint a delinquent picture of them. According to the self-judge author, these people are teaching what they are not supposed to teach. They are self professed Marxists, theoretical radicals, Moslem fundamentalists, racists, communists and haters of virtually anything American, especially its foreign policies. Their targets, are the American students and their safe havens, are the American universities, where they are busy radicalising, propagating and advocating revolutionary violence and inducing disorder. They, perhaps, think that their actions will help to create a state of disequilibrium in America and perhaps hasten the demise of the capitalist establishment. But knowing the nature of America, its evolution and class composition, that ambition looks like a tall order.

The author in his book, opines that these 101 dangerous intellectuals, have turned the centres of lectures, excellence, research and academic inquiry, into theatres of radical political activism. He submits that they teach hatred in the form of resistance against racial discrimination and that they try hard to remind Blacks of their place in American history by playing the slave trade card. He argues that some of these lecturers always take a hard stand on the country’s domestic policies by their consistencies in unmasking the internal contradictions inherent in the American capitalist system. They condemn the prevailing poverty in God’s own country in the midst of billions of dollars that are being expended on the prosecution of what they called the unjust Iraq war. Interestingly enough, they justify the 9/11 attack and other attacks on the USA, by putting the blame at the doorstep of the country’s partial foreign policies in the middle East and its double standards in world affairs.

The writer believes, rightly or wrongly, that since the demise of communism in the former Soviet Union and China, the alternative left for these unrepentant Marxists and radicals, who are presumed to be living on borrowed times, is to shift their energy to the universities where they teach courses that they presume will help re-energise socialism and re-position communism. Their modus operandi is to reinstate and reinvigorate in the students and, by extension, the working class, the fast fading revolutionary consciousness and praxis. They sharply denounce the Iraq war, objectively linking it to the lust for cheap crude oil and imperial domination; they re-emphasize the accumulation of profits by large corporations, at the expense of the working class, and the sharing of fat bonuses by their chief Executives, Managing directors and Directors. They logically dissect the American economy and lay bare it hidden class agenda, unveiling all its facades. They tore the American media to shreds and accuse them of “manufacturing consent” and presenting such, as the people’s consent. They condemn the pattern of media ownership and control in America, and its glaring bias and lack of objectivity in reportage.

The book contains abridged speeches and quotes from lectures and seminar papers delivered by the lecturers. Who then, are these 101 lecturers in the American universities? What makes them tick in the US academia? Why can’t the authorities ‘arrest’, control or curtail them, for teaching what they are not supposed to teach? Who defines what is to be taught and not to be taught in American universities or any university? Well, I would have loved to analyse six of those professors but for space. They are: Ward Churchill, of Colorado university; Noam Chomsky, of Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Kathleen Cleaver, of Emory University; Marc Ellis, of Baylor university; Joe Feagin, of Texas A & M university and Amiri Baraka, of Rutgers university, Stony Brook.

Having read the book, I came to the conclusion that these are men and women of letters-conscious literati-with sound ideological disposition. They know what capitalist exploitation is and its modus operandi, no matter its guise and disguises. They understand social justice and injustice, equality and inequality, engrained racism, international double standards in diplomatic cycles, terrorism and the real “axis of evil“. They are not Fela’s “Mr. Follow, Follow”. No! They are professors with enormous conscience and authority in their fields of intellectual endeavour. Like the late Fela, rightly pointed out, when you read a book, you either leave what the book says and “go your way” or you apply “your sense” to what you have read. These lecturers have chosen to use their senses and they do so in the most perfect order. Their deep understanding and analyses, especially Noam Chomsky, of the exploitation of the capitalist system, the fake global promotion of democracy by America and its imperial expansion, are unparalleled.

In Nigeria of 1984, during the regime of Buhari and the late Idiagbon, the same insinuation came up that some lecturers in Nigerian universities, are teaching what “they are not supposed to teach“. They were found in the social sciences, namely, Sociology, Political science, economics and, sometimes in areas of critical literature and the theatre Arts. It was then rumoured that some of these lecturers have been pencilled down for the sack and were being closely watched. These were Professors Esko Toyo {Unical}, Omafume Onoge {Unijos}, Bode Onimode {U.I}, Festus Iyayi {Uniben}, Patrick Wilmot {ABU, later deported by Babaginda} and some other fiery lecturers in {Unife} now Obafemi Awolowo university.

Granted that universities are meant for research and inquiry, however, over the years, a lot of global developments have really taken place that has helped to transform those functions. There is injustice within countries and between countries, exploitation of the working class, dictatorships, glaring poverty, racism, a yearning and criminal gap between the rich and the poor, especially in third world countries, variant forms of terrorisms, wars and rumours of wars, the spread of fear, evil and wickedness, the quest for crude oil in whatever format, clashes of culture, sickening Nigerian brand of corruption, primitive accumulation, conspicuous consumption, cultism, ritual killings and electoral malpractices etc. Thus, in any social setting, especially unjust social settings, lecturers are expected to evolve and transform themselves to fit into that setting. They cannot act differently otherwise they would be seen as part of an unjust establishment. Like the Chinese would wont to say; if in an unjust system, you chose to remain indifferent, then you are partial. You cannot absolve yourself from a cruel system by remaining indifferent. Put in a sharper perspective, you cannot be said to be enjoying freedom when a vast majority is living in serious misery, penury, and economic bondage.

However, within the ambit of academic tradition, is academic freedom. These are the freedom of choice, of expression and of association. Thus lecturers are divided into two, namely, intellectuals of the oppressed and intellectuals of the oppressors. While some others are neither here nor there. Socially too, researches and their results are meant to help societies move forward. Lecturers don’t research in a vacuum neither are they apolitical. They are concrete human beings like you and I, with feelings, dreams, and concrete economic need and aspirations. They live with us and go through the hassles of life like any other being. They may be special breeds in terms of their intellect, but they are not remote-controlled and programmed automatons. They can act and react. Therefore, if the level of your education {research and development}, cannot help to improve humanity, then your education is a farce.

In the June 12th, 1993 election, Professor Humphrey Nwosu {a political scientist} propounded the theory of OPTION A4 electoral voting system, he perfected it in his head and applied it to Nigeria and its electorates. He had taken a hard look into the failings of our past electoral malfeasances and intelligently grafted out option A4. The theory worked perfectly well by practically producing an election that was devoid of any acrimony. He produced the best election ever conducted in Nigeria‘s chequered history. That election was annulled, and the winner Chief {MKO Abiola} was never sworn in. The man died. He died not in the comfort of his home, but in detention. He was detained for winning that election and for daring to try and claim it. Now, as one of the participant observers in that excellent election, I had recommended it for our future elections in my article entitled; ELECTIONS IN NIGERIA: A CASE FOR OPTION A4, published in NVS of 26th March 2008. And, I will continue to recommend it until there is a better alternative to it.

In the April 2007 elections, Professor Maurice Iwu {a pharmacist} propounded the theory of ELECTRONIC VOTING. He also grafted the theory, not from our own Nigerian environment, but from the advanced western democracies. The theory was not only a flop but was found practically wanting in all areas. The election was a monumental failure. That election was not annulled, the purported winner was sworn in. Today, the courts are having a field day cancelling or questioning most of the results and, Prof. Iwu is sitting aplomb in the INEC office like a philosopher-king, bringing shame and ridicule to us and to his office. I had always thought that professors are honourable personalities but Iwu seems to have proved the contrary. There are professors and there are ‘professors’. Can some one please tell me what Maurice Iwu is still professing at the INEC? I am really shocked by this man’s vaulting ambition. So it is true, Says William Wilberforce, that “interest can draw a film over the eyes so thick that even blindness itself can do no harm.” Maurice Iwu’s interest has so blindfolded him that he finds it difficult to see the thick coatings over his eyes and just resign! What a Nation of nationalities! Nigeria will, one day, be destroyed by its own self-generating and recurring contradictions. Just one day! I rest my case!

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