It is a pleasure to be back again after a short break. It would have been nice to address each of you by name. We have come along long enough to have broken the ice of formality and be able to address each other by our first names. Come to think of it, we already have a common name. Hello Andrew! Andrew was supposed to be a derogatory name coined eighteen years ago as part of the propaganda materials to discourage Nigerians from checking out of Nigeria. It became a term for all the good folks that had the common sense to check out of Nigeria when the economic, social and political vandals arrived on the national scene. Dear folks, you need no longer be ashamed of what you had to do to escape the great inferno that engulfed Nigeria for almost two decades. As we said in our first letter, each of you was a chosen one among your family and community for a great assignment. The question is still hanging in the air and it is only you who can find the answer. The question is to ask why did heaven set me apart from the crowd?
The last letter we wrote before the deliberate break in communication was written about three months ago. In that letter we called for a break in transmission to allow each of us enough time to digest properly the contents of the four letters. From personal experience we understand that unless most essays are given a second or third reading, the essence of the messages being conveyed often times elude the first time reader. The letters to the NIDs (Nigerians in the Diaspora) contain very deep issues to which a cursory reading will fail to do justice to the goal of clarity of purpose and of attaining a full comprehension of the discourses.
During the three months absence, we took the opportunity to write letters to the Youth of Nigeria, to the Religious Leaders of Nigeria and to the totality of Fellow Nigerians. The theme and tune of the messages were the same – equality, justice and freedom – but they were rendered in different wavelengths to suite a particular audience in focus. Each of the groups of Nigerians we wrote to are equally essential to the project of the social revolution of Nigeria to which this writer is fully committed. However, the stars of this revolution are the Nigerians in the Diaspora. Most of you are not aware of this at the moment and that is why this writer shall not relent in his effort until the message is heard and understood by every Nigerian in the Diaspora.In this letter we intend to draw your attention to the common-sense concept and meaning of Social Revolution. We shall try to learn from the lesson of history as we engage on some brief historical excursions of major revolutions that have made tremendous differences to our world. We shall be borrowing from the inspired reflections of some key figures that utilised simple ideas to transform their little world, as well as the larger world and in turn the world as we know it today. It is obvious that without the singular effort of these revolutionary figures, maybe our world might have perished under the yoke of injustice and beastly riotous living. Without the well-informed ideas these thinkers bestowed to the world maybe humanity would still be consigned to the primitive ape-like stage of existence. And without the liberating philosophies propounded by these unique individuals, maybe the war of every man against every other man would have permanently disabled humanity physically and ps ychologically without redemption.
UNDERSTANDING SOCIAL REVOLUTION
The Oxford English Reference Dictionary defines revolution as a) forcible overthrow of a government or social order; b) any fundamental change or reversal of conditions; c) revolving; d) a single completion of an orbit or rotation; and e) cyclic recurrence. In making a choice out of the five definitions, this writer elects to pick the second definition of revolution that says ‘any fundamental change or reversal of conditions’. We understand that since the American Revolution of 1776 overthrew through armed conflict the British colonial power in America, that revolution has become synonymous with the ‘forcible overthrow of a government’. History has recorded among many others the bloody French Revolution of 1789, the abortive bloody European Revolution of 1848, the exceptionally bloody Russian Revolution of 1905 and the Chinese Republican Revolution of 1911. This writer has no intention or desire whatsoever to encourage anyone to get involved in the business, either bloody or peaceful, of overthrowing any government. But we are very much interested in the ‘fundamental change or reversal of conditions’ of the present social order in Nigeria.
A social order is defined as ‘the stable patterns of social expectations and social structure that exist in a society’. It is the existing social, political and economic arrangements of a society. It is also the intricate interrelationships of peoples, things and values that either evolved over the years or was deliberately established by members of the society. A stable social order does not necessarily imply a perfect arrangement. Stability of a social order can be achieved by tyrannical rule using sadistic forces of oppression. A social order can be sustained by brutally silencing the voices of dissent and opposition or by establishing a regime of fear and suspicion among the people. It can be judiciously but unfairly maintained by seizing and padlocking the fundamental rights of the people to freedom, equality and justice or by maliciously killing the spirit of trust and of humane brotherhood in the polity. The present social order in Nigeria has a large proportion of these factors in its development and maintenance. That this social order has gone on for 88 godless years does not make it right. This writer feels the time to change it is now and that the host of NIDs shall be the vanguard of this momentous project of fundamental change.
The present social order in Nigeria is nauseating and is terribly sickening to every thinking observer. It is a condition that shall forever be injurious to the social, economic and political health of the peoples of Nigeria until a revolution can be made out of it. This is the reasoning behind the project of a Social Revolution for Nigeria. The kind of social revolution we are proposing is the processes and the actual acts of turning the societies of Nigeria downside-up. We are of the opinion that the present social condition of Nigeria is upside-down. It is an abnormal state of affair. It is like a clock running anti-clockwise against the logic of the technology of watches. Our societies are functioning abnormally contrary to all the natural laws and noble philosophical teachings. The social revolution we are proposing shall entail the outright changing of the present premises and directions of our social values and in turn the character of the social, political and economic orientations of the society. It is a project for rewriting the fundamental social objectives of the Nigerian societies. It is a project that shall re-engage the people of Nigeria along a perfectly new direction in the pursuit of the cherished, seasoned and reasoned objectives of Utopia or Paradise. And it is a project that has as one of its goals the continuous positive encouragement of Nigerians to willingly and creatively participate in the establishment of the Kingdom of God in Nigeria.
The first recorded revolution in the history of the world is found in the Hebrew Book of Genesis. It is the story of the divine revolution of creation, particularly of the creation of mankind. The Genesis story recorded that a being called God had a brilliant idea after the creation of all other living things and non-living things had been completed. The story said God broached this unusual idea as a mission statement to his/her listeners. The writer of Genesis recorded that God said ‘Let us make man in our image according to our likeness’. We are not debating the authenticity of the Genesis chronicler or whether indeed it is true he/she heard God spoke and in what language. But we love the story for the lesson it teaches on the processes by which revolutionary ideas are conceived, shared or communicated to others for support and implementation.
Drawing our inferences from the nature of mankind we believe the audience – the original copy of man – must have been taken aback with surprise written all over their formless frames, just in case they have no faces. They would have debated and argued for and against this kind of preposterous idea. ‘What are you suggesting?’ They would have asked. ‘Are you trying to destabilise the perfect equilibrium of life on earth?’ ‘Can’t you see what the objective would entail and the probable consequences it might bring to life on planet earth and even to the universe?’ ‘Don’t you think we should tread carefully or else we might found ourselves unintentionally becoming the destroyer of life on earth?’ The debate and the argument might have gone on for ages and for many millennia. However, since humanity exists the unusual revolutionary idea must have won the day.
Since then, every revolution has always started from simple ideas of changing something from one level of existence to another level. Since mankind is made as a Xerox copy of God, it should be expected that our nature would also be a carbon copy of the God or Gods that duplicated themselves. Therefore, mankind must also have the proclivity or tendency to suffer from idealistic brain-waves from time to time; to dream big and unusual dreams; to desire to create something new or to fashion old materials into something different; to change from point A to point B in the eternal cycle of existence; and to experiment playfully and purposefully with the available raw materials on earth.
The story of creation is one of the most beautiful renditions in a long line of fascinating ancient fabulous, mystical, archaeological and anthropological investigations on the probable origin of mankind. The Biblical writers were brilliant in the way they used allegories and mystical tales to educate the world about the very beginning. It is a literary example of codification of facts at a very high cerebral level. The short story of creation, rendered in an every day language, was elegantly wrapped together with strings of deep spiritual undertones. However, whether the host of humanity actually understands the core messages the Biblical writers were trying to convey is another matter entirely.
The path of human history is adorned with the carcasses of endless list of revolutionary thinkers, dreamers and performers. Men and women that intuitively realised there was a need to change the level of human existence from a lower level of mediocrity to a higher level of excellence. Exceptionally talented and reflective individuals that desire to move humanity away from a physical state of human pygmies to a spiritual state of human giants. Far-sighted visionaries that desire to refashion the mind of mankind from a brutish state of man to the perfect state of God. Spiritual healers motivated by love and who desire to cure the perilous warring state of evil in man as they rebuild and remould the human personality into a peaceful and harmonious state of godliness. And spiritually enlightened persons that desire to wean mankind away from the state of raw ego-centred nature to the noble state of refined selfless civilisation.
We can never fully understand the present state of human affairs unless we revisit the contributions of the revolutionary philosophers and thinkers that have graced our world in the distant and not so distant past. There are very many of them, some celebrated and some not so renowned but each of these remarkable people have chipped in some valuable contributions to the progress of mankind. This writer will only mention those that he discovered personally in his search for the meaning of life.