IF one shall cast a superficial look at change as merely a mantra coming from one of the politicians, or one recent flow from neologism, then there is the need to bother less, saving the sweat for another day when there shall be expediency. There could be a different view if the mantra is coming from a political theorist. However, if one would look at it with the eagle’s eye, naming or describing it as a social philosophy, then it must come up and proclaim an intellectual content.
A social philosophy which is supposed to perform a historic function and thrill gigantic crowd of followership must have the instrumentality and properties that are of great necessity. It must be a mobilising force. I am to be thrilled by any issue which has intellectual content. Any piece of thought, writing, speech, or action which has no intellectual content is like a river whose biotic community is dead, or like a soup without salt. What makes an issue to have longevity of life is what can be seen as the magnetic force which has the capacity to produce reverberations.
If a lamp is made to produce light during a whole night, it must be sufficiently fuelled in order to last the period. If one must cause change of, and in the environment, either culturally, socially, or politically, one must first answer the questions relating to the faults of that environment before one goes to analyse the chronic cultural degeneration of the society. The environment is controlled by two powerful forces: The government is a micro group but powerful because it has the kinetic power whether active or latent.
The society is the macro group and it also has the finality of judgment and power, whether activated or latent. A latent power can be objectively evaluated and progressively reactivated for the common good or the wellbeing of the people of the country. If the fundamental answers can be adequately applied to some fundamental questions the nation may be there before the scowler’s rage. Without giving adequate intellectual descriptions to the two forces in the field of play, nothing can be changed. One must answer the question where we are now and where are we really heading to: the historical antecedents and a near infallible prognosis. Who are Nigerians, and how have they come to be here, probably around ninth century: What assistance that can be received from an anthropological research and evidence? If the two groups have no fault, then there is nothing to change. Independent critics who are operating, talking and writing from a plane of neutrality would have seen the faults of the government because everyone who is a member of the powered must have come from the society and, therefore, they are likely to be part of the gigantic structure which must change.
This micro but powerful group must willy-nilly divest itself of the cultural degeneration which has been imported from where it is coming. In the millennia of human history and struggles, it has not been possible to arrive at cultural conformism and internationalism because humans come from diverse ethnic, racial, and sociological origins. People must behave differently but the question on the ground is that they must behave according to the rule of the game.
The process of election as it is studied and known all over the world may not be able to identify and elect the one who is truly and thoroughly above board. It is likely to be over-bloated or insidiously hyperbolic if a human being is described as infallible because there is none. It is only a cultural revolution which can do that and that is for a while because a particular qualitative changes will inevitably always preparing its own negation through the on-coming social contradictions. For the purpose of this subject, the government can adopt fire fighting approach in the name and spirit of election promises and as it is able to do that, it would be drawing on a subterfuge before the people of Nigeria.
I want change to be seen as a true and well-founded social philosophy, and that is when it would continue to enlarge into the future. In that vein, I would not wish that it be derided as a Buhari ideology. It could come to the plane of a national ideology, more so as Nigeria has no ideology or philosophy. It is open-ended. Change has become a great necessity in human life to the extent that life becomes meaningless without change. People sleep and wake every day. Man struggles to achieve a feat yesterday, today, and will be so tomorrow. The same thing has been replicating itself for one century and man is bound to be tired and bored. There is a human conflict in the way of all what a man intends to achieve in Nigeria. There is corruption, wickedness and poverty everywhere. People ask questions every day: What kind of life is this? What type of society is this? What kind of rulers are these? And so on. One uncle was tired of life and he thought about death that it should come as early as possible. He called the coffin-sellers and bought the nice one and called on the bricklayers to prepare his grave and was made to his taste. After doing all that, including the clothes he would wish to wear to heaven, death refused to take him away. He would joke with me, death was a coward because when I was ready, it ran away.
The legendary Ahmadu Bello stated on Page 233 of his biography that: “As I drive along the roads and see the simple villagers in their farms, I see what lot there is to be done to raise the standard of these good people to what it should be. I see the men working in their farms with the same kind of hoes that their fathers and their grandfathers used before them; they are bent double over their work in the blazing sunshine and their wives and children come and help them. What can we do to make things easier?” What percentage of Nigerian agricultural lands is under mechanisation, electrification and automation? Nigerians are still being fed by the type of methodology which Ahmadu Bello mentioned in his biography. Change, in its horizontal and vertical equation, must go paripasu with the social and economic wellbeing of all the people. Many a time, one has to look at the correct attitude as being controlled by economics and the welfare of the people.
The colonial rulers in Nigeria wanted Chief Michael Imodu to see the beautiful flowers in the railway compound at that time in 1945, and Baba lmodu retorted that a hungry man cannot see flowers, more so, flowers are not part of the aesthetics of the black man.
Using a functional social philosophy to mobilise the society is entirely different to using force because the relevant approach is persuasion.
Government has been trying hard in the area of social amenities and the provisions of employment to the millions of school-leavers, but it should still continue the campaign more vigorously until many more are gainfully employed. Simultaneously, people must be mobilised in the name and for the real change. Change, therefore, becomes imperative in the interest of the people of the country.
- Osunbote, a social commentator, lives in Ibadan.