PATH TO NIGERIAN GREATNESS: On the campaign trail Charter of stability and progress*

Continued from last week

I want to seize this opportunity to pay public tribute to our devoted and indomitable pioneers — Chief M. A. Ajasin, Professor Ambrose AlIi, Mr. Bola Ige, Alhaji Lateef Jakande, and Chief Bisi Onabanjo – for embarking with admirable and commendable speed on the implementation of our Party’s four cardinal programmes. In all the five States of Bendel. Lagos, Ogun; Ondo and Oyo, education is now free at all levels. Anyone who has God’s Grace, as I thankfully have, to move freely in any part of these States will see the exuberant cheer and ineffable gratitude to God and the UPN with which the people salute the fulfilment of our election promises.


Archbishop Okogie’s Stand on Education

One of the programmes — the educational programme — has attracted a good deal of thoughtless and inebriate criticisms from quarters which are traditionally opposed to any party to which I may belong, and ‘hence to the best interests of the masses of our people. In this blind and insensate campaign, Archbishop Okogie blazed the trail. He would have us take care of the health of the people first before ever thinking of their education. In addition, he would like private schools – the existence of which emphasizes the division of our society into classes – to continue.

In other words, what Archbishop Okogie, who in his capacity is looked upon as a divine exemplar, wants is that our Governments should care for the body of man and neglect his mind. He also wants them to continue a system which emphasizes class discrimination. His contentions are neither Christian nor Godly. They are brazenly partisan and hypocritical.

Our programmes have been designed to cater for the education and health of our people at the same time. So that neither the nurture of the body nor the garnishing of the mind is neglected at any stage or at any time. Our education programme includes plans for the adequate turn-outs of highly qualified teachers, and for considerable improvement in the salaries and conditions of service of teachers, so that as a result, the standard and quality of teaching in all our schools may be enhanced.

Unlike Archbishop Okogie, we believe in mens sana in corpore san0, not in mens obtusa in corpore sano. The Christian ontology, which I personally believe to be the correct ontology, is set out in Genesis, Chapter 1, Verses 26 to. 28 and Chapter 2, Verse 7. I quote these passages from the New American Bible, Catholic Version, as follows:

Then God said: “Let us make man in our image,

after our likeness. Let them have dominion over

the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and the cattle,

and over all the wild animals and all the creatures

that crawl on the ground.”

God created him; male and female he created them

God blessed them, saying:

“Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth

and subdue it. Have dominion over the fish of the

sea, the birds of the air and all the living things

that move on the earth.” (Chapter 1 verses 26 to 28)

The Lord God formed man out of the clay of the

ground and blew into his nostrils the breath of life,

and so man became a living being. (Chapter 2, verse 7).

Now, the question Archbishop Okogie has to is this: Which part of man is the image of God which enables him to have dominion over the earth (and in future over the moon and stars), or which enables him, in the’ words of Revds. Jamieson, Fausset and Brown in their Commentary on the Whole Bible “to he God’s representative clothed with authority and rule as visible head and monarch of the world?”. Is it his body which is ordinary clay, and which, no matter what amount of care you give to it, can never make him as strong and powerful as an ordinary dog not to talk of a lion, tiger, or elephant, over all of which he is monarch and has dominion?

Man is a manifestation of three phenomena. The first is the soul which is the indwelling God. The second is the subjective mind which is the seat of man’s reasoning facility. The third is the objective mind which can see, hear, smell touch, and taste but cannot comprehend what it sees, hears, smells, touches and tastes without the reasoning and interpretative aids of the subjective mind.  Man’s Soul being the same in quality as God Himself is invisible, intangible, and imperceptible. By itself it does nothing directly save through the intervention of the subjective mind which in turn uses the objective mind — that is the body of man — as an instrument for data collection, and the accomplishment of visible and tangible objects.

It can be seen from this brief exposition that man exhibits the image of God when his mind is cultured, and is functioning at an optimal level. The more cultured his mind, the more he exhibits that image. There are many instances in human history where man exhibited the image of God, though his body was not functioning at its best. Robert Louis Stevenson, Milton, and Beethoven are cases in point.

Furthermore, we of the UPN believe in social integration, especially in schools, not in discrimination or apartheid reminiscent of the ungodly practices in some parts of the United States and in South Africa.

Concerning Archbishop Okogie’s inspired attacks on Tai Solarin, I will only refer to two biblical quotations also from the New American Bible, Catholic Version.

The first is an excerpt from the illuminating dialogue between Jesus Christ and the Samaritan woman:

“Sir,” answered the woman: “I can see you are a prophet. Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but your people claim that Jerusalem is the place where men ought to. worship God.” Jesus told her: “Believe me, woman, an hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You people worship what you do not understand, while we understand what we worship… Yet an hour is coming; and is a ready here, when authentic worshipers will worship the Father in Spirit and in truth. Indeed it is just such worshipers the Father seeks. God is Spirit, and those who worship him must worship in Spirit and truth.” (John 4, Verses 19 to 24)

To be continued