It’s complete scam to assert that the problem with Nigeria is leadership, says EgoAlowes
While many blame Africa and Nigeria’s poor development strides on leadership, a new scholarship posits otherwise. With his new book, Corruption in Africa: Resolution through New Diagnosis, Jimanze EgoAlowes argues that the failure of forward-thinking scholarship rather than leadership is what has left Nigeria behind. he also argues that corruption is a mere manifestation of the poor power architecture on offer in Nigeria and Africa. Excerpts:
WHAT do you say is wrong with APC and Gen. Mohammadu Buhari’s conception of corruption and how to fight it?
First of all let us make some clarification. My new book Corruption in Africa: Resolution through New Diagnosis is not so much a castigation of politics and politicians as it is a condemnation of our practice, if any, of scholarship. Our central concern is on the state of new knowledge production in Nigeria. If any single Nigerian enterprise sector has crashed, perhaps irredeemably, it is her knowledge industry.
And that is quite unfortunate beyond words. This is singularly because new knowledge production is the basis of all other industries, all other prosperities.
In fact, it is a complete scam to assert that the problem with Nigeria is with leadership. Just ask the activist who ignorantly asserts that, what new knowledge he has contributed to the Nigerian project and the answer is none. Yet he wants to be leader. So, how can you lead the nation in the darkness of your ignorance?
These men apparently forget that before the man of action, the leader, there must be the thought, the thinker. And that thought is the foundation on which all others are built. The Toyota ad line says it best: Good thinking, good product.
Now, and this is important, every reality, for example, the Nigerian state, can be as useful, as productive, as prosperous only to the extent her scholars understand, penetrate, and master that reality. That is, to the extent they are able to think the Nigeria reality out and through. A nation, as any other creation, is limited within the boundaries of her foundational designs. And design is the work of scholars not leaders. It is our wrong reading of history that made many think leaders founded states. It never quite so happened. Leaders are symbols of a state of thinking, its best presentations, not founders. The state of America, even if not the nation of America, to use a modern example, was founded by European thinkers. What the so-called founding fathers did was sheer carpentry work. They just gathered and hammered together bits and pieces of the works and thoughts of their superiors, of which the philosopher, John Locke, is perhaps the most preeminent.
Now, we must come to knowledge that all the works of Plato, Newton, Marxwell, Marx, Moses were attempts to establish, unveil, penetrate reality and subjugate it, literally to control and master the forces of the universe. That is the essential work that must be done or we are damned. Our scholars must join their European counterparts to found gods, new gods, and new theories. Any other thing outside this is entertainment, even folly, however well it pays the fool.
To summarize, the development of nations and peoples are the works of their greatest minds, the thinkers and not tinkerers or professionals. That is why man is called Homo sapiens. That is, man the thinker. And by the way, thinking is a higher form of doing.
So, our redemption lies in thinking, in thinking the new, in being as it were, great diagnosticians. That is the ability to see the disease before it strikes, as the greatest Taoist physician advocated.
Take the example of Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), for instance. SANship as an institution is taken as a pillar of the justice enterprise. Sometimes, it is taken that it is a few bad eggs that are rotten amongst the silk. But as we have demonstrated irrefutably, the very institution of SANship is in-designed to be corrupt and nothing else. And the best a SAN can be is a healthy but infectious carrier of corruption. So, it can be taken that a lawyer who is a SAN and bemoans corruption is like a crown-prince bemoaning nepotism. He is either ignorant or a criminal hypocrite.
So, it is not just that ignorance is dangerous to the health of the individual and society. It is more that the ignorant are [like] healthy [aids] carriers and are thus more dangerous for that. They just innocently go about with their ‘innocent orgies’ causing and spreading the epidemic of aids, or as in the case of SANs and such like bodies, corruption.
Thus unless the Nigerian scholar comes to knowledge, that the poet even in his rags, is the superior of Caesar, bedecked in purple, then this nation shall never develop. Development is the enthronement of knowledge, not profit, as the highest capital and asset of a people. We must await, not Caesar, not Godot but the new poet, in the types of Einstein, Euler, more Soyinkas and the rest.
So, Buhari is not really an issue. Immediately we understand the broad question of failure, of collapse of scholarship, the individual question of Buhari is made most manifest.
The point is clear. Representatively, Buhari has no understanding of what corruption is; its sources or causes. He only understands the effect or the gestures, as they say in theatre, the drama but not the myth.
Now, corruption as we have clearly demonstrated, is a power and not persons function. Buhari is still stuck in the old and ancient order, that it is a person equation.
So, Buhari is just like a SAN crying himself hoarse about corruption. The crier, a Buhari or the SAN representatively, is a victim of our generalized and all-pervasive ignorance. Meanwhile, as in the case of SAN, he is himself a healthy or infested, but all the same infectious carrier of corruption. Buhari and the SANs are living under the old and retired testament.
It is worthy to note that it is this all-pervasive ignorance, in law, in sociology, etc, that is the bane of our development. It is not as alleged the dearth of great or even good leaders. Because the Nigerian scholars don’t really know, the leaders can’t really do. It is a proverb. Nigeria ronu.
How does the unitary system of government the military established entrench corruption and why has the North resisted running a fiscal federalism in the country?
The unitary system is a system of power architecture where nearly all powers are aggregated at a given centre. By the logic of what we have established, the system, despite its operators, must grow gangrenous and corrupt.
Northern opposition to fiscal federalism and preference for unitarism is shortsighted. It makes Nigeria an empire, perhaps their empire. And empires are like ice statues cast in the sun. Empires are built never to work or to last. And empires actually belong to the infantile ages of man. Modernity itself or the consequences of the explosion of knowledge is anti-empire. That is, no modern empire can prosper. So, the USSR needed to collapse to save itself, even for the parts to prosper. These are laws of existence one can’t abrogate. Empires are run successfully in darkness. We are in the age of light and explosion of enlightenment.
So, inevitably one of two things will happen to Nigeria as an empire-state. It will break up or break down. So it is in the greatest interest of the north as it is the rest of Nigeria to run fiscal – home power – federalism.
As a military man, Buhari’s act of coup is corruption. Would he have been cured of this mentality to want to be green, clean of corruption, as to lead Nigeria again?
The people who destroyed this country are coup makers, soldiers intervening in the political process. We can only say, ‘Lord, forgive them for they know not what they did’. Anyway, the Lord forgives, but history doesn’t.
Like the Sorcerer’s Apprentice the coup makers have called into being forces that they never understood and apparently nobody can now fully control. As it is, they have given birth to an absurdity, a nation that just can’t work except recreated. A nation contrary to the delusion of coup makers is not a geography garrisoned by the army.
So, the act of a coup is the act of aggregating supreme powers at one point over a given geography. It is as we have established in our research the worst form of corruption. It is the worst form of corruption that in stealing power, it first proclaims itself saintly, patriotic. And then acquires innocence to steal anything else; unearned promotions, people’s wives, treasury, etc.
The tragedy is that Buhari and APC have not understood these things. They still insist that those acts of supreme corruption, of doing, participating and or receiving coups or stolen governments, are models of patriotic behavior. Then, is corruption or being a carrier of corruption, patriotic? So how can you come clean and green with your past when you have not repudiated your past of sin and shame?
Obasanjo is no more in PDP. Is this valid ground to establish the G-2 North/South-West Security Council member theory you advance in your new book?
General Obasanjo as a PDP man was a G-2 believer and high initiate. His spatial movements have little to do with where his hearts, prejudices and designs are.
The tragedy of the G-2 is that it will only work for a season. It is what led to the overthrow of General Gowon, to June 12 and its next presentation will be June 13, speaking in allegory. You can’t run a country like an empire, which is their purpose. I see APC as the last kick of a dying horse. So whether an Obasanjo is in or out of PDP or APC, that tendency of Nigeria as an empire of Buhari and Osibanjo or what they selectively and secretly represent won’t work, is not workable. They will lead us to June 13.
Some have argued that Jonathan is a weak president and that Nigeria needs a strong man like Buhari to make Nigeria work. What’s the truth in this assertion?
Nigerians need normal persons, not strong or weak characters. A democracy contrary to the ignorance of the many is not a revolutionary government. In a democracy prospective candidates beg for votes, to be voted into office. Can a man who is a beggar be a strongman, a super hero at the same time?
I think the critics of the president have lexical difficulties, which is understandable. Maybe English is not our mother tongue. Democracies are not designed to elect weak or strong characters. Democracies elect normal and popular candidates.
So nobody should be allowed to introduce and smuggle the concepts and ways of the dictator into democratic order. This nation can do without much ignorance.
If President Jonathan is clean of corruption as you argue, why hasn’t the country made as much progress as it should? What indices of development can we use to measure his achievements?
Nigeria’s problem is not making progress or fixing NEPA despite enthusiastic ignorance. Nigeria’s problem is in understanding that a country is not a topography garrisoned by soldiers and the SSS.
Economic science, as the Europeans developed it, is meant to work and service states created under the Peace of Westphalia agreements. And those assumptions are not just geographical. Geography or boundaries were the least of their worries. It is instructive it is called the Peace of Westphalia.
The point is that outside the Westphalian assumptions, no economic theories developed in Europe will work, in a Nigeria, for instance. The point is that in terms of Westphalia, broadly understood, Nigeria may be a war zone. What works or will, will be mayhem. Nigeria is a manifestation, a presentation that theories don’t cross boundaries save universalized, domesticated. And that again is the work of scholars.
That is why and how Jonathan’s greatest deed is in the convocation of a conference. If only we can have our own national Peace of Westphalia, then would we have made a Nigeria, in which economic theories as currently known, may work.
Poor power architecture and cognitive scholarship, your have argued, are responsible for the failings of African governments, including Nigeria. Is the constitutional review the answer? What can a President Jonathan, or any president for that matter, do to make things right?
Constitutional review is a result of cognitive labour. But it came short of its own redemption even as we commend it. The first thing they should have agreed on is to condemn in totality the audacity, unearned audacity, of the military junta led by whoever, to imagine that they can author constitutions and that I, Jimanze Ego-Alowes and millions of Nigerians will obey it.