By Lukman Olabiyi Justice Ibrahim Buba of the Federal High Court in Lagos has fixed October 16, to rule on whether or not to discharge a former Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA ), Patrick Akpobolokemi, who was charged with N2.6bn fraud. The court fixed the date Friday after hearing…
The academic departments in Nigerian universities may be graded into two broad schools: The humanities and the sciences. However, there is another viable classification that can do much good. This is especially for developing countries.
If you wondered why we are still using the humanities-sciences classification, the answer is simple. We uncritically cloned our universities from European models. And this is despite the fact that Europeans started the race ‘’before Abraham’’, and almost finished, before we joined. Like we say in Warri, we and dem no dey the same category. That alone should have alerted us to make our own classification categories. This is especially so since universities are the real, if unacknowledged, creators of national development and prosperity. That is, if you missed it at the educational levels, classifications and all, you have already lost it at the market rankings.
If we had classified departments in response to our own development interests, we would more productively have had: 1. The school of primary sciences and 2. The school of secondary sciences. The primary sciences are mostly the single honours courses, which ironically are not exactly in honour anymore. Examples are history, mathematics, physics, etc.
The secondary or consequential sciences are essentially those called the professions. Examples are journalism, law, engineering, coup making, at least in Nigeria, etc. The points of their differences are: The professions are bits and pieces of the primary sciences knotted together. That is without the primary sciences the professions wouldn’t even have existed. If you took engineering for instance, it is no more than bits and pieces of chemistry, mathematics, etc. made as one.
But more importantly, the primary sciences are concerned with only the big questions. In physics, for instance, they will ask, ‘‘why is there something rather than nothing.’’ It sounds crazy but that is what those sharpies are obsessing about. But the professions are more prudent. They are concerned with practical things. And we give an example. A professional spy chief, say a Nigerian, will be cracking his brains: How does one magically hide a heist of USA 43 million dollars without whistle blowers suspecting a whiff?
But as it concerns any country, the following are facts. For a country to be self-sustainingly prosperous, it has to be created at the levels of primary sciences, that is, the big questions, not the small worries. However, it is meat to say that a country created at the big ideas levels may be run well at the professional sciences levels. But the reverse is not true. That is, no country founded by the professional sciences can be run by primary sciences personnel or indeed anybody at all. Thus a country is sustainably prosperous only to the extent her founding fathers are in the primary sciences and have genius. Anyway, history has no records of nations founded by non-primary scientists that are sustainably prosperous or even at peace within themselves. And no country has prospered due to protracted wars – internal or external. A poorly designed system leads invariantly to entropy, to civil wars, and logically to economic doom.
Fact is that all the prosperous countries of ‘‘Europe’’ were created along primary lines even as they are run by professionals. And America gives us the most dramatic frame to this truth. America is the first country to author a stand-alone constitution. That constitution was actually authored by Euclid and Isaac Newton. Ok, let’s put it this way. The influences of Euclid and Newton were decisive in the authorship of the American constitution. Euclid and Newton are easily the greatest primary scientists ever. [Interested readers may consult Mathematics in Western Culture by Professor Morris Kline, etc.].
That is, America is prosperous because she resolved the big questions, was founded by really big thinkers. To repeat, a country may only be as rich as the germinal ideas that are present at her day of creation. That explains why all the big ideas countries, like Japan, Taiwan, etc., are one and all doing well a la America, with or without natural resources. That is a proof that oil wells plus blockheadedness a la Nigeria will lead to poverty and famine.
But what happened to us? The big question design that the British left us a la regionalisms was questioned by mad majors led by Chukwuma Nzeogwu. Luckily, they failed. And our tragedy began. How? General Yakubu Gowon succeeded and started to recreate Nigeria a la the secondary sciences, that is, with big guns and little or no brains. That is, the near sacred works of geniuses, the big ideas developers, were passed over to sentries armed to their teeth. Thus gun-slinging was confounded with being genius. How can such an artifice as Nigeria, so recreated, ever work?
But Gowon is ancient history even as his legacy is in infamy. Our greatest trepidation is that the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, is continuing in the Gowonistic traditions. He wants to save a nation by ruining its peoples. There are two incidences. The first, he was quoting a lawyer, Femi Falana, SAN. But why quote a secondary science player in matters as primary as the character disposition of an anti-fraud czar.
Well, there is the instructive tale of Caesar’s wife. Caesar divorced his wife, not because she prostituted herself with her lover, which she did. Caesar did because she put herself in a position where her integrity could be questioned at all. The moral is that in issues of fundamental state importance, if you are under suspicion, the fact of your guilt or innocence does not any longer matter. And, that is the only way to build a state. Why? Because the state as a huge and delicate construction cannot tolerate poor or doubtful cornerstones. And morality is the foundation of the state. So, you cannot in constructing the state be technically sound but morally suspect. Immediately that is allowed, then all is permitted. And many may oblige you. So, it is advisable that Osinbajo, who is a professor of law and SAN, disassociates himself from professionalising issues of primary importance.
The other was his campaign for the unity of Nigeria. While most citizens don’t really care about country, political leaders must be wary on what words they use. In Osinbajo’s words: “A lot of those who say we are better divided as a nation, don’t understand that the greatness of this country lies first in its diversity and then in the size of the country.” We mustn’t allow advocates….” The Cable, April 19.
It looks harmless, but it is not. The first error is in its false order of values. The state is not created to be great. No, the citizens created the state, a vehicle, to help them achieve individual wellbeing and greatness. That is why in the American constitution, for instance, you can’t spot all these illiterate phrases of great country, indivisible nothingness, that infest her Nigerian counterpart. American constitution speaks of the right to happiness, of making a more perfect union [to serve the citizens], etc. That is, if America is to be great, it has to be via the greatness of her citizens. Thus America is created to be great fractionally, not by construction. This order of values is crucial.
Thus the idea of a great and mighty state is no longer persuasive. It is totalitarian and Nazi-like. Now take this example. Because of this order of values, that is, the state created for the citizens, it’s fun to be American, to be citizen. But in totalitarian states, the citizens are disposable raw material for state constructions. That is what explains the Soviet Union of Leonid Brezhnev being justly joked at as [famished] Upper Volta with nuclear arms. And when Russia collapsed, not one party broke sweat. It was fun to erstwhile citizens that Russia, an oppressive state splintered.
Well, things get more interesting. Osinbajo is a pastor of a Pentecostal church. It is thus well to recall that the essence of Pentecostalism is a drawdown from this American order of values. That is from Newton, etc., via American constitution. Before America, the earth was considered pestilential for Christians. To them the earth was a valley of sorrow and strife, a pathway not a habitat.
American religious thinkers drawing on the fecundity of their constitution said no. The earth was re-designated man’s habitat and religion was founded to serve man, not vice versa. It was this counterintuitive logic that eased the burden of guilt from Christians. And they started to enjoy the fruits of the earth even while sojourning to heaven. That is, it became fun to be a Christian, just as it is fun to be American. That is prior to America, an Osinbajo who is today a rich ‘‘saint’’ would have been considered a sinful Christian, needing penance. He dared not be a pastor. So, if Osinbajo is a pastor today, it is by the grace of God and certainly the Americans. By his publicly confessed net worth, Osinbajo is a multi-millionaire and more.
[And lest we forget, before the Americans, it was shameful to be rich and a saint. After America, it was chic to be rich and even a pastor. Popes are only beneficially rich. Osinbajo is both beneficially and possessively rich].
And it so happened that the church in old Europe collapsed on the Osinbajo-like totalitarian interpretations of the scriptures. Meanwhile, churching boomed in America, with its it is fun to be Christian exordiums. And it is this American brand of fun-on-earth Christianity that Osibanjo evangelises.
So, if Osinbajo is claiming benefits from the Americanism in churching, why is he dragging us towards totalitarianisms in our political lives? Or, perhaps, it is that he has not deserted his secondary sciences legacies?
To repeat, it may be said; the nations of the world that prosper do because they are forged by big brains and no guns. However, what these countries created or refashioned with big brains, Nigerians via coup makers are recreating with big guns and no brains. That is, Nigeria’s problems are congenital. It is armoured ignorance. And the democratic heirs are reinforcing their morbid heritage. Ahiazuwa.
•Ego-Alowes is the author of several books including the classics: Minorities as Competitive Overlords, Economists as Assassins; The Nigerian Connection, Corruption in Africa: Resolution Through New Diagnosis, How and Why the Yoruba Fought and Lost the Biafra Nigerian Civil War.