History generally is the story of the evolution of sociopolitical structures, its interaction and counteraction with human cultures, and its dynamic fluctuations with human tendencies. It results in the accumulation of knowledge which become the subject of study of minds in curious wonder of the human evolution. Through relevant classification and subsequent synthesis, recognizable patterns emerge that forms the basis of projecting predictions whose accuracy largely depends on the understanding and accurate interpretation of historical precedence. In a more scholastic sense, it forms the basis of formulating various theories, especially where empirical evidence is lacking. Karl Marx’s Historical Materialism and his analysis of the evolution of the means of production stands as a good example.
A nation’s continuous progress and stability therefore depends on the ability of its elite to lean on history, ponder on current reality and formulate informed propositions that can shape the future for good. It has been noted already that the ideas of the ruling class of any society will eventually become the ruling and dominant idea of the land. The failure of the intellectual elite to rise to this occasion foment a scathing dystaxia of its own that distort the workability of a nation state. However, in cases like Nigeria where the intellectual community are shadowed by the iron fist of the ruling class, informed ideas become so rare as to produce a clueless government and citizenry, which together produces a clueless nation.
With no intellectual stimulation, coupled with an environment that inhibit intellectual quest, any nation will be lacking in intellectual clarity and identity. By implication, only random ideas selected for their appropriateness for the immediate need and compatible with special interests, are adopted. This allows ideas to be adopted and discarded with utter rapidity. With no discipline to stick to a fully formed idea, a nation will not only lack identity, it will also lack direction. The led and those leading will usually become clueless about where they are heading.
In the long run, this will produce a loosely held nation as each will be left to find for himself whatever works. There are at least two important implications to this. On the part of those who lead, a subtle and silent culture, developed over time will eventually attain prominence by which a disfigured concept of governance will become common place, and as a matter of fact, passively accepted. By the dictate of this culture, governance is seen as a window of opportunity for self aggrandizement by those who occupy the position of leadership, through unhindered access to power and state wealth. This unjust arrogation of power, without any check emboldens those who rule to become oppressive, and it hardens them until they become unfeeling.
On the other hand,those who are led – the people, are left to wander in search of whatever works, until the desire to survive becomes their all time preoccupation. To them, nothing is more important than survival. And rightly so. However, at this stage, they are too blinded to see how the quality of governance they get impact on their chances of survival. Interestingly, this creates a new subset of the class struggle where the people compete among themselves for limited resources. This will in turn create new classes and keep the people highly fractionalized and fragmented.
Instructively, the journey towards inhumaneness begins from here. The milk of empathy will turn sour as a necessary means of survival. Competition for the basic necessities of life will become severe so much that subconsciously, the people will accede to the mutual exclusivity of attaining those necessities with others. Thus they build a hidden habit to build a dual capacity for getting up and keeping others down. Once this slip into the mainstream culture, it will set up a tension ridden society where trust is alien and everyone is a potential foe. The mutual suspicion thus induced, naturally suffocate empathy.
Curiously, this leads to a dangerous trend where citizens turn on each other. With compassion and empathy now gone, each will always exact the fullest price. Those without the means will strive to retrieve the means from those who have it. Those who have the means will gnash at those who don’t. Eventually, it will be a battle to *”keep ourselves from each other “*.
As this continues, the final phase in the build up to a revolution will begin to emerge. In this phase, there will be multiplicity of crimes as criminality would become the adopted means of earning a living for some. The government’s ability to meet the welfare requirements of the people will be on the decline as population continue to increase, just as its ability to curb crimes. Citizens could increasingly lose faith in their government and retort to self help. Interestingly, this will only increase the competition among the subset classes of the lower class.
Nigeria at the moment present a quagmire of perplexities, the full implication of which may only be realized in the coming years. With the environment still increasingly hostile towards intellectual and creative expressions, Nigeria’s best brains are in a desperate search for escape into foreign climes. For the highly competent and extremely talented, there are waiting hands welcoming them abroad. In effect, Nigeria continue to cheat herself by allowing such a continuous brain drain.
It’s important to note however that the nature of a society, particularly of civil societies, determine the form, nature and character of the government. However, where such a society is undermined by the scarcity of resources – both intellectually and materially, it will inadvertently relinquish control to the government to dictate the affairs of things.
This leaves a space for the government to perpetuate itself regardless of performance. Fortunately for the society, government as often as has been proved, are not always smart. Nonetheless, if society continue to focus on the scarcity of resources instead of the sources and causes of such scarcity, the government will continue to have a free day however oppressive it may be.
From this point, two scenarios are possible. The government may succeed at maintaining the status quo through two primary means. The first is through propaganda which may also come along with the suppression of the press albeit indirectly. Through this means, the government will appear to be winning the war against crime, urging calm from the populace, while also portraying images of a thriving economy. The second means is by ensuring balance in the amount of resources allowed into the lower class. By allowing just enough resources to get into the lower class, the people will be too busy competing among themselves to see the manipulation of the upper class, thereby preserving the status quo. This way, the people will continue in passive slavery, serving the inordinateness of the ruling class.
However, if more resources is allowed into the lower class than is necessary to keep them busy competing among themselves, their taste for abundance will be activated along with the consciousness of their poverty in comparison with the elite’s wealth. On the other hand, if less resource is allowed into the lower class than is necessary, the advent of a revolutionary will be quickened.
As long as the government is able to maintain the status quo, the people will continue in passive slavery and possibly delay the emergence of the protagonist who will champion a revolution. However, once this balance is lost or disrupted in any way, the protagonist will inevitably emerge. A revolution of some sort will ensue. What becomes the fate of the nation will now depend on the method adopted by the protagonist.
It will be interesting to see which way Nigeria will choose moving forward. Whether there will be a miraculous repentance on the part of the ruling class or the people will continue in passive slavery in a contemptible complaisance. Or a leader will emerge among the people to lead a drive for change, in which case, we’ll also look forward to the method he chooses – whether a violent revolution or a peaceful coordinated mass movement for change.