On the 9th of December, 2018, l left for home to see my parents. On arrival, I gave them the bread l bought. Imbued with joy, my mother requested to know the price of the bread she fancied. “Seven hundred naira,” I said to her. “What! So, things have gotten so bad that it affects the price of bread?” She quickly shouted as she was spellbound.It was this explosive episode that ushered me into the world of thinking – why have things gotten so bad? What can be done to defeat these successive hurdles permeated by different regimes?
In any society, the bread prices largely determines the quality of life of the poor. Both local and international lore uphold that rocketing fact. The prime factor that causes this kind of crisis is the adoption of the medieval principles that once lured the European major powers into conflict and revolts. In Nigeria, they are still dwelling on the medieval principles in the 21st century. In Nigeria, politics is hereditary and dominated by selfish kleptomaniac politicians while the cultural life is dominated by merchant religious bigots and the economy monopolized.
Political hereditary opposes political electioneering and political appointment by moral merit. Political hereditary differs in countries it has found breathing space due to the diversity in values. In some countries, it surfaces as a monarchical succession of rulers while in others, your wealth counts. In Nigeria, it comes in the form of political godfatherism, nepotism and endorsement of relatives by incumbent political office holders. These set of rulers trample on the natural rights of the people.
It was John Locke who posited that governments were created to protect life, liberty, and property and that the people has a right to rebel when their leader violates these natural rights. Of course, individual rights are the foundation of a civil government and the will of the people is sacred. In any civilized clime, the legitimacy of a leader depends on the consent of the people and not the other way round. Nigerian rulers have violated all these natural rights with impunity.
Since the inception of the world, politicians and the clergymen in different religious denominations have always been working hand-in-hand against the will of the people. They always hide their ulterior motives under their religious edicts. As King Leonidas of Sparta would say, “I better listen to my voice of reasoning,” than these religious prophecies that never come to pass. He still went further to fight Xerxes even as the compromised clergymen advised him to stay. At the end of the day, he made a great history. Today in Nigeria, politicians pay clergymen to prophesy in their favour. Prophecies are bought with money in Nigeria and this has caused more harm than good to the general interest of the masses. I make bold to say that the church and politics are the two currents stunting people’s wellbeing.
The menace of the Church and hereditary politics played out in France
Will the French society ever forget what the church, the Roman Catholic to be precise, in collaboration with their evil politicians did to them? I don’t think so. The church despite been under the ownership of a greater part of the land, went forth to extract substantial amounts of wealth from the economy (members) in form of tithes and ecclesiastical fees. The penance for people’s sins then was to go and work in the farm of a priest (clergy). Despite its substantial wealth, the church by the act of romancing with the politicians, was exempted from paying nearly all tax payments. As it were, members of the hereditary leaders held almost all the upper positions in the church. These leaders controlled 30% of the land and the church kept quiet.
It should be noted that the science and technology which everybody is enjoying today and singing praises to, was fought against by the church and politicians in collaboration. Out of fears of a possible loss of members to the Intellectual Enlightenment group that ushered in science, a Counter-Enlightenment movement was launched by the Catholic Church all over the world. The church selfishly opposed science but today science is more useful to them. I have come to the conclusion that the church and politicians will always oppose anything that will not lead to the fattening of their pockets.
Copernicus’s ability to explain the structure of the solar system, Newton’s marvelous presentation of the law of gravity and other findings by the Enlightenment Intellectuals, shocked the hereditary rulers and the church.
Rotten governments have always been destroyed through the collective will of the oppressed no matter how hard they try to connive with the religious elites in the society. On August 14, 1791, an Igbo freed slave by name Francois Dominique Toussaint led slaves on an armed uprising against the local slave owners. After that, slavery was abolished, military forces from Britain and France were defeated and Haiti achieved independence. In Spanish colonies, after the inhuman treatments meted on the people, the people revolted against tyranny and shouted in unison, “Death to bad government.” The Stamp Act of 1765 where Britain imposed a heavy tax on the Americans, the people revolted most especially the women and boycotted British goods and trade. That forced Britain to repeal the Stamp Act.
Today, the Nigerian government is singing the song of war carelessly as if they are immortals. This propels me to conclude that Nigeria doesn’t know anything about war. Though it is said that they fought the Biafrans, but with their statements these days, l absolutely believe the school of thought which contends that Britain, Russia and other European major powers fought Biafrans and not Nigeria. No reasonable country prays for war to come. No matter how powerful their military and arm-strength may be, they must bleed. What about the cost and debts of war? Hmm. Oh dear me! Even the Great Britain at the end of the seven years war in 1763, started losing its power because of their war debt which clocked £137 million while their total budget before the war was averaged only £8 million.
Never in history has the use of military might been able to subdue or quell revolution, sending the whole military to those areas cannot stop it either. In fact, sending the military has been the highest display of illiteracy from the oppressors. We have not forgotten the song the British military band sang, “The World Turned Upside-Down,” when they were heavily dealt with by the America revolutionaries. After everything, Britain sent additional military forces to pacify the colonies. By 1778, British land forces numbered 50,000 and were supported by 30,000 German mercenaries but still, it proved futile.
Today, the same mistake Britain made is what Nigeria is playing out. The real problem of the British government in the case of America was its inability to discover a compromised solution that would satisfy colonial grievances. Instead, they stupidly resorted to the use of force. Of course, this is normally engineered by over-confidence and presence of poor rulers from the oppressor side which prevents or shields their sense of reasoning not to find a political solution to the crisis. But how strong is Nigeria? That question is likely to be answered in a battlefield. The long and painful life the political and religious hot hug has suppressed the people into, always ends up pressing for a revolt from the oppressed as it has been in the world.
For: Radio Biafra Media