Broadly construed, philosophy began by attempting to answer two deceptively simple questions: What can we know? And How should we live our lives?
“It is not enough to have a good mind. The main thing is to use it well.” – Rene Descartes
Nigeria’s ailment when viewed in the light of this assertion by Descartes and when conceptualized in the manner of philosophers, can be related to the problem of leadership. Having leaders with good intentions is not enough until those intentions are realized.
What Philosophy is:
Philosophy is an activity people undertake when they seek to understand themselves, the world they lie in, and the relations to the world and each other. Those who study philosophy are engaged in asking, answering, evaluating, and reasoning about some of life’s most basic, meaningful, and difficult questions.
Philosophy gives one more than just knowledge of the world; it gives a deep understanding of how the world works, even how it should work. This brings us to the ailment of Nigeria and why in my candid opinion, Nigeria needs philosophers in order to get rid of it’s present predicament.
It is widely acknowledged that a land devoid of visionary leaders and a nation without integrity can hardly experience stability and peace. That is the story of Nigeria in recent years. Leaders with vision inspire citizens and mobilize them for nation building. Leaders with crystal motives employ wisdom, foresight, sense of purpose and commitment, to galvanize a people towards self-actualization and propel the national spirit in them.
Our lives in Nigeria have in recent times been dominated by a worsening security situation, manifested in sporadic violent skirmishes, armed robbery, arson, politically motivated assassinations, massive youth unemployment,Kidnapping and acrimonious poverty. Ours remains a country where millions are under-nourished, where economic, education, health and social infrastructures are collapsed and tottering. In contradistinction to this national scenario is a political leadership class that wallows in financial and economic constipation and social self-adulation.
The story of our kind of leadership is akin to the one told by Prophet Ezekiel in the book of Ezekiel Chapter 34, where the shepherds of Israel, rather than feed and tend the flock in their charge, chose instead to feed themselves on the sheep and the milk, to dress themselves in their wool, and abandon the sheep, putting them in harm’s way. The Lord promises in that passage to rescue the flock from their vicissitudes and their abandonment in the wilderness and to disinherit the gluttonous and punitive shepherds, and take over the task of shepherding the flock himself!
Philosophy’s Medication to this Problems
Nigeria as well as Nigerians need to engage in this field “Philosophy” in order to succeed in the quest for a better tomorrow. Let’s engage in “PLATO’S IDEA OF ‘PHILOSOPHER KING’ AND NIGERIAN LEADERSHIP CRISIS”
The Philosopher King
Is this about leading leaders? Not at all. The structure of the Republic has Socrates sketching out the form of a “just state” in order to understand the meaning of justice itself. Most of the dialogue is actually devoted to the selection and training of the rulers of this state. At this point in the dialogue, Socrates has established that the rulers must be lovers of wisdom, devoted as much to pursuing the vision of Truth as they are to the execution of governmental affairs. And they must be people who in their own lives pursue the Good above all other goals. The Philosopher King is, in our words, a leader of Vision and moral integrity, who is willing and able to communicate his Vision and impart his morality to the rest of society, for the good of all. To attain all this, one needs the knowledge of Philosophy.
The value system of Nigeria is reflected in the form of legal codes or law which is our national constitution. Though many have been advocating for the review of the constitution, but the question is, “has the requirements of this present constitution been properly interpreted and enforced”, the answer is obvious. Until the constitution is interpreted and enforced properly, our value system will remain in the state of abyss.
What are the possible solutions to the problems of Nigeria when viewed philosophically?
The Judges, Lawyers, Jurors, and the entire justice system stakeholders on one hand, and the Police, ICPC, EFCC, DSS, and other security agencies on the other hand are the interpreters and enforcers respectively. They are the measures to protect the system. Until the justice system becomes truly independent i.e. without the interference of the executive and legislative arm of government, Nigeria’s justice system cannot be efficient, the justice system should be spearheaded by men of impeccable integrity who can deliver judgments without compromise, whereby any culprit of the law is given the right punishment irrespective of position in the society to serve as deterrent to others, then people will know that once they are caught there is no other way out for them.
The Police, ICPC, EFCC, DSS, etc. must also be relatively independent and highly motivated, whereby investigations are done in the right way and all offenders (irrespective of social/political status) are brought to book.
Lastly, i will propose as a philosopher that if the constitution be reviewed, the immunity clause given to public office holders on civil and criminal proceedings should be abolished, in doing this there will be a rapid/constant monitoring and check on the powers of our political leaders based upon the philosophy of Baron de Montesquieau
If all these are done, practically, steadily and surely the tides of this country will turn for the better through the cleansing and repair of the system rather than the people.
By: Aliu Abdulrauf