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THE SOCIAL REVOLUTION OF NIGERIA (AN OPEN LETTER TO NIGERIANS IN THE DIASPORA - PART V)

By:  SAM ABBD ISRAEL

Hello Folks

It is a pleasure to be back again after a short break. It would have been nice to address each of you by name. We have come along long enough to have broken the ice of formality and be able to address each other by our first names. Come to think of it we already have a common name. Hello Andrew! Andrew was supposed to be a derogatory name coined eighteen years ago as part of the propaganda materials to discourage Nigerians from checking out of Nigeria. It became a term for all the good folks that had the common sense to check out of Nigeria when the economic, social and political vandals arrived on the national scene. Dear folks, you need no longer be ashamed of what you had to do to escape the great inferno that engulfed Nigeria for almost two decades. As we said in our first letter, each of you was a chosen one among your family and community for a great assignment. The question is still hanging in the air and it is only you who can find the answer. The question is to ask why did heaven set me apart from the crowd?

The last letter we wrote before the deliberate break in communication was written about three months ago. In that letter we called for a break in transmission to allow each of us enough time to digest properly the contents of the four letters. From personal experience we understand that unless most essays are given a second or third reading, the essence of the messages being conveyed often times elude the first time reader. The letters to the NIDs contain very deep issues to which a cursory reading will fail to do justice to the goal of clarity of purpose and of attaining a full comprehension of the discourses.

During the three months absence, we took the opportunity to write letters to the Youth of Nigeria, to the Religious Leaders of Nigeria and to the totality of Fellow Nigerians. The theme and tune of the messages were same - equality, justice and freedom - but they were rendered in different wavelengths to suite a particular audience in focus. Each of the groups of Nigerians we wrote to are equally essential to the project of the social revolution of Nigeria to which this writer is fully committed. However, the stars of this revolution are the Nigerians in the Diaspora. Most of you are not aware of this at the moment and that is why this writer shall not relent in his effort until the message is heard and understood by every Nigerian in the Diaspora.

In this letter we intend to draw your attention to the common-sense concept and meaning of Social Revolution. We shall try to learn from the lesson of history as we engage on some brief historical excursions of major revolutions that have made tremendous differences to our world. We shall be borrowing from the inspired reflections of some key figures that utilised simple ideas to transform their little world, as well as the larger world and in turn the world as we know it today. It is obvious that without the singular effort of these revolutionary figures, maybe our world might have perished under the yoke of injustice and beastly riotous living. Without the well-informed ideas these thinkers bestowed to the world maybe humanity would still be consigned to the primitive ape-like stage of existence. And without the liberating philosophies propounded by these unique individuals, maybe the war of every man against every other man would have permanently disabled humanity physically and psychologically without redemption.

UNDERSTANDING SOCIAL REVOLUTION

The Oxford English Reference Dictionary defines revolution as a) forcible overthrow of a government or social order; b) any fundamental change or reversal of conditions; c) revolving; d) a single completion of an orbit or rotation; and e) cyclic recurrence. In making a choice out of the five definitions, this writer elects to pick the second definition of revolution that says 'any fundamental change or reversal of conditions'. We understand that since the American Revolution of 1776 overthrew through armed conflict the British colonial power in America, that revolution has become synonymous with the 'forcible overthrow of a government'. History has recorded among many others the bloody French Revolution of 1789, the abortive bloody European Revolution of 1848, the exceptionally bloody Russian Revolution of 1905 and the Chinese Republican Revolution of 1911. This writer has no intention or desire whatsoever to encourage anyone to get involved in the business, either bloody or peaceful, of overthrowing any government. But we are very much interested in the 'fundamental change or reversal of conditions' of the present social order in Nigeria.

A social order is defined as 'the stable patterns of social expectations and social structure that exist in a society'. It is the existing social, political and economic arrangements of a society. It is also the intricate interrelationships of peoples, things and values that either evolved over the years or was deliberately established by members of the society. A stable social order does not necessarily imply a perfect arrangement. Stability of a social order can be achieved by tyrannical rule using sadistic forces of oppression. A social order can be sustained by brutally silencing the voices of dissent and opposition or by establishing a regime of fear and suspicion among the people. It can be judiciously but unfairly maintained by seizing and padlocking the fundamental rights of the people to freedom, equality and justice or by maliciously killing the spirit of trust and of humane brotherhood in the polity. The present social order in Nigeria has a large proportion of these factors in its development and maintenance. That this social order has gone on for 88 godless years does not make it right. This writer feels the time to change it is now and that the host of NIDs shall be the vanguard of this momentous project of fundamental change.

The present social order in Nigeria is nauseating and is terribly sickening to every thinking observer. It is a condition that shall forever be injurious to the social, economic and political health of the peoples of Nigeria until a revolution can be made out of it. This is the reasoning behind the project of a Social Revolution for Nigeria. The kind of social revolution we are proposing is the processes and the actual acts of turning the societies of Nigeria downside-up. We are of the opinion that the present social condition of Nigeria is upside-down. It is an abnormal state of affair. It is like a clock running anti-clockwise against the logic of the technology of watches. Our societies are functioning abnormally contrary to all the natural laws and noble philosophical teachings. The social revolution we are proposing shall entail the outright changing of the present premises and directions of our social values and in turn the character of the social, political and economic orientations of the society. It is a project for rewriting the fundamental social objectives of the Nigerian societies. It is a project that shall re-engage the people of Nigeria along a perfectly new direction in the pursuit of the cherished, seasoned and reasoned objectives of Utopia or Paradise. And it is a project that has as one of its goals the continuous positive encouragement of Nigerians to willingly and creatively participate in the establishment of the Kingdom of God in Nigeria.

The first recorded revolution in the history of the world is found in the Hebrew Book of Genesis. It is the story of the divine revolution of creation, particularly of the creation of mankind. The Genesis story recorded that a being called God had a brilliant idea after the creation of all other living things and non-living things had been completed. The story said God broached this unusual idea as a mission statement to his/her listeners. The writer of Genesis recorded that God said 'Let us make man in our image according to our likeness'. We are not debating the authenticity of the Genesis chronicler or whether indeed it is true he/she heard God spoke and in what language. But we love the story for the lesson it teaches on the processes by which revolutionary ideas are conceived, shared or communicated to others for support and implementation.

Drawing our inferences from the nature of mankind we believe the audience - the original copy of man - must have been taken aback with surprise written all over their formless frames, just in case they have no faces. They would have debated and argued for and against this kind of preposterous idea. 'What are you suggesting?' They would have asked. 'Are you trying to destabilise the perfect equilibrium of life on earth?' 'Can't you see what the objective would entail and the probable consequences it might bring to life on planet earth and even to the universe?' 'Don't you think we should tread carefully or else we might found ourselves unintentionally becoming the destroyer of life on earth?' The debate and the argument might have gone on for ages and for many millennia. However, since humanity exists the unusual revolutionary idea must have won the day.

Since then, every revolution has always started from simple ideas of changing something from one level of existence to another level. Since mankind is made as a Xerox copy of God, it should be expected that our nature would also be a carbon copy of the God or Gods that duplicated themselves. Therefore, mankind must also have the proclivity or tendency to suffer from idealistic brain-waves from time to time; to dream big and unusual dreams; to desire to create something new or to fashion old materials into something different; to change from point A to point B in the eternal cycle of existence; and to experiment playfully and purposefully with the available raw materials on earth.

The story of creation is one of the most beautiful renditions in a long line of fascinating ancient fabulous, mystical, archaeological and anthropological investigations on the probable origin of mankind. The Biblical writers were brilliant in the way they used allegories and mystical tales to educate the world about the very beginning. It is a literary example of codification of facts at a very high cerebral level. The short story of creation, rendered in an every day language, was elegantly wrapped together with strings of deep spiritual undertones. However, whether the host of humanity actually understands the core messages the Biblical writers were trying to convey is another matter entirely.

The path of human history is adorned with the carcasses of endless list of revolutionary thinkers, dreamers and performers. Men and women that intuitively realised there was a need to change the level of human existence from a lower level of mediocrity to a higher level of excellence. Exceptionally talented and reflective individuals that desire to move humanity away from a physical state of human pygmies to a spiritual state of human giants. Far-sighted visionaries that desire to refashion the mind of mankind from a brutish state of man to the perfect state of God. Spiritual healers motivated by love and who desire to cure the perilous warring state of evil in man as they rebuild and remould the human personality into a peaceful and harmonious state of godliness. And spiritually enlightened persons that desire to wean mankind away from the state of raw ego-centred nature to the noble state of refined selfless civilisation.

We can never fully understand the present state of human affairs unless we revisit the contributions of the revolutionary philosophers and thinkers that have graced our world in the distant and not so distant past. There are very many of them, some celebrated and some not so renowned but each of these remarkable people have chipped in some valuable contributions to the progress of mankind. This writer will only mention those that he discovered personally in his search for the meaning of life.

REVOLUTIONARY THINKERS: FROM SOCRATES TO THE PRESENT

Conservatively, lets begin our listing from Socrates of Athens, Yeshua (Jesus) of Judea, Mohammed of Mecca, Thomas Bacon of Britain, Galilei Galileo of Italy, Adam Smith of Britain, Thomas Paine of Britain/United States of America, Pierre-Joseph Proudhon of France, Friedrich Nietzche of Germany, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels of Germany, John Stuart Mill of Britain, J. K. Galbraith of USA, etc. etc. You will notice that the listing draws mainly from the Western and Middle Eastern world. It does not mean to say Africa and the Far East were bereft of serious revolutionary thinkers. We can easily name Zoroaster of ancient Iran, Confucius and Lao Tzu of China, Gautama Buddha of India as some of the notable thinkers whose ideas launched the ancient world into new orbits of value and perception. The ideas propounded by these unique individuals have certainly made a lasting difference to our world.

In Africa the body of indigenous religious practices testified to a manifestation of appearances of thinkers even though the philosophy of the religions is almost lost under the heavy weights of codified rituals and ceremonial worships. But there is no doubt that the origins of these religions were informed by cogent revelations on the meaning of life made by some reflective local thinkers. Orunmila, Obatala, Sango, and others were men of flesh and blood revered in the South West of Nigeria as Orisa. They were ancient philosophers that threw some lights into the meaning of life. Their teachings became popular religions until the advent of the Arabs and Europeans into Africa.

It should be mentioned that there were more exchanges of ideas in the ancient world than modern people have realised. And from the history of ideas, it seems each thinker built on the existing foundation of values and ideas laid by the older ancestral thinkers. There was much borrowing of ideas from one region to another, much reflection on the failings of the old ideas, and great efforts made to improve the defects and shortcomings of the older ideas. There was less display of bigotry in the ancient world, as we know it today. People were more open and more receptive to new ideas and of course there was enough room for everyone to propound his/her ideas of how the world was made and of how the world ought to be managed.

Socrates of Athens and Yeshua (Jesus) of Judea were the most luminous stars that are still shining ever so brightly in the spiritual universe of our world. These two gentlemen were the revolutionary thinkers per excellence of their Age. The fire of their unwritten ideas are still burning fresh as ever since they were first lighted in the minds of their contemporaries about 2,400 and 2,000 years ago respectively. Although the student of Socrates - Plato and the second-hand witness of Yeshua - Paul the Apostle by proxy that popularised the teachings did more harm than good in soiling the noble ideals that these two gentlemen stood for in their life times. By some devious coincidence, the two teachers were democratically murdered by the political overlords of their days. Socrates was killed because his accusers charged him with 'neglecting the Athenian gods, introducing new gods and corrupting the young.' Yeshua was similarly slaughtered by an ignominious method because his accusers charged him with blasphemy against the Hebrew god. It should be noted that the religious zealots of every generation have never changed. We hope nobody is deluding him/herself that we are in a modern age and that the atrocities meted to these men cannot happen again. Just be careful.

Since the times of these two teachers, the moral pillar of our world has revolved on the fulcrum laid by the teachings of Socrates and Yeshua. Socrates revealed the body-soul components of mankind and the central importance of the soul in the pursuit of excellence necessary for good life. He opened the senses of the people of Athens to the foolishness of their social order and the wastefulness of the Athenian's crazy pursuit of money, fame and high political positions. On the other hand, Yeshua taught the people of Judea about the easiest and shortest way by which to bring the soul to life into the free state of the reborn or awakened. He emphasised on the need to seek and search for God (knowledge), since it is only the knowledge of truth that can set mankind free. He opened the eyes of his world to the possibilities of the Good News that the Kingdom of heaven can be brought down to planet earth; and that it is possible to achieve true freedom, equity and justice for all and sundry on earth.

Whatever else was adduced to these two noble men should be seeing as mere addendum and explanatory sidelines to the central theme of the role of the soul in human affairs, and the importance of the knowledge of truth to freedom. While the philosophical ideas of Socrates were meant to resolve the grey areas of the past of mankind Yeshua's teaching was designed to link the gory past with the wretched present and to usher the world into a new future of hope, freedom and peace. His teaching tried to show the world that mankind has a duty to dismantle and to rebuild the archaic and ruinous social order.

When we look closely at the ideas popularised by the Western and Middle Eastern thinkers, there seem to be a host of concepts that derived their origins from the Far East. The concepts of body, mind and soul; the concept of justice - do unto others what you want others to do to you; the concepts of God, Devil, heaven, sin, awakening or born again, etc. are all found in the ancient texts of the Far East before the times of Socrates and Yeshua. It might shock some people to hear that Yeshua never said anything particularly new in his teachings. What made him particularly remarkable as a teacher was the breath of freshness he brought into the ancient knowledge, the down to earth manner of his practical discourses on the meaning of life, and his exceptional brilliant ability to synthesise and to simplify the religious mystics of his native land. It should be noted that he never condemned his Judaic background outright but he pointed attention of his listeners to the fundamental defects in the practice of the Mosaic laws and he questioned the unnecessary burden the religious institutions placed on the people.

Moreover, history also recorded that the Chinese were also engaged in similar intellectual and philosophical brainstorming around the time of Socrates. The teachings of Confucius, Lao Tzu, and many others have been shown to be works of very serious philosophy from thinkers fully awakened and possessing living souls. The period between 600BC and 30AD was a time of great heavenly downpour of uplifting ideas to the world. The Greek and Chinese seemed to be the only two peoples in the world who were ready with receptacles to collect the ideas and with facilities to store them as they rained down. It is likely that other regions of the world were also similarly blessed but because they lacked writing skills that is why their posterity have been denied a worthy inheritance and from benefiting directly from these heavenly feasts. Even then we could remark that other peoples of the world, without writing skills, still left their memories in religious and cultural symbols, taboos, rituals, totems, etc.

For the Western Hemisphere and the present phase of human civilisation, one could argue that the defining moment came from Ancient Greece. The Greek philosophers were the forerunners of the art of putting into writing critical philosophical analysis of the physical world in the Western Hemisphere. It was the Greek thinkers that set into motion the liberation of the mind through reason, logic and rational expositions of values. This formidable intellectual culture was abruptly brought to a temporary closure when the Roman Empire accepted Paul's version of the teachings of Yeshua. However, after a perilous Dark Age from the 4th century to the 16th century when the Christian religion dominated the western world as the only absolute truth some flickers of light came to the world by way of Mohammed of Mecca in the 7th century and later from the Renaissance. In the Dark Ages, there was a lot of bon fire made with the books and papyri of ancient writing as the demigods of those era consigned valuable materials from ancient libraries into fire. The rejuvenation of our world came from the few materials of Greek writings salvaged by the Muslim world.

The Renaissance was an important landmark in the history of our world. It was a season of great revival of knowledge when ancient thoughts were been hungrily sought after by the starving minds of Europe. The fever of the revival in ancient thoughts caught Europe like a tidal wave as it tore the region apart. It shook the foundations of the Holy Roman Catholic Church, the global political power of the time, to its core and nothing ever remain same anymore. The fire of the revival raged from the 16th century to the 19th century. It led Europe into intellectual enlightenment, political turmoil, religious re-alignment, political inter and intra-state wars, scientific theorising and experimentation, and naval, terrestrial and space adventures and explorations.

The period set into motion the reconciliation of the grey areas of ancient thoughts and ideas. There were prolific thesis and anti-thesis propounded and refuted on the nature of God; on the origin of man; and on the forms and practices of religious beliefs and dogmas. There were earth-shaking thesis on the nature of the universe; on the human nature; and on the relationship between God and man, between man and the Church, between man and man, and between man and other creatures. There debates on the nature and limitations of religious and political authority; on the nature and extent of the absolute power to be exercised by monarchs; and on the nature and character of the fundamental principles of freedom, justice and equality in societies. The debates ranged far and wide and wars were fought on the basis of differences in perception, philosophy and understanding of the various issues that the renaissance spirit threw up.

It was a difficult time in the history of Europe as Reformation was put in place in different countries and the Church launched Counter Reformation. There were burning of heretics at the stake and there was shedding of the blood of innocent people at the instance and at the whim of the Church. The zealots led by Ignatius Loyola, the founder of the Society of Jesuits, fought unsuccessfully against the tide of history to no avail. They were determined to return Europe to the status quo of an all-powerful absolute and corrupt Church. There were several wars. V.H.H. Green in Renaissance and Reformation recorded that, 'War was more usual than peace in the 16th and 17th century. It has been reckoned that there were only four years between 1450 and 1660 in which there was no organised fighting in Europe, 1548, 1549, 1550 and 1610.' The wars were fought over ideological differences on religious dogma and over doctrinal differences within the same religious body. There were wars over freedom as individuals outside the priesthood sought to worship and to use religious texts as they deem fit. There were wars over who has the right between the Church and the monarchs to exercise territorial and political powers; over trade, gold, silver and women; and over all other kinds of pettiness.

The invention of the printing press in the 1450s firmly established that this momentous wind of change should no longer be reversible. The printing press brought in a book revolution and an explosion in written words all over Europe. Within 30 years of the invention, about 200 cities in Europe had established a press. Publication of books grew in leap and bound and the yearning spirit of the reading public was satiated with all kinds of books. The Greek writings and the Christian Bible were translated into several vernacular languages. They were printed and circulated across the frontiers of Europe. The blind was able to see and the deaf was able to hear in the true sense of intellectual and spiritual awakening. The formidable political and religious institutions of the Holy Roman Catholic Church that depended on the ignorance and gullibility of the people for their existence and power were done a fatal blow. The knowledge that books brought to the life of the people literally set the people free. The fear that was being peddled by the Church could no longer register on the awakened minds of the people. Europe became free indeed from the dogmas of religion and from the age-long travesty of priestly authorities.

The freedom of the mind attained through the Renaissance later translated into the political and industrial revolution of the western world. People across Europe fought for self-determination, first from the Church and later from the Monarchs. The expanding sphere of freedom that the Renaissance facilitated helped to usher into the world the spirit of scientific experimentation, adventure and exploration. In a nutshell, the world is where it is today because of the gains of freedom that the Renaissance spirit brought into Europe.

THE SOCIAL REVOLUTION OF NIGERIA

The social revolution of Nigeria we are proposing shall definitely take its bearing from the ideas and thoughts of Yeshua who was the father of social revolution on planet earth. It is a pity that Paul succeeded in watering down his ideas into something totally different and unrecognisable. However, it is the opinion of this writer that Paul's work must have been part of a divine plan. From hindsight, it is now obvious that humanity was not ready for the liberating ideas of Yeshua at that time. Therefore, heaven must have allowed Paul, through his kind of philosophy and doctrine, to build a shell around the teaching of Yeshua for safekeeping until the time is right. This writer has found Paul's philosophy on the meaning of life and his interpretation of the Good News of Yeshua completely out of tune with the revolutionary ideas, teachings and revelations of Yeshua.

In order to understand fully the teachings of Yeshua on freedom, equality and justice NIDs must endeavour to dig deeper and if possible to bypass the sweet-nothing coatings supplied by Paul. The philosophy or doctrines of Paul that gave life to the gigantic religious edifices of the world could definitely not have anything in common with the teaching of Yeshua that threatened the foundation of the religious institutions of Jerusalem. Paul's doctrine to which all power-loving people - Monarchs, Generals, Popes, Bishops, Fat Cats, Politicians, Usurers, etc. - of the world found pleasantly comforting could not be the same teaching of Yeshua that threatened to tear into smithereens the entire social order of the Roman Empire. The social and economic philosophy of Paul under which every slave-merchant, every slave-owner, every racist and every supporter of economic, political, social and sexual inequalities have found a soothing shelter couldn't be the same teaching of Yeshua that promised fundamental equality, freedom and justice to all and everyone as the bedrock of the Good News.

The inspired and necessary corrections of the age-long misinformation that started at the time of the Renaissance have not ceased. In fact, the efforts greatly intensified from the 17th to 19th century. Most of the thinkers like Thomas Paine, Friedrich Nietzche, Pierre-Joseph Proudhun and many others that the religious world have viciously maligned are surprisingly the few that understood the deep spiritual context and the fundamental meaning of the teaching of Yeshua. In characteristic fashion, the powers of the world and the self-appointed guardians of our spiritual welfare have done everything they could to discredit the works of these uncompromising thinkers. In order to understand the core philosophy of Yeshua and the salient message of his Good News to the world, NIDs shall be advised to spend some quality time with these authors among others.

The aforementioned writers have tried in no small way to correct a host of misinformation popularised by the Christian religion that grew out of Paul's interpretation of Yeshua's teaching. From the Renaissance period down to the Age of Enlightenment thinkers have managed to scratch holes in the shell of obfuscation supplied by Paul. And the ensuing rays of light streaming into the darkness of humanity have been reviving and bringing back to the world the true spirit of the seeker of knowledge that started earlier in Greece. NIDs should take advantage of their sojourn abroad to do justice to the volumes of materials produced by these unusual individuals of the last two centuries. It is a fact that our contemporaries at home are still under the shadow of religious misinformation but those of us living and suffering abroad should be able to free ourselves. We must take advantage as we make use of the easy access we have to diverse materials on history and philosophical thoughts on the meaning of life.

It should be mentioned that what the printing press did for Europe during the Renaissance the computer shall do for Africa and the world in this Millennium. In the battle for the freedom of the defenceless people of the world nobody should doubt for a moment the power of the computer as a fast purveyor of information and knowledge to revolutionise our world completely. Flowing through the thick walls of sensational reports of miracles and other extraordinary events recorded by the Gospel writers we can still find the core teachings of freedom and the principles and mechanisms suggested for the establishment of a totally new social order on earth.

H. G. Wells in A Short History of the World captured very succinctly the gist of the teaching of Yeshua. He was spot on when he writes, 'It was not merely a moral and a social revolution that Jesus proclaimed; it is clear from a score of indication that his teaching had a political bent of the plainest sort. It is true that he said his kingdom was not of this world, that it was in the hearts of men and not upon a throne, but it is equally clear that wherever and in what measure his kingdom was set up in the hearts of men, the outer world would be in that measure revolutionized and made new." Wells goes on to say "Whatever else the deafness and blindness of his hearers may have missed in his utterances, it is plain they did not miss the resolve to revolutionize the world. The whole tenor of the opposition to him and the circumstances of his trial and execution show clearly that to his contemporaries he seemed to propose plainly, and did propose plainly, to change and fuse and enlarge all human life."

A discourse on religion and social revolution is a dangerous territory for any writer. We have tried not to be flippant in this discourse but we know we have said more than enough to draw anger and venom from some quarters. Religion can be a hindrance rather than an asset to the goal of a social revolution. We have observed that most religious people have been conditioned to accept the status quo of the world as given, and to live happily with their deplorable human condition as the act of God. In such a situation, the natural need to ask fundamental question about why they are suffering and wretchedly poor would have died in them a long time ago. They would have been taught to look forward to the Hereafter and to forget about seeking any comfort here on earth. And they would have been encouraged by their spiritual leaders to endure the social, political and economic predicaments of their environment. With such attitude, a truly religious person will be the last person to become involved with anything that promises a radical change of the social order. He or she would rather wait for the Second Coming than soil his/her hands and religious garments while seeking redress for political injustice, social inequality and economic slavery.

We are not under any illusion with respect to the size of the audience in the cyberspace that is actually reading these letters. We know that NIDs are very busy people. Most NIDs have no time for intellectual concerns as they are mostly driven by the need to earn a living and by a greater vanity-motivated need to have material success over and above their contemporaries both at home and in the Diaspora. This category of vanity-driven NIDs sleeps and dreams about making money either by crook or hook. It does not matter how. Some have turned themselves into job prostitutes in the work place since they change jobs faster than they change their underwear. They have no commitment to any ideals or ethical values. If the devil is offering them a job as long as the pay is right they would take it. The ethical consideration of what the employer is really doing has no place in their final decision to take any job on offer. And so there is no illusion at all as regards the number of NIDs that have the time to read these materials.

This is the way it has always been. The greater numbers of the human race at any time in history are always intellectually and spiritually challenged. This is the reason why the very few awakened members of humanity have succeeded time and time again in taken the horde of humanity on a roller-coaster ride. It should be noted that mankind can be awakened to either a godly state or an ungodly state of existence. Awakening can be either spiritual or intellectual or both. When awakening is spiritual, the awakened is motivated by divine love and when it is intellectual, self-love dominates. We can therefore cautiously suggest that it must only be self-love that drives the intellectually awakened members of our world to institute, support, protect and maintain the kind of heinous values that are currently ruling the so-called civilised world. We could not agree less with Herbert Reed (1953) when he writes "Our civilization is a scandal and until it is remade our intellectual activities are vain."

Intellectual awakening is the type that manifests itself when a person seeks knowledge with the sole intent to acquire power, fortune and fame in order to dominate and to own or hold down others of his/her kind. This is the spirit that created royalties, marauding colonialists, racist and apartheid ideologues. It is the same spirit that created slave hunters, slave merchants, slave owners, sweat shop employers paying slave-wages and other ruthless capitalists. It is also the spirit behind the atrocities of the blood-sucking bankers, artful-dodger auditors, fiddling-finger accountants, heartless lawyers, con people as advertising and sales gurus, and voodoo economists. These types of people are those awakened purely and simply to an ungodly state of existence. The motivating force is of a satanic spirit. This is the spirit that the social revolution of Nigeria intends to overcome. It is a serious battle but heaven shall be our guide and light. Unless this spirit is driven out of the centre stage of our world, it is a question of time before our extinction, as a human race, would become a forgone conclusion.

However, it is much easier for the intellectually awakened to progress to the level of the spiritually awakened than for the intellectually challenged. To achieve this revolutionary transformation the intellectually awakened must change the premise of their knowledge acquisition from seeking power over others to seeking power over self; from seeking high political and career positions to seeking spiritual growth and development; and from seeking fame and fortune to seeking love and peace. Whereas the intellectually challenged have the emotional display and superficial characteristics of spirituality they lack the knowledge of its meaning. Since the intellectual component and senses of their being have not been awakened, they attach more importance to the ornaments and symbols of spirituality. They will hold the symbolic performances of the rituals and ceremonies of worship more highly than the lesson the rituals were supposed to teach. Neither do they desire to seek understanding on the reasons why the religious rituals and ceremonies were commanded in the first place. They are very comfortable to hide under mysteries, miracles, and superstitions as valid explanations for the grey areas of doctrine and faith.

At this stage of the social revolution, we do not expect a multitude to understand the jigsaw of the revolutionary puzzles. However, we shall seriously recommend that those who are interested in the social revolution of Nigeria should first be ready and willing to wash them selves clean in the rivers of knowledge flowing freely in the lands of their sojourn. We will give all the praise and glory to the Almighty Creator if only 36 Nigerians in the Diaspora drawn from each of the 36 States in Nigeria are awakened to the message of the discourse. This number is more than adequate for the social revolution of Nigeria. We sincerely believe that there are 36 Nigerians out there already designated by the creator of life for this important assignment. If heaven has chosen you to carry the message of the social revolution to your state of origin and local community you will know when the spirit of truth sets your soul on fire. As you ponder over these issues let the words of John Stuart Mill guide your thoughts. In his works On Liberty and Utilitarianism, Mill writes "The initiation of all wise or noble things comes and must come from individuals; generally at first from some one individual. The honour and glory of the average man is that he is capable of following that initiative; that he can respond internally to wise and noble things and be led to them with his eyes wide open."

The issues we are raising are both spiritual and intellectual. When a soul is set on fire it grows and matures. It is similar to what happens to a pregnant woman. She needs not inform her neighbours that she is pregnant but as the growing foetus develops everyone that can see will know that the woman is pregnant with a baby. Moreover, if a woman does not want to become pregnant, the safest protection is to avoid sexual intercourse. Similarly, a soul that chooses to remain in darkness will be naturally against the idea of seeking knowledge. The knowledge of the truth of existence is the fertiliser of the soul hence it is the only effective means of bringing the soul to the spiritually awakened state. Just as the male sperm fertilises the ovum and results in a bouncing baby, knowledge also possesses the power to fertilise the soul and bring it to the awakened state of the Reborn. In case you are very comfortable with your present state of life, please avoid knowledge at all cost particularly living knowledge of the type that issued forth from the pens of thinkers we mentioned earlier on. These writers shall definitely cause a revolution or a complete change in your life. The ideas they developed have the power to refashion and restructure your values, beliefs, perceptions, attitudes and life goals. Please be warned! Those awakened thinkers are dangerous to your present life styles.

In conclusion, the social revolution of Nigeria shall begin when there is a revolution in the mind of individual Nigerian. Pierre-Joseph Proudhun in What is Property? gave a concise explanation of such a revolution. He writes, 'when our ideas on any subject, material, intellectual or social are completely transformed because of observation which we have made, I call this movement a "revolution", if there is merely a widening or modification of our ideas, this is only "progress".' When a Nigerian receives a diploma or degree from a Higher Institution we can safely say he has made some progress since his basic ideas of life have been modified or widened. It is only when he or she starts to make personal observations of the environment and begins to analyse values and the premises of values that his/her ideas can be completely transformed through reflection. It is only through this process of observation, reasoning and analysis that a revolution of the mind can occur.

This is what this writer is canvassing at this stage. Public demonstration and industrial strike never translate to a social revolution. It cannot be attained by arson, bloodshed and riot. It must start its simple journey from within the soul of each person. It must start with a simple living idea based on the observed need to change a bad situation for the better. It cannot be rushed. It has its own momentum and time frame. When a race or a people is ready for a social and spiritual revolution, it is heaven that raises up men and women to articulate the idea and to canvass it to the team that heaven has designated for the revolution.

Let us learn and be informed by the history of our world. There is nothing that is happening now that is new. Heaven is the custodian of knowledge and heaven is the one that master minded our creation. It is heaven that keeps the timetable of our existence. If heaven is saying to Nigeria today that enough is enough of our foolishness, none of us can say otherwise. If heaven has planned to create new hearts for Nigerians and to write new programme into them based on the values of divine love, none of us can stop it. This period shall call for humility. Let those who think that they know rethink their positions. Let us be open-minded as we face our ignorance squarely and unconditionally. The spirit of truth, the only teacher of our Age, is more than ever ready to teach every soul that is seeking a rebirth into life.

It should be expected that some pragmatic and intellectually awakened Nigerians will be eager to caution and to demand, if you are proposing a fundamental change of the social order what are you going to put in its place? It is a good question. Before we answer, can we also ask from the brilliant political experts to confirm if indeed it is true that the present social order is sickly and deadly? We all need to resolve this simple issue before we can move forward to the next phase of the project. Is the present social order in Nigeria all right and is it capable of building, supporting and sustaining a sane human society? Is the present social order worth defending and keeping intact, as the patriots are demanding? Can this social order produce anything noble apart from corruption, dishonour, dehumanisation, moral gangrene, spiritual decadence, economic bankruptcy, political disharmony, ethnic rancour, and social decay? If our experts cannot convince us otherwise, then why are we still waiting? Let the demolition work begin in earnest.

The Nigerian intellectual giants, prominent experts and eminent personalities must refrain from underrating the human spirit and potentials. We can never know how far a person could jump until he faces a deadly obstacle in his path. The only challenge facing every Nigerian at this moment is the need to remove the timber of spiritual ignorance blocking our senses and to allow powerful sunshine of true knowledge to stream into the mind. This is the only way that can set the soul free to pursue its natural duty as a creative spirit. Let each of us work hard at setting each soul free. This is the only work that concerns each of us. The soul is the master designer, master builder and master beautician. The awakened soul of each Nigerian, as soon as it is allowed to soar and to roam the universe again, shall know what to do and what role to play in the construction of a new social order for Nigeria.

In closing, we shall like to remind NIDs again that their prestigious position in the Western world is still insecure. The demonic global economic system is gradually unravelling at the seams. NIDs should not for a moment think that their positions are safe. The little tolerance you are presently enjoying in the West is as a result of a relatively stable economy. You need to be reminded that as soon as the expected burst of the intolerable over-bloated global economy happens, NIDs, particularly the financially successful ones, shall inevitably become the target of hate and unfounded accusations. This is a fact of history. We are neither making this up nor exaggerating. The warning we raised in January is still valid. There is a need to think ahead. Nigeria is the only country that shall forever be your home. No matter how rotten it is now, it can still be cleaned, redeemed and rebuilt. This shall be the final outcome of the social revolution project when the awakened Nigerians in the Diaspora shall team up, as they join hands and minds together for the great challenges ahead.

May the spirit of truth, the only true teacher bless and enlighten you further.

In The Spirit of Truth

Sam Abbd Israel

A Concerned Common Nigerian

26th JULY 2002

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