Thursday, May 26, 2011


When we think about Civilization, the first thing that comes to our heads, are the mind-boggling marvels that science constantly astounds us with at a frenetic pace!

We would think of aeroplanes that fly at Mach II, telescopes that can see the universe one million years ago, nano technology, eradication of small pox, and whatever we deem to be a life-changing marvel!

All these, and more, are indicators of civilization. But as far as I am concerned, the single factor that points to Civilization in any society, is it's  ability to manage, and resolve conflicts, in a non-destructive manner!

One instrument Civilized society use to achieve this, is the concept, or construct, of the rule of law!

This is the accepted understanding, that the law is supreme, and is capable of resolving all conflicts! It is also an acceptable notion in Civilized societies, that agents of the law, do not represent themselves, but are instruments of the society's collective will to be civilized.

That is why I am truly saddened by the atrocious events involving soldiers, and police personnel in Lagos.

In a reprehensible show of shame, soldiers killed police men, in a tit for tat retaliatory manner!

It is the clearest sign for all to see, that we actually have not descended from the trees yet, and still dwell in caves!

Forget the I-pad you are reading this article on, and the water bed you are luxuriating on, deep down, when you scratch an average Nigerian, you would find the most primeval of brutes,  attired in the latest suit Savile Row can offer!

Need I talk about our well-known love for flouting simple traffic rules at the slightest indication that traffic is likely to be stalled.

We see "civilized" Nigerians, leaving the road in their expensive "civilized" cars, and taking to the side walk:  they do, because it is there for the taking! Pedestrians who are currently using it safely, do not matter, and can be hounded off with disdain!

And you say we are civilized? We are not! We are just like the Giant Humboldt Current Red Squid, that loves to cannibalize it's mates!

What the soldiers did, is just a symptom of the systemic chaos that rules this nation from the very top!

We see it in reckless expenditure by government, unlawful, and uncivilized, actions that are guaranteed to end the political careers of people in civilized societies; to our leaders, are actually like the badges that boy scouts collect ! The more they have, the higher they are regarded!

People do things, terrible things, because they know they can get away with daylight murder! There is very little respect for the law, and police men too! One can argue that the police have lost the moral high ground they out to occupy through their malfeasance!

But that is not an excuse for one to kick the law, and by extension all of us, in the teeth!

We need to evolve a society where a private in the police force, would be sufficient to arrest a serving General in the Nigerian Army, when the General breaks any of our civil laws!

I can hear you laughing and saying it will never happen, but it ought to, for that is the hallmark of a Civilized society!

The fact that a person belongs to any of the military, or paramilitary, outfits, does not make such a person exempt from obeying the law, or above it! Rather, all uniformed personnel, are supposed to defend the law, to the extent of giving their lives for it! 

It is when this becomes a reality in Nigeria, that we can truly say we are civilized!

Right now, we live in an infernal hell, governed by chaos!


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