IT HAS been said that if you want to cheat a black man, even out of his inheritance, just place the deed of assignment, as lawyers call such, in a book. The greater point is not that the book hides it, but that the black man avoids to exercise his mind as the dead their breath. And anything that connotes thinking, the black man or the Nigerian specifically, avoids like a plague. Of course, books are the symbols and the micro-world of the thinking head as well as the guides to man’s greatest achievements.
And this lack of a thinking head is the very reason we are religious – not, never as prophets and High-Priests, but as congregations. Now, none of the world’s major scriptural or ‘dissertational’ religions was founded by a black man or pointedly a Nigerian. And to worsen matters, all our scholars, especially the Kings Colleges types have been completely fooled, misled that the curtain has been drawn on the founding of new religions, new prophets and newer scriptures. That is, we have all consequentially been misdirected that there is an end to god, and that end begins with us, with our cognitive and epistemic impotence. The question is how can there be a God, the Omni-present, the Omni-capacitated, that is the I am that I am, and we have finished finding and or founding him?
Perhaps, if like James Brown, you are black and proud, we can assure you that now is the greatest hour to found new religions, new prophecies and newer scriptures. And these we assure yet again can be as holy as anyone founded in ancient or desert Palestine and or its neighborhoods. Paradise will only come, we assure and are assured, at the end of all scriptures, not before then, not before any other non-universally inclusive sum of all scriptures. For full disclosures, we are Ofo-Christians and Holy Mother A’Endu is our Patron Saint.
And the alarm might just as well be sounded: All religions are political systems whatever else they claim to be. Religion is a way of distributing, shading and sharing powers, congregated powers. This is in contradistinction to democracy, which is in powers, all powers and power centres made plural, decentralised, and this all progressively. By instincts, if not in their DNAs, all religions are congregators of powers, and thus are anti-democratic, anti-growth and finally anti-modernity.
Let us illustrate with the mundane, with football. Now, Argentina under Maradona was like lightning as they thundered their way to winning the World Cup. The Argentine formation was justly and famously dubbed the (power concentrator) army of one General and 10 recruits – no Colonels, etc. in-between.
Now, the German machine rather like the Biafran BOFF is an army of brave and anonymous colonels. That is the German machine is in the democracy of talents, like BOFF. Out there talents are scattered and not concentrated, unlike in the Argentine formulation, into any one hand. Yet while the Argentine has a Messi, had a Maradona, it is the ‘colorless’ Germans, who are the greater footballing nation and peoples, and are far less corrupt, less opaque than Argentines. At least, they have more World Cups and related trophies to show for it, not to speak of their Puma and Addidas brands at the economic front.
The moral is that the concentration of all powers or talents in one man does not sustain itself, its logic and or the system. Every such system, whether in politics, religion, football, armed robbery and its cousin, coup making, generates turbulence. Stability is only achieved in and with balance and all pervasive scattering and dispersal of all talents and powers. And all turbulent systems are by definition corrupt, or corruption prone, or driven or even death riven, necessarily. That is all concentrations of powers and or talents into one and or a few hands, indicate and generate turbulence, and lead to little else than corruption. This is an iron lore and has existed since ancient times, even before Aso Rock was formed. So, personal morality has nothing, ok little, to do with corruption. Corruption in systems is solely driven by the nature, reach and spread of the powers and power centers. To summarize no man can aggregate power and morality in one hand.
Now the power architecture of the APC-Buhari government is tending toward the Maradona one-man-all-mighty-man formation. That system in spite of itself and or operators, is tempestuous, it is turbulent and given to corruption. Corruption happens not because but in spite of the intentions and so-called moralities of practitioners. Corruption happens because there is a power vacuum for it to fill and be fulfilled in. That is why and how Popes, Imams in spite of themselves have been known to be corrupt. It was not a failure of morality, for these are the custodians of their scriptures, the psalms and the sura. It was a power gap and it was filled and fulfilled in and with corruption. Ahiazuwa.
As a sociologist of power and corruption, I am alarmed at our collective ignorance as a nation. It may be fact or fiction that the president, General Buhari, retired, means well, but that does not concern us as scholars. Our concern as historians is not with the politics or sociology of good intentions, but those of outcomes. So, if Buhari in spite of his morality congregates all powers in the presidency and oil ministry into his hands, and Dr. Ibe Kachikwu concentrates the powers in the NNPC and junior minister in his hands, the following are indicated. The system will like Argentine football take charge, and will be converting effort into load. It will become corrupt in spite of itself and or operators. To do democracy is to think. To think is to depersonalise. And to depersonalise is to de-concentrate and scatter all powers. But think Nigerians won’t, because of their lust for the powers of pagans.
Simply put, the aggregation, the concentration of powers leads to and aggravates corruption in spite of the morality and or alleged morality of the men at play. The men are at play, we warn; it is power that is at work.
And if we are to return to the Germans, what just happened in Volkswagen tells a volume. In the words of Professor Dalia Marin of University of Munich: “Volkswagen, it turns out, took a different approach from that of most other German firms. Rather than decentralising power, CEO Martin Winterkorn sat at the head of a centralised, command-and-control organisation in which he acted as a patriarch. His desire to take the company to the very top of the global car industry, surpassing Toyota, put enormous strain on his managers to deliver growth. The result – a decision to cheat on emissions tests – says less about Germany’s culture of manufacturing than about rot at the car company, beginning at the very top.’’
Now, if we leave the Germans to their Oktoberfest, it can be in truth be said that what APC-Buhari is doing is like unto what the way of the Arabs, typified by the new King of Saudi Arabia is about. Out there the dude is concentrating all powers in a few hands, along the palms of cronyisms, of nepotisms and alleged personality and personalised trusts. By this it can safely be said that APC is off the cliff and is falling into the worst corruption in living memory. If you bet your penny you will lose a pound, of flesh, cash and all. Nigerians ronu.
Our advice is to remind us that modernity is to democratise and not to congregate powers. And our last word is: APC and General Buhari, retired, please, don’t Arabise us; Germanise, Germanise us, in the name of the gods who made us. We don’t need one god-general, we need several human all too human Colonels. This matter of corruption as a function of powers architectures, is explored in details in our book:Corruption in Africa: Resolution Through New Diagnosis.