Real Time Analytics

Nigeria According To Personal and Political Ethics (I), By Bámidélé Adémólá-Olátéjú

Senator-Musiliu-Obanikoro

Obanikoro did not come back home because he loves Nigeria. He came home because America will not let him be Musiliu Obanikoro. He will rather come home and bribe judges or even be in prison for a few months where he gets to renovate his own wing of the prison to taste, have a generator in place and all his comfort while his wife can still come around and pass the night with full cooperation of the Warders.

The return of Obanikoro to Nigeria inspired this article. I have always wanted to take my readers on a journey into ethics and how our lack of it as a country has shaped who we are and what we have become. It is long established that people find resonance in environments, concepts and experiences they can relate to. In like manner, our politics is almost always defined by how state institutions contributes to our successes as persons and how they help us, when we fail as persons.

The Nigerian politician, top civil servant, company executive and many in high public office cannot exist comfortably for long in America, Europe or elsewhere in the West, except in Nigeria. This is because the relationship between their personal and political ethics is at variance with what is required to live peaceably in the countries of the West. An Obanikoro will come back to Nigeria and its chaos because it is where he functions best. Nigeria is the society he grew up in and fouled up. It is where he benefits from ingrained ethical and moral dysfunction.

Every individual’s private, economic, professional and political lives are moral realities. These moral realities have distinct ethical boundaries. Within the context of existence, there exists a code of ethics in everyone’s life, and it has personal, social, political, economic and professional dimensions. The distinction and relationship between personal and political ethics should interest us as a people if we are to grow and compete globally as a people. Living irresponsibly and unaccountably as individuals, and collectively as a nation, is ruining the potentials of Nigeria to attain greatness. The nations we love to holiday in and run to, long understood that the good of humanity is regulated by personal ethics which are, in turn, directly governed by personal conduct. There is congruence between the moral order of life and processes of the political society. The recognition of this relationship and it’s practical application is what made those countries excel.

We can remember when rain started beating us as a nation when we begin to understand that the personal development and ethics of man presupposes certain social and political conditions. In the case of the Nigerian, the constraints of myopic ethnic and religious prisms gets in the way and distorts the fundamental concepts of what is considered the common good. We are in such a hole because we have a few good men. A good man equals a good citizen because personal ethics translates into political ethics. That is why ethical virtues are objectives of political laws. The reason behind our underdevelopment, corruption, mediocrity and impunity can be found in the annexation of our collective morality by materialism and bigotry. We have no unifed concept of the common good, we have no common tradition that is baked in us and we do not have shared ethical paradigms in our polity. We have no grasp of the utilitarian dimensions of our social and political relationships.

We are caught in a moral loop today, because we have no idea of what right is to be done to God, to society, and to us. Our institutions cannot evaluate the relationship between the form that society gives itself and its reason for being, which is the common good.

Ethics is moral knowledge and it is unitary. As Nigerians, our religion influences our personal ethics, familial ethics, and political ethics and each one has its own logic. But what is our religion? Our religion is not Christianity, Islam or any other. Our religion is MONEY! How was Nigeria formed? On what was it built after independence? What are our shared values? Do we have a galvanising ideal? The actions of a nation is the collective actions of the citizens. Personal ethics evaluates the morality and the virtue of justice of any action in private as it relates to the good of human life. Political ethics falls on the society, the actions it takes and how it directs legal, constitutional, administrative, economic, health etc. institutions based on its own goals for the common good. The morality a nation bestows on itself depends on its definition of the common political good. While political ethics cannot determine the morality of our individual actions, the actions of the individual is subject to political ethics, based on its legality.

The civil violations of the Jonathan era went unchallenged. Obanikoro is back in Nigeria and in Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) custody today, given his conduct in the Ekiti elections. Is the militarisation of Ekiti polls in line with political ethics defined as concerned with the proper ordering of the life of a community? Is the abrogation of people’s right to free movement and associations during the said election in line with the requirement that goods and personal behaviour with public interest be protected and promoted by the state? Political ethics demands that personal behaviours which attempt to oppose public interest be declared illegal; how about a Defence minister unleashing sniffer dogs on voters to intimidate them?

Obanikoro did not come back home because he loves Nigeria. He came home because America will not let him be Musiliu Obanikoro. He will rather come home and bribe judges or even be in prison for a few months where he gets to renovate his own wing of the prison to taste, have a generator in place and all his comfort while his wife can still come around and pass the night with full cooperation of the Warders. Obanikoro came back because he is tired of not seeing people at his door every morning begging for crumbs. He is tired of driving himself. He is tired of driving without siren blazing and mobile police escort. He is sick of having to carry his own bags, phones and fetch his own things. He has no respect for political ethics. He, along with many like him in public life, has worked against establishing the illegality of the ethically negative behaviours which threaten the Nigerian common political good.

We are caught in a moral loop today, because we have no idea of what right is to be done to God, to society, and to us. Our institutions cannot evaluate the relationship between the form that society gives itself and its reason for being, which is the common good.

Bámidélé Adémólá-Olátéjú a farmer, youth advocate and political analyst writes this weekly column, “Bamidele Upfront” for the PREMIUM TIMES. Follow me on Twitter @olufunmilayo

PremiumTimes

One Response to Nigeria According To Personal and Political Ethics (I), By Bámidélé Adémólá-Olátéjú

  1. Fred says:

    This all so interesting …You know the drama unfolding…Just thinking aloud – what promises were made to Obanikoro to turn him into a State Witness? You know a snitch on his beloved party…Eitherway, we are happy that all these is coming to the fore so Niaja people can know the stuff our so-called leaders are made of and how deep Nigeria and Nigerians have been raped in the name of governance.
    It would be nice however, if after all these show and tell, we can actually begin to have convictions and not have corruption charges thrown out in the name of legal technicalities. EFCC, please let’s have water tight prosecutions.

    Thanks

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *