By Abubakar Jimoh
American United philosopher Huston Smith once stated that the crisis in which the world finds itself in this new millennium is as a result of something deeper than politics and economics.His postulation can be aptly applied to the socio-politico crises experienced in the country after the announcement of the presidential election results in Nigeria recently, which has resulted in economic losses, political degradation, social disintegration and manmade disaster; a situation that can be likened to that of the Nigerian Civil war in 1970s. However, it would be logical to analyze socio-politico crises in any society as a phenomena arising from the process of class struggles, social class and social changes.
In an attempt to analyze class division and struggle in human society, a German political philosopher and revolutionist; Karl Marx observes that the history of all hitherto existing human society is the history of class struggles. Class struggles would emerge from the feeling of social inequality, preferential treatment before the law, social recognition; all these are found in our socio-economic, political and religious institutions today in Nigeria.
Consider the issue of political system instituted in Nigeria, where election or political appointment is determined not by personal competence, integrity and accountability, but by region, religion, social class which an individual belongs. It is not more news that individuals are selected to sit on the front rows in places of worship based on their positions, social or economic status in the society.
From the foregoing, one can imagine the gap between the president of a country and the common citizens, the pastors/chief Imams and their followers, the rich and the poor, the kings/emirs and their subjects. In an attempt to bridge this gap, some people would do anything within their powers to achieve this; even at the expense of societal unity and harmony.
In every society, there exists the ruling class and subordinate class, this division is based on the contribution or socio-economic status of the persons involved. Naturally, the relationship between these two is usually antagonistic.
The relationship between the upper and lower classes in the society would not result in violence if the people are well catered for, if there is justice and equity, freedom of speech, religious freedom, functional political system, free and fair electoral system, integrity and accountability in political appointments, compulsory basic education and enlightenment. Once the society deviates from these, there will emerge social disintegration, violence against humanity, manmade crisis and revolution would take place.
Everyone has different motive for participating in a revolution. In other word, while some would see revolution as a means to achieve national development and political freedom, others may view it as an opportunity to satisfy their personal, selfish, inhuman, devilish and sentimental desires.
This is evident in the post election violence in some parts of Nigeria, which resulted in massive killings of innocent citizens, destruction of property, burning of worship centers amongst other crime. This of course is nothing, but non-nationalistic, unpatriotic and non-humanistic approach towards class and political struggle.
No wonder when Karl Marx stated that human beings act consciously, but they can act with false consciousness. They do not necessary understand why they want to realize certain social or political plans, why they want to maintain or change economic or judicial institutions; and especially, they rarely understand in scientific sense, the law of change, the material and social precondition for successfully conserving or changing such institutions.
The post-election violence could be seen as lack of basic understanding that the outcome of such violent struggle might be too large to manage and the intention of some participants may be different from the intention of the main actors. This could result in intrinsic backpedaling of our political and economic development, social integration, national unity, mutual respect and understanding.
A French philosopher and the founder of sociology, Auguste Comte, in response to the scientific, political, and industrial revolutions of his day, was fundamentally concerned with an intellectual, moral, and political reorganization of the social order. Therefore, Comte saw the adoption of the scientific attitude as the key to social, political and industrial reconstructions; and recognized the value of religion in contributing to social stability.
So far, hardly does violent approach to national struggles yield any positive results; instead it brings about negative and long term economic and political damage to the nation, emotional and psychological imbalances to the people. It makes our economy unsafe for materials, capital and human investments in the international community.Revolution in any form is achieved not from social disintegration, but mutual respect and understanding, individual knowledge and intellectuality; the bases through which the world heroes achieved their political and social struggle.
The non-violent approach adopted by Martin Luther King (Jnr.) resulted in the social and political freedom of the blacks in the United States; in the same vein, Nelson Mandela successfully put an end to the racial discrimination practiced in South Africa; Mahatma Gandhi achieved political freedom for the Indians and he stated that ‘non-violence is the first article of my faith. It is the last article of my faith’; Kwame Nkrumah with non-violence, led the Ghanaians to independence from British colonialists; just as Sir Ahmadu Bello, Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, Dr Nnamdi Azikwe and Chief Obafemi Awolowo with non-violence led Nigerians to political independence from the Britain.
Therefore, we need to be properly enlightened and educated so as to understand the long term negative effects of political violence and social discrimination, violence jeopardizes development, social integration and rob people of their psychological and emotional stability.
Abubakar Jimoh via firstname.lastname@example.org