News+and+politics religion philosophy the cynic librarian: The Echo of a Democratic Philosophy in Africa

Sunday, January 01, 2006

The Echo of a Democratic Philosophy in Africa

In an age of big business, mass communication and its attendant manipulation for special and self interests, it's often difficult to have your tuned ear to the sound of what the words of democracy still sound like.

In Africa, that sound seems to echo from a past long forgotten to America's jaded ears. But is it the past or the future that this echo beckons from? ...

In a vibrant news article "2005: A brief philosophical survey," Douglas Anele describes simply and lucidly the political events that have marked the past year in Nigeria. The title would strike some as odd, since its "philosophy" is not that of the academics. What type of philosophy it is is itself worth some discussion.

The echoes of democracy that I hear in this man's words include those like the following:

Some Nigerians have offered superstitious explanations for the air crashes. It has been claimed, for instance, that ritualists looking for human blood, using diabolical occultic means to get it, are responsible for the air disasters. Like all superstitious explanations, it is extremely difficult to provide corroboratory empirical evidence for this theory. A better explanation can be found by investigating thoroughly and critically Nigeria’s aviation sector. Aviation experts generally agree that years of neglect of aviation infrastructure, corruption by both the operators of the airlines and the supervising ministry and parastatals, and the use of out-dated, dilapidated, poorly maintained aircraft have done serious damage to the aviation industry. Late Captain Jerry Agbeyegbe, was at the forefront of the campaign for air safety in Nigeria, but his warnings were ignored.
Anele's political philosophy is stated in straightforward, honest terms:
The good life, the way I see it, is one inspired by love and guided by knowledge. Hence, our leaders should strow more love to the populace by removing greed and the love of primitive accumulation, and provide amenities for the people. It is a big shame, for instance, that electricity supply is still epileptic, contrary to the president’s promise to end it by 2001. Our leaders have too much money in their hands, and this encourages obscene opulence amongst their family members, friends and cronies. Our leaders should reexamine their lifestyles for, as Socrates the epistemological midwife of ancient Greek Philosophy stated, an unexamined life is not worth living. Nigerian leaders must curtail their greed, and focus more on service delivery to Nigerians. Since all of us will die one day and no one can predict the exact moment when it will come, what is the sense in accumulating wealth one will not use? It is insane, a sign of pathological disorder infact, to divert public funds to private use just to satisfy the craving for primitive accumulation.

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