Dr Joe Abah, the Director General of Bureau of Public Service Reforms and academic, in very casual style unwittingly or knowingly re-triggered a limited exchange on one of the most contentious controversies in modern intellectual history; what is the role the intellectual in society? The triggering sardonic comment by Dr Abah (@DrJoeAbah) on Twitter yesterday said “How to become an “expert”  in Nigeria: Be jobless; go around TV stations & beg to appear on ANY programme; criticise all govt actions. Done!” Of the many replies he got [most of them friendly] one by Mark Spencer (@Ack_Spencer) which was equally sardonic read “How to become an expert, sign up as media influencer visit all radio &TV station[s] hailing govt inefficiencies and cluelessness”. This is really the flashpoint of the controversy. However, the contention Dr Abah triggered is one many avoid because of the unexpected possibilities it can generate. Continue reading
When I read the article titled ‘The Welcome Party for Ibori’ by Simon Kolawole, it was thought-provoking journalism considering the context of Delta State’s ex-Governor, James Ibori’s much-celebrated release from Belmarsh Prison, London, England. Many Nigerians mostly see Ibori’s celebrated release by mostly people from his home state of Delta as a national disgrace and most rightly so. However, when you consider Nigeria’s history of convictions for corruption, many who complain about Ibori’s smug prison release may simply be tribalists who would do the same if “their man” was convicted and eventually released. The real crushing national disgrace for Nigeria is that it still cannot convict her Big Thieves in her courts and rely on foreign governments to convict “selected” offenders. Yet, Nigeria celebrates Independence. Continue reading
The difference between pure science and applied is incredibly huge when one considers their particular usefulness to society. Pure science is mostly cerebral and experimental but applied science is of totally practical use to society. Technological know-how, medical understanding, microscopic explorations, extra-terrestrial conquests and superstition minimisation are all the dividends of applying science to all manner of problems encountered by human beings. In all societies, developing and advanced, it is the application of science and not mere theory that has made the technosphere so amazing and useful. This is certainly not an attempt to denigrate pure science, whatsoever. One can only apply scientific solutions to everyday and rare problems, big and small if the practitioner or student knows enough pure science, to begin with. It is the application of science that makes tonnes of metal to fly in the sky, incurable diseases curable, summer foods to grow in winter, people to communicate with each other over thousands of miles in real-time, meat to be preserved for months. Pure science and applied science are truly beautiful, even though they can be put to ugly uses.
Today is the 80th birthday of Wole Soyinka. I may not be a fan of his but his work and achievements have their own stories.
Written in 1962, the play The Lion and The Jewel is probably Soyinka’s simplest and least-known work but it will perhaps turn out to be his most enduring due to its evolving contemporary relevance. It is also one of the outstanding works from post-colonial literature to come out of Nigeria, if not the entire Commonwealth.
It is a play about two men, Lakunle and Baroka, both vying for the hand in marriage of a village belle, Sidi. Lakunle a school teacher represents what Peter Palmer Ekeh calls a ‘good citizen’ i.e. one who rejects the traditional ways and embraces civic responsibility by way of adherence to modern colonial sensibilities and morality. Baroka the village Bale (leader) represents the ‘lucky citizen’ one who eschews colonial modernity and personifies the primordial character of Nigerian society i.e. the “Nigerian Way”. Sidi is a young virgin who is virtually unaware of the deeper tensions of the traditional primordial and modern colonial forces contending over her; her destiny is to either become a good or lucky citizen depending on who marries her. The good citizen conscientiously by moral constraints puts more into society than he or she receives from it, while the lucky citizen is a spontaneous maximiser who exploits society for what its worth. In the end, Baroka wins Sidi to his side. He deflowers her by deception, claiming he is impotent making Sidi drop her guard then demonstrates his full potency by taking her unawares. The man who takes her virginity becomes her husband. Continue reading