By Jimanze Ego-Alowes
TUE, MAY 28 2019-theG&BJournal-Dr. Sam Amadi was at AIT on 27th May 2019. Amadi, for readers who may have forgotten, lectures law at an Abuja based university. Amadi was also a former boss at some agency.
Anyway, Amadi said something wonderful. Perhaps, as a lawyer he went sectarian and restricted himself to the law and matters thereof.
Amadi said something like this. That lawyers in Nigeria are trained in a prosaic manner without context. To these Nigerian lawyers, their understanding of the law is bromidic: ”section this, subsection that.” These lawyers, according to Amadi, do not understand the philosophical contexts or underpinnings of the law. And a part of this philosophical context of the law, is to help distribute powers across the society etc. To confess, Amadi put things more elegantly than I can or my memory will let me do.
Then he concluded with something most profound. It is that it so happens that Nigerians, now senior citizens, who read classics – at the University of Ibadan etc. – understand the spirit of the law better than lawyers. Classics, we may remind ourselves, are essentially, the works that created Western Civilization. So those classics are an order of civilization, or in other words, civilization in living words.
I can tell he got it right. But as we opened, he was unnecessarily, if understandably, being a Nigerian lawyer himself, partisan, even tribal, to his profession.
The matter is not really a legal thing. It is the whole gamut of civilization that is in peril under our collective watch. Our people are not civilized. And someone has to put it this blandly if only to help save ourselves. If it is not so blandly put, we did end up deluded and deluding ourselves, and never coming to our redemption.
Whether it is a lawyer or judge, whether it is a journalist or an engineer, the vast majority of those who call themselves Nigerians are barbarians. That is barbarians in the Greek sense of the word. Barbarians, as the Greeks had them, are those who have not been admitted or made themselves admissible to culture, high culture. Counterintuitively, as postulated by Plato, a great sign of high culture is in your grasp or lack, of mathematics. This explains in part why in being barbaric, Nigerians have more lawyers of weight than mathematicians of any order. We simply are an un-mathematical and thus barbaric people. This is the word of Plato.
So, even if you solved the lawyerly wahala, the law and the lawyers, will be re-infested by the larger society, that is by the semi or outright barbaric rot that is the society.
And this brings us to our conclusion. And that conclusion is that we have written that despite popular and all pervasive ignorance, Nigeria’s problem is not leadership, is not Caesar. Nigeria’s problems are with civilization. We are an uncivilized peoples. We know no mathematics. O my God, we need Archimedes not Caesar, not Buhari. O my God, we need Buddha not Caesar. O my God, it is Buddha who founds and advances civilization, not Caesar. O my God…. Thus the only way to save ourselves is to found or let it be founded from amongst ourselves our prophets. That is to say prophets who will speak in lingo of akpu and garri, gbegiri soup and amala, and so on and so forth. It is only such men, that is men who can explain us to ourselves, not men who will lead us, that will save us. It is only after such as those prophets, those Buddha or Archimedes have come that there will be roles and relevance for Caesar, for the leader. Before that we watch the tower while our gods are asleep, un-woken by the prophets. The prophets we never had, alas. All else is humor. Ahiazuwa.
Jimanze Ego-Alowes (PhD) is Author and public commentator