Need for a School of Common Sense for Nigerian Politicians




The Scottish School of Common Sense flourished in the late-18th and early-19th century. It found its roots in responses to the writings of such philosophers as John Locke, George Berkeley, and David Hume. The central concern of the school was the defense of common sense against philosophical paradox and skepticism. Common-sense beliefs govern the lives and thought even of those who avow non-commonsensical beliefs, and matters of common sense are within “the reach of common understanding”. And so it remained in human kind until I came face to face with the modern day Nigerian politician.Our modern day politician has inadvertently decided to turn the well-known postulation on its head.

Frankly, I believe there is a virus that infects the brains of our politicians once they are elected. It destroys all common sense, and spurs the ‘grab and spend’ center of the brain. It also does not engage the brain before engaging the mouth.

Well, you can’t just blame the politicians. We elect them. The popular sing song is: “The blame goes to the people”. You will get the government you deserve, not the government you want. The people carelessly allowed it to happen, don’t bother themselves with understanding it, and so they get what they deserve. If you are unwilling to take on the personal responsibilities that come with freedom and gain, then you will not get them”. I partially agree with the above. Isn’t it high time we stopped playing the victim and blaming everyone else for our problems? Isn’t it time we realized we all allowed it because we did not raise our heads and pay attention? What better time is there to accept that we have failed our country as citizens of a land which bequeathed us so much in terms of resources and fertility?

Lack of common sense leads to what a friend of mine calls over-feeding and over-feeding leads to nothing short of stupidity of imbecilic proportions! How else can one describe the recent fight by some pathologically ‘kleptomanic’ governors who spoke through their commissioners for finance during a Federation Allocation Committee meeting over revenue allocation? This gluttonous band of rebels refused to approve that month’s allocation to their states because of a short-fall in oil sales due to vandalism of pipelines. And I ask, do you think that putting the money into the hands of government in the states will solve our problems? It has never. You may want to examine what exactly these clearly over-feds have done with state revenue in the past. That our governors have become the greatest thieves of our resources is no longer news. That they have hugely under-developed our nation is also non contestable. Down south, the derivation funds have not helped transform the oil producing states. What they did with it is all too evident. These thieving governors enriched themselves and proceeded to use the left over buck to enrich killers of different shades to cause mayhem in their land and protect their selfish interest, a situation which today gave rise to what we now know as militants. Up North, the people have been so raped that they have taken to suicide bombing and terrorism. The South West and the East are not much different. The glaring fact now is that if the state governments feel they can spend unlimited amounts of money, then the problem of inflation is going to continue. Nigerians still do not seem able to grasp the situation. They keep dancing to the tunes of propaganda being spread by the governors because it seems we have all lost common sense in the truest sense of the word. We join them in this ‘voodoo-like’ dance of deceit against us lending our weak voices to shouts of injustice against them. Why can’t we spot the lies? It is our money, we must all make them accountable for past revenues, and we must ask them questions.

Fact is, if we the people don’t wake up, then we will continue to degrade even further.

It is open knowledge even to my 10 year old son now that when politicians run for election/re-election, they tout their experience, problem solving abilities, leadership, etc. Once in office, most show themselves to be liars because they are unable to solve any problem or they get so involved in their partisan politics of divide and rule that they forget about their constituents. They can’t focus on the goal and walk through the contents of their intended manifesto (where any was tabled during campaign) to see what the problems and impact will be.

I certainly never supported these people. I only support Jonathan lately given what has been happening on the political scene and I pity him because the rabble rousers and the self-appointed political elite will end up trying to use his gentle persona to advance their agenda. I don’t care for those other people because most of them are clowns who find honesty alien to their inclinations. A lot of these things go on behind our backs without us knowing about them. It isn’t our fault. You can’t fully fault the people. We voted them into office but we aren’t at fault for what they did. Do you think we are their constituents? Who do you think they are really working for?

I hate to break it to you, but President Jonathan brought this upon himself. He showed his fangs in changing the actual directions of things a bit late. But I wish and hope he does continue to follow his newly charted path.  In my view, he has cut the image of a good president who will undo a lot of the problems being caused by these self-serving hypocrites and enemies of progress.

Pitifully, their rank is getting swollen by the day. Let’s take a look at the two most visible ones, PDP and APC. Two birds of the same plumage, self-serving teams in the same game. Yes, make that an emphasis, ‘the same game’. It doesn’t really matter which side you are for, as long as you keep up with and support the game. Enyimba vs Kano Pillars, doesn’t matter which team you like, they are still playing the same game of football. The difference is that while regular football players largely apply intelligence and common sense during the duration of a game, our self-appointed messiahs are their own Judge, Jury and Executioner.

Now back to our suggestion for a school of common sense – because these people lack basic ethics, there is no such thing as “common sense” in their handling of political issues. It’s a myth. Though there are, often, common cultural norms and the conclusions that lead from those norms that should guard behavioral patterns, to our modern day political players, it doesn’t make them real, wise, true, or anything of the sort. Because telling the truth in a world of universal deception doesn’t play well with their listening parties. The present crop of Nigerian politicians is an example that an honest politician is an oxymoron.

Just take a look around you; where is the common sense among politicians, and in politics?  Simple… It’s lacking. As it has always been, there are two choices in this country for them to pick from. The politics of aspiration or the politics of desperation. Majority of them rushed onto the latter train. As things stand, no intelligent, common-sense thinking person will enter our world of politics and that leaves the door open for the braggadocios. Sadly, Common sense is no longer common, and that is enormously disheartening. This didn’t happen overnight. Oh no, this was a process that spanned many, many years among these corrupt, incompetent, sleaze scumbags who have infested our political system.

With over twelve years already gone in our democratic trek, it is sad that we are boxed in a political system that does not have a defining process; this set of politicians are pre occupied with their own survival. They have not been able to identify the needs and concerns of the people by interacting with the public at different levels of society, addressing these needs and concerns through the formulation of policies and thirdly executing their policies in the public. They seem only enmeshed with jostling for power for themselves, the people count less.

At this junction, I, Ogbeni Olawale Dawodu hereby advocate for a Political School of Common sense (PSC) for all existing and aspiring politicians in Nigeria. Perhaps that is what we need these days or how else can we account for the current state of affairs? The first compulsory course should be IDEOLOGY 101 because Political parties are more effective when they are founded on a set of ideas; this is so because IDEAS LIVE LONGER THAN PEOPLE. If a political party has a strong grounding in ideology, it can keep its members and supporters and provide leadership to the governed, even if the leadership changes. This is exactly what is lacking in all the political party structures strewn across our land today.

Oh well, common sense is not that common after all, if you doubt me, look at those macabre dancers otherwise addressed as politicians.


1 Comment

  1. Pingback: The roof is gradually crumbling and the pillars are going helter-skelter, it’s time we rose up! | Sunthosh Haudakar

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