Lessons from Plato and Socrates

Mom: Prof said you don’t go to visit her anytime you are around.

Me: *trembles surprised* ol boy, mama asked for me specifically? *smiles* Okay, I’ll go visit her before leaving.

Mom: Do that…

That formed the basis for another visit to Delphi, and the inscription ‘know thyself’ began to ring like a recurrent theme in my head as I subconsciously knew in my mind that with the removal of the fuel subsidy, Orunmila, Socrates and Plato would use their favourite mouthpiece to me to pique my imagination as they opened up new areas of thought to me. I left home that morning chanting the mantra: ‘I know who I am…’

True to form, Prof didn’t disappoint, an erstwhile Unilag dona who did a stint at LASU, she got right into the onslaught once I was comfortably seated. On her side she had a fellow I’d never met but who showed exactly why she was keeping him close by supplying historic facts to buttress her assertions.

when I got home, I was google-ing like hell, lousy history student that I am, I prefer my history lessons as movies or novels. So every time someone makes historical assertions, like a good student that I am, I actually lazy die I do some research to determine the veracity of such statements. Buh that is not the reason for this discourse…

She started her analysis by offering up the presidency’s position that it was due to a cabal benefiting immensely from the subsidy on petroleum products that the subsidies had to go. She then cited an example saying that as an erstwhile lecturer at Unilag, she noticed the her department’s car was always having issues. when she got tired of it, she went on a fact finding mission and discovered that some cabal had devised a means to buy just one car for several departments. And as trusting lecturers and administrators, all they had to see was the car’s papers to substantiate the belief that they had a car for the department.

When she found this bit of info, she made a ruckus at the transport place and those in charge released a car to her. What she didn’t do afterwards was fight the other departments battles having gone to solve her own problem. That was one instance. Another instance was when student rioted and said they would not appear to be examined during examinations, she told how the school authority dialogued with the students and negotiated itself out of a potentially bad situation by offering the students extended time to prepare for the exams or they forfeit the year and write two years exams at once. Of course the exams were conducted as they stipulated.

 

How does this affect the price of fuel you might be wondering, stick with me as I try to pique your mind a little. It is only in Nigeria that no explanations are given for what the government does. Fuel subsidy have been removed, to which strangely, I am not averse, my question is, the money the presidency hopes to save, who gets it? Who is held accountable if the roads that are supposed to be repaired/constructed are abandoned midway? What happens to the education sector that is all but dead, thanks to few universities that still allow the poor man’s kids have a hope. Otherwise, we’d all be undergoing apprenticeship at the nearest artisan’s workshop.

 

Whatever happened to our refineries? as the eighth largest producer of crude oil in the world, how come we don’t have a functional refinery to refine the crude oil instead of importing refined oil whose raw materials were bought from us? Who monitors the shipments of oil vessels coming into the country and has the integrity to say there has been a lie told in the reports? this is the bone of contention of the presidency by the way If the powerful government of Nigeria can’t monitor it’s ports, how will the masses do it? think the government’s weak, how’s the new year going and who’s your favorite celeb now?

 

As Nigerians cry out and shout, gyrating like a chicken who its head has lost, the question to my people is Fela’s voice before fuel was ever drilled in this country, didn’t our fathers eat and survive? They could even afford as many as three wives before they came to thirty. Nowadays, guys can hardly support a wife and we’re the ones living the good life oo, how? The average Nigerian youth is a heavy consumer of imported goods; me sef join x_x yet there’s no technology or goods being exported outta Naija on a massive level to rival our dependence on crude oil.

 

We can shout, rant and rave. Cursing the government to no end, but know this, Albert Einstein lost his parents at a tender age and today E=MC^^2 is a formula that we can’t neglect. Steve Jobs had every right to become a tout as would have been the case in Naija, but he defied the odds and today, Nigerians are protesting via their ipads and iphones. His memory lives… the crux of the matter therefore is, even with the government’s insensitivity, there’s hope yet for us as a people.

 

Since when it’s all said and done, not one Nigerian is willing to become a matyr in the revolution and fight to better this country, choosing instead to tweet, fb or send messages via bbm; making jokes about a dire situation. Can’t we all agree that we have won the first round even though we got sucker punched. Our laugher and humor soaring to higher levels as creativity prevails the land. let us channel that into striving to turn our nation around. we may have to buy fuel, but do we really need to import all those other goods? With patronage, won’t our industries get better and bigger, to the point that we can export and have alternate means of income generation?

 

Plato was a student of Socrates, and possibly invented philosophy. but he didn’t offer answers, just asked questions that the enlightened mind ruminates on and goes ah! remember Archimedes? I was told an ifa verse that I have forgotten, but when translated means ‘when you wake up first ponder on the thoughts from the previous day(s), it is after you have solved the turmoil in your heart that you’re ready to face the world‘ I left the Prof’s house deep in thought. whether or not I liked it, I had sat on the laps of Plato, as he schooled me in the ways of Socrates his master. Their philos love embracing me, as I craved sophia wisdom. So philosophy in me is born, and I can not outrun this as thoughts shape the world. Think. Think and act wisely. The revolution starts with your decision to make a difference…

 

PS: Most inventions were calculated accidents. Explore and take risks, there’s no going wrong in trying with all your heart…

 

PPS: The late Obafemi Awolowo said “for a people to be well governed, they have to first be enlightened…

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