Dedicated to Nigeria's socio-political issues
October 3, 2007 - December 2, 2007
A Critique Of The Pseudo-Nigerian Bourgeouise
July 19, 2005
The title of this article is chosen deliberately because of the nature of the so-called bourgeoisie in Nigeria. Strictly speaking, a bourgeoisie, according to Karl Marx is that class of the society that owns the productive forces and the property relations and they ultimately become the ruling class because they own the means of productive and they make production decisions.
What to produce, how, when to produce. Hence they determine the advancement, stability or other wise of the society. The Bourgeoisie according to Marx encourages production and the advancement of that society thought the continuous plough back of the return on instrument. The attitude of the real bourgeoisie is amply demonstrated in the American society where almost all sectors of the American society are developed to the optimum level. Sometimes in the 80s, in America, where as a result of the overproduction of wheat t he re was a glut in the market and the American government had to take the option destroying the excess wheat produced so that the world market for wheat will not collapse. This is the attitude of the real bourgeoisie. The so-called psuedo bourgeoisie in Nigeria is a vivid contradiction to the real bourgeoisie described above. He is a destroyer, a shameless thieve. A cog, a fetter and can be vividly likened to a virus that progressively destroy its host by gradually destroying the immune system and finally leading to the total collapse, though gradual, of the host. The virus does not stop at the destruction of the host alone but any other medium it comes in contact with.
Having laid a proper background, I will now move to the critique. I will start with the concept of the ‘church’ in Nigeria and how it is used as a pseudo bourgeoisie in instrument of exploitation of the naïve congregation.
Originally according to max Weber in his book ‘The Protestant Ethics and The Spirit of Capitalism’ provided the best-known discussions on the influence of religion on economic behaviors. According to him the ‘spirit’ preaches hard work and this produced disciplined and rational pursuit of economic gain. It was believed that long before man was born, he was predestined to either salvation in heaven or damnation in hell. This brought about anxiety and to relieve such anxiety and resist temptation, man could only turn to self-control and serious labor. The church then believed that whether saved or condemned, the faithful must work hard for the glory of god. They saw hard work as a calling from ‘God’ so as to establish his kingdom on earth. To them the purpose of hard work was to glorify God and that they should not spend there wealth on worldly pleasures instead they reinvested their profits to make their businesses grow. The constant accumulation of wealth, continued reinvestment of profits led to the development of the society.
This idea was in tandem with the early missionaries who came to Africa. They built Schools, hospitals, libraries etc. for the growth of then society. They believed that in doing this people will turn to God. In Nigeria today, reverse is the case. Our churches do not preach hard work but they have twisted and upturned the concept of miracle and tithe that literally mean 10% of ones income. Making the congregation to believe that once they give 10%, their incomes will be doubled. They emphasizes clichés like ‘he who sows sparingly will reap sparingly’, ‘you cannot sow maize and reap yam’ and on
We now experience the deregulation and commercialization of churches and the attendant vices that goes with it. Stealing of tithes, money laundering, adultery, and material acquisition of wealth. It is common to see a ‘founder’ of a ministry having seven Lincoln navigators at the expense of development of the flock and society. Some churches have gone to the extent of becoming stockbrokers forcing their flocks to invest in companies where their Shepard has Equity interests. We now see rigorous advertisements of crusades; revivals and various carnivals; people are deceived into buying holy water, miracle oil, miracle candle, magical handkerchiefs, blessed pen and pencils.
I must confess that if Nigerians have been able to ask themselves and think rationally then there would have been development. For example, what type of miracle would make a warehouse that was producing goods before to become functional again when such place has been turned to a church? or a factory that was producing textiles that have now been turned to a church?. Also, for example, if the number of hours spent in fasting, attending prayer meeting is spent or productive enterprises, this will yield some outputs. In England, For example, where the minimum wage is 5 pounds and one works for eight hours. That translates into forty pounds a day, which is a N19, 000 this is why an English man will tell you that time is money.
Despite the fact that we are the most religious people on earth, we have the highest number of prostitutes in Italy; the second most corrupt nation on earth. The time has come for Nigerians to take to hard wok and rational exercises as the only way to economic liberation. Let the church take care of spiritual the needs of the people. Presently, Christianity is used is the opiate of the congregation.
When there is improvement in the material conditions of Nigerian and there is unity between the productive forces and the property relations (technology Manpower etc) the various concepts of 10% (tithe) sowing of seed, 3 days a week crusade, fire conferences, prosperity tapes etc will fade away and a society which religion will be a matter of choice and convictions well thrive.
The present arrangement of dogmatism and the various corrupting tendencies from the church will fade away. After all, we are asked to seek first the heavily kingdom and every other material things will be added unto us us. When we follow these suggestions the fast disappearing middle class will emerge again.
According to Pius XII (1939-1958) in his Encyclical Evangelic Praecones, said: " the church aim is not the domination or peoples or the gaining of temporal dominions; she is eager only to bring the supernatural light of faith to all peoples, and to promote the interest of civilization and culture, and fraternal concord among nations’’. He also admonished that "the father of a family ‘’ should not be ‘’condemned to an economic dependence and servitude which is irreconcilable with his right as a person.’’ Noble as their sentiments are, it is clear that the reverse is the case in the Nigerian "church".
The politician, bank chief, bureaucrats can also be described as a pseudo bourgeoisie because he has in his hands economic power, political power or policy implementation power which he do not use for the development his nation. Talking about the typical Nigerian politician, it has been proved beyond reasonable doubts that the pattern of thinking and action of the Nigerian politicians is the same. The point here is that the Nigerian politician in general usually has one plan, one mission and one goal. Vis a Vis winning elections, settling scores or vendetta, and amassing wealth for life time savings. They are usually bereft of ideas to uplift the socioeconomic conditions of the common man. Even when they have, it is usually disjointed and incoherent. The only legacy they live behind is that of want, hopelessness and stagnation.
The amount paid on estacodes for public officials in Nigeria is about the highest in the world. Our politicians are pseudo bourgeoisie because the Nigerian politician makes his money from government coffers even the simple trade of pure water he does not know. It clear therefore that we have no real capitalist in Nigerian. What we have is collection of commission agents, ten per centers and bunch of parasites. it is a common sight in Nigeria to find mansions, palace in midst of ghettos. You see a wealthy Nigerian driving the most expensive limousine on a dusty road with potholes as large as a crater.
The pseudo Nigerian bourgeoisie does not have a sense of investment. He takes pride in stealing money and opening accounts in Swiss bank. His only sense of investment is building mansions for girlfriends in Monte Carlo That is why the white men sees them as shameless thieves and celebrated rogues. On the other hand, when the pseudo Nigerian bourgeoisie want to invest in his home country. He sponsors dimwits for election with the agreement that once his candidate wins election. He will have an automatic access to the state‘s vault. This is why we see this false capitalist sponsoring, as many political aspirants as possible. In Nigeria, it possible for a single individual to sponsor and install all the aspirants from councillorship level through the governorship level to the national assembly level. It is a common scene in Nigerian to see people spraying Naira notes in the midst of squalor, throwing lavish parties for concubines and girlfriends. This is clearly against the spirit of the true bourgeoisie
Clearly the pseudo bourgeoisie in Nigeria is laying a very strong foundation for a revolution which will be clearly championed by the masses in Nigeria for it is only hunger and poverty that unites the masses, I am not a prophet of doom but based on the words of Karl Marx and Franz fanon; who said that’’ the oppressed people have nothing to lost but everything to gain" it is there fore cautionary to note that is imperative, expedient and important for our predatory political class to work towards a purposeful social change. In order to avoid the imminent political revolution. It is important for the pseudo bourgeoisie to note that. Why is revolution inevitable? Revolution in Nigeria is inevitable because the Nigerian False bourgeoisie has violated every known revolutionary principle. He has continued to do this with all impunity such acts that are capable of bringing violent revolution as the consequence.
According to Aristotle ‘’Revolution is principally caused by the common man’s aspiration for economic or political equality, which they lack and aspiration of the oligarchs (ruling class). For great inequality that they have.’’ It is clear that revolution becomes inevitable when the oppressed seeks equality and the oppressors seek inequality since this moves in an opposite direction. It will get to a time that the limits of the oppressed will be over stretched leading to the inevitable -revolution.
According to OO Okiki, the first cause of revolution is ‘’Relative depravation" this means when the oppressed people have no means in satisfying their desires leading to frustration that produced aggression which ultimately leads to a revolution. This is amply demonstrated in the numbers of the unemployed graduates taking into armed robbery, oil bunkering and Internet scams. This is also demonstrated in the way the Nigerian police force is described as a messenger of death because of the frequency of accidental discharge. This is said to be a deliberate way of venting their on the larger society.
Karl Marx sees revolution as a product of class struggle. He posits that ‘‘the history of the hitherto existing revolution has been that of class struggle ‘‘. Struggle between the rich and the poor. According to him revolution will become inevitable when the capitalist becomes a fetter or hindrance to development. This is ably depicted by recent report of the IMF that Nigerians have over 312 billion dollars in off share accounts.
Excessive ethnic/nationalistic feelings can lead to a revolution when the various ethnic nationalist feels that they are not getting their fair share they can resort to violent rebellion to address the perceived imbalance in the system Thus is clear in the various ethnic nationalist groupings springing up and recounting militias .for example the OPC, Egbesu, Niger delta frontier force etc. This feelings is prevalent in the Niger Delta area where people who feel they should get more resort to kidnapping for ransom, oil bunking shutting of oil flow stations, armed banditry etc
On a general note, the poor socio economic and political arrangement creates tension in the common man, breakdown of infrastructures, corruption in high places, greed, oppression, mediocrity and threatened destruction of the poor masses by hunger, poverty and diseases can lead to rebellion. After all a hungry man is an angry man.
It is not to say that the imminent revolution is not inevitable because it is often said that a man is the architect his fortune or his misfortune. The following urgent steps should be followed strictly.
Based on the possible solutions highlighted in the forgoing paragraph, I have been able to fulfill what Karl Marx said, ‘we should not only describe the problems in the society, but we should also attempt to change it, by proffering solutions to the problems inherent in the society’.
Abiola Olawole, Faculty of Law, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria..
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This page was last updated on 10/27/07.