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A Quiet Revolution

Some Social and Religious Perspectives on the Nigerian Crisis

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Joseph F. Mali

In A Quiet Revolution: Some Social and Religious Perspectives on the Nigerian Crisis, Joseph F. Mali argues that contrary to popular belief, corruption and failed leadership are not at the heart of the Nigerian crisis. Corruption and misrule, though they have done a terrible harm to the Nigerian society, are in fact byproducts of something much more sinister in the same way that smoke is the byproduct of fire. The real trouble with Nigeria, Mali puts it bluntly, is a lifestyle of profound selfishness, which the people and their leaders have in common. The nation is still bleeding because of this evil. Unless Nigerians cure this «disease», Mali maintains, no system of government is likely to succeed in Nigeria. In vain do Nigerians seek political solutions as long as selfishness remains their credo! Since Nigeria’s problem is moral in nature, Mali insists, the remedy must also be ethical in character. Accordingly, he proposes «A Quiet Revolution» as a cure for Nigeria’s ailment. This revolution is not a silent coup to overthrow the Nigerian government. It is not «a French-styled rebellion in which the masses on the streets, and peasants in the country put an end to centuries of absolute monarchy». Rather, the «Quiet Revolution» is an interior change; an individual transformation. As long as this change has not taken place, Mali declares, it will be difficult to repair and restore Nigeria.
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Preface

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I wrote this book out of deep concern for the anguish of Nigerians. My purpose is to define the real problem of Nigeria, as I perceive it, and offer a solution. I am drawing on more than thirty years of living and working in the country. One can view Nigeria from top down or bottom up. From top down reality is one thing. From bottom up it is quite another. “In our own way,” said General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida at the African Leadership Forum,1 “we in Nigeria over the past three years have been pursuing our tripartite goals of economic recovery, self-reliance, and social justice.”2

Not everyone in Nigeria saw things Babangida’s way. Some had doubts about his government. Aware of the wall that separated him from the vast majority of Nigerians, Babangida himself made this candid admission, after recounting his tripartite pursuits at the African Leadership Forum: “We cannot claim to have always been understood by our countrymen and the world in general.”3 As Commander-in-Chief and head of state, Babangida was in an exalted office, and from there he assessed himself, believing he was working for “economic recovery, self-reliance, and social justice.” Those at the bottom of the social scale looked at their situation and saw a different reality, leading to their cynicism about his efforts.

← xi | xii → What a person sees depends on where he or she stands. I do not belong to the ranks and class of General...

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