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A Quiet Revolution

Some Social and Religious Perspectives on the Nigerian Crisis


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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Chapter 6. A Unifying Ideology for Nigeria


← 74 | 75 → · 6 ·


What nation can hope to prosper without a unifying ideology? In the ancient world, when the Roman Empire was in decline, Emperor Constantine sought a unifying factor. Unable to find one in politics, he turned to religion. At that time, the Christian church had a well-organized structure. Seeing Christianity as a center of unity, among other things, Constantine adopted it as the state religion. His motive was more political than religious. Constantine wanted to unify the vast Roman Empire. He understood that a united empire would stand but a divided empire would fall.

The United States of America provides an example from the modern world. Americans, of course, have their differences. There is, for instance, a vast gulf between the Democrats and the Republicans as evidenced by the disagreement over legislation appropriating funds for fiscal year 2014 that caused the United States Federal Government to shut down from October 1 through 16, 2013. Like Nigeria, America is a multiethnic society. But over and above party lines and ethnicity, Americans have a common dream. They call it the “American Dream,” a term invented by James Truslow Adams (1878–1949), an American writer and historian. He described the American Dream as follows:

← 75 | 76 → That of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement. It is not a dream of motor...

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