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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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Chapter 8. Saving the Next Generation

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SAVING THE NEXT GENERATION

During my last conversation with Chinua Achebe in New York before he died in March 2013, he made an observation that fascinated and shook me deeply. In his usual gentle and profound way of speaking, he said: “We have lost this generation, let us try not to lose the next generation.” I left his house pondering this comment. For weeks, I reflected on it. This chapter is the product of that long meditation. If Nigeria is to rise from the ashes like Japan and Germany and achieve its dream of standing side by side with the world’s biggest economies in the future, the next generation of Nigerians must be cured of the illness that has paralyzed their fathers.

Nigeria’s true wealth is not oil, science, technology, or industries. Young people are the wealth of the nation. The oil that Nigeria currently relies on could be depleted any day or new sources of energy may reduce demand. With creative and talented young people, however, Nigeria has nothing to fear in the future. The nation will remain competitive in a new age. When the youths become adults, they will assume leadership roles in politics, science, technology, industry, and religion. If they are worthy leaders, Nigeria will rise again. If they walk in the footsteps of their fathers, who failed the nation, the country may perish utterly. I am convinced that if rightly guided, young Nigerians can realize the country’s...

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