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Socrates' unexamined life in Nigeria - Umbrella & Broom Orchestra Socrates' unexamined life in Nigeria - Umbrella & Broom Orchestra
by Ovi Magazine Guest
2023-03-12 08:09:34
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Socrates’ unexamined life in Nigeria
– Umbrella & Broom Orchestra

By Taiye Olaniyi

"The unexamined life" to Socrates, " Is not worth living". Socrates to date is one of the most world-renowned mystic philosophers, a man whose philosophical truth confounded the entire world of his time that as his counterpart Lao Tsu equally mentioned as Truth, " Truthful words are not beautiful, beautiful words are not truthful. Good men do not argue, those who argue are not good. Learned men do not know and those who know are not learned", he had to accept being given poisoned hemlock which eventually summarised his life.

In truth, Socrates died because many highly placed of his time would never bother to admire truth as the cardinal point and cornerstone of human governance. The fulcrum of human life which turns later to sweeten the heart is the bitterness of truth for which few individuals such as Socrates himself, Jesus Christ, Mahatma Gandhi, Abraham Lincoln, Nelson Mandela, Nnamdi Azikiwe, Obafemi Awolowo and Ahmadu Bello, the Sardauna of Sokoto amongst few renowned personages that lived and died on truth.

Have you closely examined an umbrella and a broom to conjecture their similarities in human affairs? Let's make plain the esoteric or may I say philosophical significance of such in your life and mine and then relate it to the current political orchestra in Nigeria. An umbrella has a broad head made of fibre material and a number of metals as branches with a strong stem which has a lever atop to push and pull when it is to be spread or withdrawn in times of rain or after rain. When there is a wind blast an umbrella could serve as a protective shield.

Think of and about when, where, and how you have once used an umbrella. Broom also is a familiar object known to all. It is made up of many strands of raffia from palm trees and when many of such are bundled at the base, the base is held up in the hand while the numerous strands in opposite directions are used to sweep so the environment becomes clean.

In Nigeria, the umbrella is like a father if only such a father realises his role as being the head of the family who should serve all and sundry without any iota of prejudices, biases and discrimination. Similarly, a broom is likened to an instrument of health and cleanliness. The Yoruba goes further to liken a broom to it being a symbol of unity thus always advising family members to unite like the numerous strands of broom brought together to become a broom.

Both the umbrella and broom are made up of materials but for a single purpose to ward away storms and protect us from uncleanness. Hmmm, do users of both umbrella and broom closely examine these symbols they proudly placate as mere symbols of political power, hegemony, gluttony, and mismanagement of natural resources and those humans?

Nigeria's political terrain is spiced and bastardised with abject corruption, religious hypocrisy, mass poverty, cabalism, untruthfulness, lack of integrity and a myriad of divisive tendencies to such an extent many canvassers for our votes are not worth emulating for by their thoughts, utterances, and actions, they who rule, ruin and lack traits of true leadership. Be the umbrella, Broom, or the emerging Labor Party whose coloration today is a grievous ember of ethno- religious discordance that is now greatly polarizing average Nigerians, l doubt that the current strategies to governance would not worsen a nation once described by kith and kins as a "Zoo".

Average politicians in Nigeria hardly can boast of positive indelible marks but always are visible in corridors of power merely as "Men of shady characters and women of easy virtues" going by Awolowo's Socratic description of their package and trademarks. It is therefore incumbent to suggest a process of "Self-Examination" to you politicians as to whether in the real sense of it, you are true protective umbrellas, a shade in time of burning and scorching sun, or mere a bunch of gluttons robbing everything you can find thus causing deprivations everywhere. On the Broom side, what have you come to sweep from the Augean stables of which you are part and parcels in the pyramid of I'll - gotten wealth? What manner of Labor man, woman and child shall help domesticate the perceived animals in a Zoo nation Nigeria?

Yes, we are duty bound to vote in and out but of what difference to the lots of the commoners living in communities and communing only in tattered penury? Of what use is the blood of innocent fellow men and fellow Nigerians when only hatred, killing, and maiming are their lots for being created by the Creator in this part of His created creation? To you all politicians are the observation of Oliver Goldsmiths, " You can preach a better sermon with your life than with your lips".

My only advice is that no human no matter how highly placed can hide from the all-seeing eye of God though mountains and bunkers cover, note God's Omnipresent Eye is well on us all. In conclusion, Son of Man concurs with the sage's thought and proclamation, " When Conscienceless power rules over powerless conscience, the former first laughs but the latter laughs last and laughs best. “


Taiye Olaniyi, a retired Postman of the Nigeria Postal Service, lives in Lagos

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