IRRESPECTIVE of political, ethnic or religious affiliations, Nigerians need to pause and reflect on two attitudes that today constitute a road block to national redemption. It is a mandate on which individuals as citizens as well as organisations all over, from the family to Civil Society and Government must reflect on and work upon; otherwise, our trials and tribulations have only just begun.
One is uncritical thinking. Critical thinking is generally defined as “the intellectually disciplined process of actively and skilfully conceptualising, applying, analysing, synthesising and/or evaluating information gathered from, or generated by, observation, experience, reflection, reasoning, or communication, as a guide to belief and action.” The simple meaning of the big grammar is: before saying or doing anything, calmly use your sense to analyse everything you see or hear, without bias but based on facts that you have gathered from knowledge and experience.
The caveat, however, in this simple process of commonsense is Knowledge. Education, from elementary to professorship, in Nigeria has since stopped dispensing knowledge, character and skills. It now only dispenses certificate as a mere schooling process where you just memorise and repeat facts that have no connection to reality, an engagement that is useless to the person and the society. Once education is reduced to mere schooling for certification, the individual and the society are on the way down the drain. What kind of experience can a person without KNOWLEDGE and who is not primed to be useful to self and beneficial to society gather, to inform in-depth, unbiased assessments and rational conclusions and actions?
Secondly, the plague of narrow-minded partisanship. There is now the prevalent menace of most Nigerians working from the answers back to the questions; responding from made-up mind and loyalty to the issues posed by reality; listening not to understand but just to reply; and discussing (actually arguing) to win rather than to learn. Terribly and dangerously, almost everyone has already taken a stand even before the examination of the fact of the matter. Indeed, it is appalling and terrifying that individual clings ferociously to a taken stance even at the expense of his or her self interest, wellbeing and survival!
In this scenario, patriotism is thrown to the wind as the first and most significant casualty, when thinking and action are based on unchangeable loyalty originating from uncritical thinking; critical thinking seen as a hostile enemy of the fanatical stand.
If we are to survive these present pestilential times, we must begin to re-orientate a significant number of young citizens that can be the backbone for tomorrow’s desired struggles for emancipation. Loyalties to persons and parties not arrived at on the basis of principles and goals derivative from critical thinking is a danger to visionary ideals, innovation and development.
Patriotism, derived from the Greek root word, Pater (which means Father), is simply a love for Fatherland (Motherland). Love, devotion and loyalty to a country must begin to supersede any other loyalty if we are to unite around goals that are derived from critical thinking and broadmindedness. No love of political party, tribe or religion should overshadow that of a homeland that we will leave behind for our children and their children’s children.
We are confronting a mindset roadblock. The dire need for building a widespread culture of critical thinking, defeating prevalent narrow-mindedness and blind partisanship are tasks of the moment for progressives and patriotic activists realising that without first achieving those objectives, no lofty idea can sink and no liberation agenda will fly.
The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the author. They do not represent the opinions or views of OSUN DEFENDER.