We do not need to await the transformation of society and of culture to begin our emancipation. We can begin right now. In every area of action and thought, and so long as we do not suffer the extremities of deprivation and infirmity, the question on our lips will be: What should we do next? The most ambitious forms of programmatic thinking and of reconstructive action simply extend the scope of this questioning and broaden the range of our answers.

What allows us to ask at every turn the question -- what should we do next? -- is the marriage of the imagination with an existential attitude: a hopeful and patient availability to novelty and to experience. What enables us to sustain this attitude is in turn the combination of growing confidence in the exercise of our own powers -- security and capability -- with love -- the love of the world and the love of people.

(Roberto Unger, Pragmatism Unbound)


The Nigerian political landscape is both dank and drab. Any politician or citizen with good sensibility will like to see things change on a faster pace. Such landscape and the consequent need for change generate a sudden rush of adrenaline in politicians to changes things. However, to make any tangible change, a path of action amidst myriad of other courses must be taken. What this means is that to change things we must choose a path and reject others. This rejection, indispensable to our political progress, is also a mutilation. In choosing as we must, we cast aside many other prospective ways of change.

The impulse and opportunity for change, one can confidently say, are what drove the erstwhile senate president Ken Nnamani to align himself with IBB in the quest to overhaul the polity. However, we should not forget that the impulse and opportunities for change are also fraught with dangers, namely that of alienation and stupefaction. By choosing to go with IBB, Nnamani, on the one hand, alienated himself from many of his fans and, on the other, appeared stupid to some. What I see as the Nnamani syndrome is currently heightened by the recent happenings around the Nile. These happenings have thus broadened the unwise range of choices for political change in Nigeria. Many proponents of change now vacillate between the Egyptian and Tunisian styled revolution and the claim to zoning.

These unwise routes to political change in the Nigerian context run into a quandary, in fact what I see as an enigma. Those who advocate a people's revolution have no justificatory reasons to offer; the reason being that the present government of Goodluck Jonathan is a nascent one, the president having being in office less than a year. Those clamouring for zoning and zoning rights have to deal with a sitting president whose presence makes nonsense of any claim to zoning.

The Egyptian-Tunisian path to political change hides from the very fact of time while that of Zoning hides from the existential fact of the person holding the office. Each amounts to both a theoretical and moral failure. And I must say that nothing harms a good politician than the trivialization of enigma.

When the consequences of such unwise routes are thrust before our eyes, there is a tendency to succumb to inertia or boredom, i.e, to groan under the weight of unused political energy. Boredom in its extreme manifestation leads to insanity or lunacy; where one engages in any kind of action available just to dissipate unused energy. Undirected action on its own is a disaster. Therefore, the reasonable course of action is to avoid, from the very start, the pointers to boredom. The Nigerian populace must learn how to accept facts for a constructive action and not succumbing to the weight of undirected actions in the name of political change. Our aim must be both to safeguard ourselves and the defeat of our vision for a better Nigeria.

What I see as a constructive route, is first and foremost, a whole hearted acceptance of the status quo and to act confidently within it without being its puppets. Therefore, we must recognize that our current President is neither from the North - a zone that claims the right to the presidency at this point in time - nor from the South East, whose claim circles around 2015. With this in view, we must, on the one hand, cease every discourse pertaining to zoning and, on the other, quit this fixation on Egypt and of becoming its messengers. Our politics must bring down these barriers that hinder true change. Our progress lies neither in Egypt nor in Zoning.

Democracy directly serves our need for change both as zoning and revolution. Democracy brings solidarity which a revolution aims to affirm and clearly marks that difference between the choice of the people and those who repress them. For sure, democracy cannot distil our inclination to geographical zones or ethnic groups. We may have to sort that out in a constitutional conference, a referendum or even with war.

Till then, the state has to move ahead and if we are serious about change without alienating and stupefying ourselves then we must be committed. The half-hearted attempt towards democracy while nursing a hidden revolutionary agenda must be frowned at. It then becomes necessary to mention the names of people like Prof Pat Utomi - who has once mouthed the idea of revolution while continuously presenting himself as a presidential candidate, and Prof Ben Nwabueze who is both a constitutional lawyer and an advocate of revolution.

Finally, I think that the erstwhile senator, Ken Nnamani, must be hailed for his present decision of joining the campaign team of the President. His decision, among other things, portrays him as a man who is not yet ready to succumb to the dictates of political boredom.

Furthermore, the transitive consequence of Nnamani's decision is that it shields him from alienation not only from the big players of the PDP but also from the general political equation. But the intransitive consequence of such act which will either be an affirmation of his person as a progressive in search for an avenue to better the lives of the citizenry or one that shifts alliance for the sake of power and pecuniary gains is left for history to decide.