Poet laureate, Prof Niyi Osundare said he has been both saddened and bewildered by the way Nigerians so characteristically throw science and rationality out of window in their daily lives as well as their deliberation on matters of national importance.
He noted that the leaders are busy looking for 19th century cattle grazing routes at a time their counterparts in saner climes are set on the routes to Mars and Saturn because the more college degrees Nigerians acquire; the farther they tend to be from rational, independent thinking, critical cogitation, clarity of thought, and creative scepticism.
Osundare said, “In all things, domestic and public, personal and political, our dealings are dominated by a disregard for scientific reasoning, and a preference for ostentatious, and often venal religiosity. And how truly ubiquitous our piety has been.”
He lamented that Nigeria, like its African counterparts, was still in a prescientific age, blissfully mis/uninformed, untouched by, even hostile to, the edifying powers of science.
According to the acclaimed poet, “Our rulers pray before they pillage the nation’s treasury; they pray before rigging the electoral polls; they pray while perpetrating these acts; they pray when the deeds are done. Then they ‘give thanks to the Lord’ for aiding their exploits and prospering their schemes. And we, the people, chorus a sheepish ‘Amen’ while praying to the Good Lord to keep blessing them with renewed strength.
“Do you still wonder why the vehicle of Nigeria’s progress is in reverse gear, throttled, top-speed, towards the Middle Ages by ‘leaders’ who prey while the people pray; leaders whose grand superstition has become the alternative science of a country famous for its aversion to logic?’’
Osundare noted that Nigeria’s underdevelopment is no surprise, because the people do not seem to possess the mindset, vision, values, behaviour, actions, and practices of a people who understand what development really is, the way it is achieved, and how it is sustained.
He stated that it should have been clear to the people by now that miracles never build a nation nor are citizens ever elevated above their dehumanising poverty through a mindless reliance on magic and accidental fiat.