Today, May 30th, marks the anniversary of the declaration of the Republic of Biafra. 50 years down the line, things changed, yet, things remained the same.  In otherwords,  those reasons the war was fought still lingers, despite the NO VICTOR, NO VANQUISHED idea of the then Head of State. 

Many do not know that one of the many reasons for the declaration of the Republic of Biafra was the total disregard of the ABURI-GHANA accord by the then head of state, Gen.  Yakubu Gowon. The deal was sealed between 4th to 5th January, 1967 but on arriving Nigeria Gen. Gowon did otherwise;  dividing Nigeria into states to further weaken the agitations of those from the Eastern part of Nigeria (the Biafrans). If Gowon had respected to the letters the agreements of the ABURI-GHANA accord, he could have averted the 30 months of the bloodsheds of over 2million Biafrans and Nigerians. 
Typical of a military mind,  Gowon thought he would be able to manage the situation with aggression and force and so, on 7th of July, 1967 the Nigerian troops fired the first shot in Gakem, in the present day Cross River state.  The shot immediately began the civil war amongst other remote causes. 
Let me put things in perspective here.  Biafra declared herself free and sovereign on 30th May, 1967 from Nigeria (which is legal) because she no longer feels safe and secured in the political entity called Nigeria. Fast-forward to the 7th of July that same year,  the Nigeria military fired the first shot plunging Nigeria/Biafra in to a 30 MONTHS of an AVOIDABLE CIVIL WAR. 
Now,  judge by yourself; was the declaration of the Republic of Biafra equal to the declaration of civil war or the Nigerian unwise and recalcitrant  behaviour of not sticking to laws and agreements and thinking that force can be used to address national issues responsible for the civil war? 
My point is simple here: the agitations for the Republic of Biafra did not and does not call for war and killings as many people erroneously think today. Why I’m I saying this?  Many uninformed minds in Nigeria today tend to say that;  “Igbos are fools they do not want to learn from history and avoid wars” as if the right for self-determination and realization is synonymous with declaring wars or that it calls for killings. No!  It does not.  So,  I’ll like to correct that thinking here.  Nobody who is asking for Biafra is asking for war.  It is only the uncivilized that would believe that secession must be fought back with war rather than negotiations.
Stop the propaganda. It was (is)  the killings,  actions and obvious inactions of the Nigeria government towards the Igbos that was responsible for the wars and killings. Look around you and sincerely ask yourself,  is the Igbo man free in this country especially as when he is not allowed to freely protest wrongs melted to him?  Is the Igbo man’s life secured in Nigeria in the mist of the Fulani cattle heldsmen rampage? Is the Igbo man adequately represented in the politics of the country that refused him freedom and voice? Etc.  Continuing on this path would further enstrangle the already soured relationship between Nigeria and Biafra.

That is my take this glorious day. 
Long live the (restructured)  Federal Republic of Nigeria!!! or 

Long live the Sovereign Republic of Biafra!!!


​Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are – Benjamin Franklin
For a while now the whole media outlets locally and internationally has been agog with stories and the analysis of the Judges’ house raids and arrests. A whole lot of media attention has been given to this issue: there has been series of debates, articles, talks and meetings; one of which was that of the NJC (National Judicial Council) and their resolutions etc. That is to say that I am not here to share a “Breaking News”. I simply want to share an angle of my thoughts on the saga – my layman thoughts; of course I am not exactly an expert in constitutional law and the likes. I do not want to discuss the various laws and acts establishing the DSS (Department of State Security), their modus operandi and recent seeming over-zealousness. I am not out to canonize or defend their actions neither I’m I ready to reel out the rights of the Judges or the DSS.  I am a simple freelance writer/blogger who is interested airing his views about the saga – the ethical implication of a neglect of natural justice. 

My whole drift is hinging on the simple concept of natural justice and the law of Karma. The philosopher Aristotle thinks of it this way; the natural just, if there is such a thing, must be the same everywhere, for nature is the same everywhere. It is the duty to act fairly at all times and circumstances. For instance if it is naturally just to hear the other party out in a criminal case between two people, then it should also be naturally just to extend such right to a judge if he is accused of any crime and vice versa. Or, take the principle of law that one is presumed innocent until proven guilty by a competent court of law for example; it is only naturally just to extend same principle to every other person not some people under the law. How does that even play out in the Nigeria justice system? Do you see natural justice, selective justice or the highest-bidder justice? Take a good look and get back to me. 

Martin Luther King, Jr.’s thinking that “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere” is only a confirmation of the ancient thoughts of Aristotle, namely that “nature is the same everywhere”. Only that I think in this case it implies that if you condone injustice in Kano then it naturally translates to a (possible) nationwide injustice. I think the meaning comes out comes out more when we put it in local parlance; hence, “you do not throw a stone into the market for you do not know who the stone will eventually fall on (maybe your father, mother or sibling)”. Sadly, that is a question that many people I know including myself just do not think about. We say that is a shame that something bad happened, but we do not usually consider the possibility that it could happen to us especially when we are keep quiet in the face of such evil. Karma on the other hand consists of a person’s acts and their ethical consequences. Human actions lead to rebirth, wherein good deeds are inevitably rewarded and evil deeds punished. Thus, the wise Buddha thinks that neither undeserved pleasure nor unwarranted suffering exists in the world, but rather a universal justice. We are subject to the “law” of karma just as our physical movements on earth are subject to the law of gravitation. But just as the law of gravitation does not take away our freedom to move about, the doctrine of karma does not leave us restricted to act. It merely describes the moral law under which we function, just as the law of gravitation is a physical law governing our being. As such, when we decide to turn our backs to a single unjust act we are ultimately promoting such evil and we will most likely suffer the same fate.

The problem with us is that we all have become so numb to injustice unless it is actually happening to us. “I guess the only time most people think about injustice is when it happens to them” as Charles Bukowski wrote in his novel Ham on Rye. Such has seemed to become the lot of the embattled Nigeria court judges, the NJC, the NBA (Nigeria Bar Association) and some few elite Nigerians. While some of them where busy buying judgments, perverting justice and condoning obvious acts of partiality, they did not realize that what goes around comes around. Now that the injustice they allowed to go around came around, some of them are screaming blue-murder. I wonder if it is not “injustice” in itself now, to try righting the wrongs of injustice melted out on the poor and the underprivileged these decades just because big named judges are victims now. I am not oblivious of the fact that it is the morally correct thing to do right now – righting the wrongs of injustices these decades.

A lot of our elite Nigerians and some of those in the judiciary arm of government have not been very vocal when it comes to issues concerning injustice and the breach of fundamental human rights of the ordinary Nigerians. They have been overlooking it forgetting that “he who lives in a glass-house does not throw stones”, meanwhile, the judiciary is supposed to be the last hope of the common man. The gentlemen of the Bench and Bar have not been exactly helpful in the fight against fundamental human rights abuses. Over the years, we have been confronted with different arrays of cases; namely, wrongful arrests, unconstitutional and prolonged detention, house raid without valid search warrant, police brutality etc. What has the priests at the temple of justice done to forestall these incessant occurrences of injustice? Well, what could some of them have done when some of them are also either actively or passively involved in obstructing justice? A lot of them take bribe to pervert justice, while others look the other way as if it is not their business. But guess what, it is their business now. They are now the victims of the bite of the mad dog they conscientiously left to roam the streets. They have been paid back in their very own coins. It is no longer news that lots of legal luminaries are speaking out now; condemning and rebuking the raid of the houses and arrests of the judges. Where they ever this vocal before now? If the answer is no, then what was the problem? Perhaps, one of the reasons amongst many will not be so far from their being so blinded by the preferential treatments and the “undeserved” privileges they have been enjoying all through these years. The proficient African writer Chimamanda Adichie once said in one of her talks that; “privileges blind”. It is in the nature of privilege to blind the privileged. The fact that you have been so fortunate could eventually make you not to see the predicaments of others around you. Now that this privilege has been punctured, we are witnessing great vocal outbursts like never before. And so, our judges and lawyers are raising alarm now not remembering that some of them had practical cases of ordinary citizens who suffered same fate in the past and they did nothing to redress the wrongs. Could it be that this is natural justice or that these judges are suffering from the reprisal of karma? I think the answer leans more towards a bountiful harvest of the consequences of their moral actions and inactions.

What is the way forward? I will simply suggest a true and sincere application of justice in every situation and for all people. Natural justice exists because what is good for the goose is also good for the gander. Be that as it may, truthful and sincere commitment to justice is what is needed to drive home this natural justice. Just as Mahatma Gandhi once said, “truth never damages a cause that is just”.  Another point to consider is our readiness to make justice our collective business. If we do not tirelessly see to it that justice is given to our neighbour then, we are at the risk of generally promoting such unjust act. But remember: “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere” and “an injury to one is injury to all” because essentially nature is the same everywhere. Do unto others what you would like done unto you. 
Michael Chukwuemeka Uzuegbunam is a freelance writer/blogger based in FCT Abuja, Nigeria and the author of the blog: JUST for the Love of Wisdom blog.

During the course of our last post, we established that though philosophy involves thinking, not all thinking is reasonable as such not all thinking is philosophy. Thinking “rationally” is what philosophy is rather associated with. That is a sort of a prelude to our discussion today – the Marks of a true philosophy. In addition to thinking reasonably or rationally, philosophy has five (5) other clear characters or otherwise marks. First is that true philosophy begins with wonder, not doubt. Secondly, philosophy is dialectical, not mathematical. Thirdly, an authentic philosophy is clear, not cryptic. Number four, authentic philosophy is perennial, not just contemporary or modern. Fifth, philosophy is open-ended and not closed.

·        Philosophy begins in wonder not doubt 

When man is confronted with mystery, or with something whose causes are still unknown, he wonders why. What is this? Why is this so? Such, for Socrates, is the beginning of wisdom. Plato quoted Socrates in the Theaetetus as saying, “wonder is the feeling of a philosopher, and philosophy begins in wonder”. Aristotle agrees with the point, saying: “it is owing to their wonder that men both now begin and at the first began to philosophize.”

What does it mean to wonder? To wonder could simply be seen as to realize/notice that there could be something extraordinary about the ordinary things we perceive. For example, we are so accustomed to seeing that after “daylight” comes the “night-time”. However, it takes ‘wonder’ to question and investigate the relationship between ‘daylight’ and ‘night-time’. Does the daylight necessarily cause or bring about the coming of night-time, or vice versa? Are the night-time and daylight two separate entities?

Rene Descartes, the father of modern philosophy made a mistake of thinking that “doubt” not “wonder” was the beginning of philosophy. According to him, one must doubt every fact and opinions to rebuild philosophy on a new foundation: doubt. The result of his “methodic doubt” was “I think, therefore I exist” (corgito ergo sum)- existence of the self (later including others and God) from the simple fact that he realized that he was certainly doing the doubting. 

It is true that “wonder” like “doubt” implies the absence of perfect knowledge and certitude. Nevertheless, it does not, like “doubt”, leave us with no desire to seek further. Implicitly, it is “wonder” that motivates us to search further. If a man for instance knows that human beings always die and he does not know what the cause is, he wonders about it and from there proceeds to inquiry. This inquiry that is motivated by wonder most likely leads to some level of knowledge and understanding that is equal to wisdom.

Wonder is the principle, source and wellspring of philosophy Joseph Piper once remarked. Wonder is not the starting point of philosophy in the simple sense of initium, a mere beginning. It is rather a principium, a source of philosophy. There is always something to wonder about or to know, so “wonder” motivates the philosopher to keep on searching and asking more questions. There is no end to this search because truth like being is inexhaustible. 

Our next post on THE MARKS OF PHILOSOPHY will be  philosophy as dialectical. 

Stay tuned to this blog until I come your way again next time. Meanwhile, think (and act) just for the love of wisdom. 

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“Ok, what does it mean to philosophize”, a friend of mine asked me very recently. Initially, I was not very clear with my answers to him, probably because I was consumed with the zeal to quickly defend Philosophy. However, upon careful reflection, I came up with the following answer: I said, ” I stand corrected but I think to philosophize implies thinking reasonably with clarity”. Now, I expect some fellow philosophers to question my answer to my friend, but until then, that was my sincere answer to him.

We were made to understand that Philosophy involves “thinking”. But not all “thinking” is “reasonable”. As such, not all “thinking” is Philosophy. Perhaps, that informed my earlier position on what to philosophize means- to think reasonably with clarity. The difference between “reasoning” and “thinking” would stem from the fact that “reasoning” deals with logic, while just “thinking” has an emotional undertone. Hence, for example, someone may just “think” he is in love but when “reasoning” is applied, it could be discovered to be something else entirely. Having established (hopefully) that just “thinking” is different from “thinking reasonably” (reasoning) in a bid to decipher what “philosophizing” means, what is Philosophy?

We do not hope to begin to define Philosophy here, because my definition of philosophy will only be as good as the area I chose to differ from earlier/contemporary philosophers. In essence, philosophers are not even in agreement with what Philosophy is by way of definition.  We will look at the etymological meaning and hopefully make someone inferences from there.  We are very much aware that there are some graduates and students of philosophy in this forum, but for the sake of others who may have never encountered Philosophy as a discipline we will take this path.

According to Matthew’s philosophical framework, our term “Philosophy”, finds its place of origin in the language of the ancient Greece. The verb “philein” means “to love”, whereas the substantive “sophia” designates that form of knowing – both practical and theoretical – that encompasses “virtue” and the art of “living the good life”. The word “Philosophy” is translated as “love of wisdom”. Taken for granted that we know what love is, the next natural question will be; “what is wisdom”?. Wisdom can be said to be “the most comprehensive and profound knowledge of things”. Pythagoras (an ancient philosopher), according to ancient traditions, thought that no man could possess wisdom. Wisdom was the privileged possession only of God. Therefore, he said, no man could justly call himself “wise”. At best, he could only call himself a “lover” or “seeker” of wisdom, that is a philosopher.

Still speaking of wisdom, Heraclitus (an ancient philosopher) says that wisdom did no consist in knowing a multitude of facts, but in having a unified view of reality. Plato (another ancient philosopher) went even further towards a better understanding of what philosophy is. For him, the true philosopher (lover of wisdom) is the “dialectician”, the one who apprehends the “essences” of things. This would mean that while everyone (including the philosopher) for instance, know a multitude of facts about the human person, it is only the true “lover of wisdom” – a philosopher who knows or tries to know the essence of Man (which is humanity when it comes to genera or kind of being man is by the way). Putting all this together, we can infer that Philosophy is a universal science that is concerned with the essences of reality (things). Yes, I know a man has a head, for instance, a man also has eyes with ears and mouth, shoulders with hands and chest etc. But above that, what is the essence of man?

Now, what does it mean to philosophize? I think, “to philosophize means to think reasonably and clearly about the essences of things (reality)”. What about you? What do you think to philosophize mean?

Send in your comments, contributions and critiques on today’s edition of JUST for the Love of Wisdom.

Stay tuned to this blog/page.

Until I come your way again tomorrow, enjoy your blessed day.

Keep thinking reasonably (and acting) just for the love of wisdom.

Coming up next is: HOW CAN WE IDENTIFY AUTHENTIC PHILOSOPHY: marks of authentic Philosophy. Good day friends

Recently, I noticed that some people have been so preoccupied with the “fruits of the change” era and have abandoned the pursuit of wisdom. They do not regard any knowledge as worthwhile unless it affords them some material advantages, or unless it leads to an increase in sensible pleasure. It is not only the case that the pursuit of wisdom has been neglected nowadays, but it is also in danger of being replaced by false substitutes. Hence, some people tend to think; “why should I care to know more? What I do not know about will not kill me”. Bad news? Yes. Most cancer patients died either because they are unaware of the ailment or because they refused to acknowledge its existence (which is knowledge in a way).

What I’m I saying in essence; why not strive to know more? Why do you have to stop at what they told you? Why do you like “dem say dem say” instead of “I think this is, or that? Do you know you could find out more than was ever revealed to you? Are you aware the truth will set you free?

Philosophy goes where hard science cannot/will not penetrate. Philosophers have a license to speculate about everything from metaphysics to morality, and this means they can shed light on some of the basic questions of existence and reality.

I am not here to teach you or here indoctrinate you, but as Socrates once said, “I am only here to make you think”. A thinking individual is a progressive one. Maybe we should kick-start this blog just this way. Having said that, this happens to be the much we can accommodate here for now. Until I come your way next time with more philosophical questions and thoughts,9 stay tuned to this page.

Keep thinking (and acting) #justfortheloveofwisdom   Enjoy your blessed day. Cheers!