THERE is no better time to discuss the paradigm “conscience” than in this election period in Nigeria. We are all aware that the problems of corruption, nepotism, robbery, embezzlement, arson, bribery are all inherent attributes of a conscienceless society. A state that has compromised its conscience is a failed state.
Nigeria today can be described as a nation without conscience. We have negated and jettisoned the norms, principles, laws, rules guiding a functional state on the alter of expediency and have nose-dived into extreme case of malfunctionality and disfunctionality. Nigeria is now a lawless state where anarchy prevails; a country where extreme perversion of justice holds sway’; where the advantaged take undue advantage of the disadvantaged. No wonder the unimaginable inequitable distribution of wealth and opportunities that prevails today. The cravings for political offices and patronages now portend the shortest cut to unattested wealth. It now becomes a do or die affair to attain a political office, how much more to relinquish office if required to do so via electoral decision. The problem is now endemic and is running a full circle.
I have gone to my drawing board to x-ray this endemic disease and came out with this fundamental ethical deficiency “conscience.” Every man has conscience which is inherent- a person’s moral sense of right and wrong. Conscience is an inner sense of what is right and wrong acting as a guide to one’s behaviour. It propels one’s conduct or motive impelling one towards right decisions and actions. To follow the dictates of conscience-the complexity of ethical and moral principles that controls or inhibits the action or thoughts of an individual or society, we often are caught with this still small voice within. This explains why we make such expressions like ‘he has guilty conscience’;’ his conscience pricks him’; ‘he is conscience stricken’. The synonyms of conscience are sense of right and wrong, standards, values, principles, ethics, creed, beliefs, compunction, scruples and qualms.
The individual conscience translates to a universal conscience which was well highlighted in the universal declaration of human rights 1948. The authors of this work saw the depths into which human cruelty could crawl.
They wrote about their faith in the dignity and worth of the human person. This declaration began with the assertion that “ all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. The declaration trusts that humans are endowed with reason and conscience. Without these, none of the other principles of the declaration can be expected to work. But where were reason and conscience on the occasion when some herdsmen brutally mauled down, raped, dismembered, disemboweled their fellow humans and the government seemed to took the other way? Where were reasons when heartless men take it upon themselves to burn down electoral offices and materials meant for election? Were all the killings, beatings, torture, rape, exploitation, by fellow men supposedly done with conscience and reason dangling? It frightens me to know that a person can look into the eye of another person, can hear the sound of another human voice, and still conclude that the person’s life is worthless. The declaration stipulates that no one shall be subjected to torture or to cruelty, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment; That a person’s right as a person be recognized everywhere as a person before the law.
Conscienceless is the absence of conscience. It is important to note that while we advocate conscience, some fundamentalist groups or people find the terminology absurd, infradig and cowardice. Jean Jacques Rousseau postulates that “conscience is in all circumstances an infallible guide to reach actions that appeal to the human heart and sensibility.
Fundamentalist Islamic believers and other stone cold hearts have a different perspective which negates this universal point of view. Merchieveli, the Italian philosopher thinks differently, stating that “the end justifies the means”. He is of the opinion that whichever means possible, no matter the casualty level, no matter the people you will step on their toes, so far you achieve your goal, there is no problem. Conscience is dead. What is alive is survival for the fittest. Nietzsche Superman likes ruthlessness, war, and aristocratic pride, which aims at power and absolute control of power and is deliberately anti Christian. This position concisely describes the people at the helm of affairs in Nigeria today. In all facets, they are anti-democratic and ruthlessly wants to clinch on power at all costs and by all means, using the apparatus of democratic institutions. No wonder the serial abuse, decapitation of all the democratic apparatus that tend to block their ways to achieving power.
As we can see there are two parallel forces presenting themselves for the position of presidency of this country. Conscience and conscienceless is at war. Democracy and despotism /Anarchy at a crossroad. Democracy is founded on principles of conscience and solicits men with conscience to vote out anarchy and despotism. Anarchy is using all the panafenarea of power to thwart, subvert and to rig the election about to take place this February 2019 to consolidate its grip on power and to totally destroy the democratic institution in place and to foist anarchy, oppression, perpetuation of injustice and dehumanization.
Your voting this Saturday is not all about politics or political party allegiance or financial interests. It is everything about uprooting the demagogue, the forces of darkness, the vampire that would want to put you in perpetual bondage and enslavement that will destroy your collective conscience and place you in absolute captivity. It behooves men with conscience to vote out the enemy in disguise. Make use of your conscience as you cast your vote while we still have time.