Buhari and the theory of relativity

The Editor of the Guardian, Mr. Abraham Ogbodo

I am not a scientist, but I think what Albert Einstein is saying in his theory of relativity is that with speed that is close to infinite, time and space could be bridged. If I am wrong, just try and understand what I have said and hold back your hot opinions on the right position. After all, I have offered a caveat that licenses me to be wrong on this matter and all matters scientific. But more seriously, I am trying to do my own theory of relativity and see how the events of 1984/85 can relate to the current circumstances in Nigeria about 32 years after.

In the law of relativity, either as propounded by Einstein or as being propounded by my humble self, the dominant factor is speed, which realigns the spatial and time relationships in the given context into uniformity. Following this, it can be seen too that the connection between 1984/85 and today in Nigeria is President Muhammadu Buhari. For today’s purpose, I shall create a coefficient called Speed B. I am saying that at Speed B 1984/85 relates directly in time and space to 2017. I don’t know if I am making good sense.

We can look at it differently if it is not too clear. Instead of the similarities, we can point out the differences in both scenarios and if no differences exist, we shall return to the same conclusion that at Speed B, all things are equal; 1984/85 and 2017 present the same material facts. To change the facts and record progression, the speed must become variable. For now, Speed B is constant and that is what I am working with in developing this theory.

But first, a review of the overlapping facts in the two scenarios. Corruption is one and in fact the prime element in the 1984/85 scenario. Corruption in one area called the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) where the same Speed B was applied even pre-dated 1984. At Speed B, it is looking like Nigerians lived 2015-2017 in 1984/85. That is the power of speed. In case, it is getting complicated, take it that it is the same principle of light speed (300,000 km/s) that makes the instant transmission of messages across vast distances and different time zones like between earth and Mars possible. In effect, at Speed B, we can live life as it was in 1984/85 and life as it is in 2017 at the same time and have the same experience.

For our purpose, let’s adopt Speed B as a good agent. For instance, not all Nigerians living today were born in 1984/85 or knowledgeable enough to recall what happened then. But with Speed B, witnesses and non-witnesses of 1984/85 are made to live the same experience in 2017. I am saying that by mere observation of current events, my daughter who was born in 1996 can narrate with the precision of a witness how we lived in 1984.

Another overlapping issue is freedom or more specifically, lack of it. This was directly linked to the war against corruption and other state operations in 1984/85. Trial of criminals was fast and without hindrance. Overall, nobody standing trial escaped harsh judgment. The accused were guilty as charged and the courts and judges gave exhibited compliance. One sent the late afro-beat musician, Fela Anikulapo Kuti to prison for currency trafficking.

One organisation called National Security Organisation (NSO) worked so hard to feed the courts with criminals. The work of the NSO was supported by two legislations of the Supreme Military Council (SMC) called Decree 2 and Decree 4. Both made any degree of free speech an offence against the state. There were enough criminal cases to keep the courts and hurriedly assembled tribunals genuinely busy.

On ways of maintaining order, Nigerians who lived and died in 1984/85 missed nothing. As it was in 1984/85 so it is now in 2017. The noticeable slight changes in mode of operation could be due to the transition from autocracy to democracy, which calls for subtlety in achieving the same purpose of perfect tranquility in society.

In 9184/85, judges complied 100 per cent even without prompting because they knew what was involved. In 2015/2017, because of democracy, there is an undeclared campaign to cleanse the bench of unwilling judges and retain only those who can rapidly create evidence to punish corruption suspects and sponsors of irresponsible groups that disturb the polity with agitations for restructuring and self-determination.

Put differently, at Speed B, what it took to maintain socio-political order in 1984/85 is directly proportional to what it is taking to maintain the same order in 2017. That is, if one man could finish a piece of work in 18 months in 1985, it will not take more than the same man to finish the same piece of work in 2017. This is direct proportion, which does not require heavy quantitative aptitude to understand.

Let’s discuss something else. Former President Olusegun Obasanjo is a member of the President Buhari fans club. He understands the weak and strong points of the President and he has graciously told Nigerians that economy is not among the strong points of Buhari. I agree with him. In 1984/85, that point was so weak that every commodity in the economy that had a price tag became essential on account of its scarcity. Detergent, eggs, milk, rice, vegetable oil, body creams and lotions and so and so forth were called essenco (essential commodity).

What that meant was that the commodities were as scarce as gold and no one could walk to the roadside shop nearby to pick any just as gold is not picked in all retail outlets. Actually, the whole country became one huge refugee camp and soldiers in uniform and with horse whip in their hands did the distribution and proper channeling of essencos, much the same way that food items are being distributed in IDP camps in the Northeast. Most times, especially among ordinary folks, the real price of obtaining an essenco was not the money paid but the number of horsewhip strokes that accompanied the payment.

I must accept, however, that in re-living the economy of 1984/85 in 2017, there have been slight changes but not significant enough to impact the scenarios. The speed theory still applies and at Speed B, the degree of economic misery in 1984/85 directly relates to the degree of economic misery in 2017.

In 1984/85, people had ‘checked out’ of the country to escape the suffocating economic heat. And that was because Europe and America, the preferred destinations were calm, prosperous and very welcoming. Today, these two locations have their own issues and have lost capacity to play the big hosts to economic refugees. It is now every nation to itself. That is why most Nigerians, except the very few with capacity to spend months abroad on medical vacation, are staying put at home, come rain or shine.

I have gone great lengths to prove my own theory of relativity. To establish that at a near infinite speed called Speed B, life in 1984/85 equates life in 2017. Here is the equation: SB(-32)(84/85) = (32)(2015/2017). I will leave it for mathematicians to craft something better. For now, I am done with my part and I ask: shouldn’t some branch of the Nobel Prize in Sociology or whatever be created to compensate my efforts?

Finally, I want to say that in science and scholarship generally, no position is absolute. After all, Albert Einstein only did so much on the theory of relativity. Latter day scientists advanced the stuff into applicable technologies of which making of nuclear bomb, Internet and things driven by speed and quantum mechanics are part. And so, I am open to criticism and I would appreciate anybody in Nigeria and elsewhere that can hack down my theory with deeper findings. QED!



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