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Long live this philosopher-king!

If controversy were a child and you argue that he is its father, you are not lying; for, he nurses it, nourishes it and takes…

If controversy were a child and you argue that he is its father, you are not lying; for, he nurses it, nourishes it and takes good care of it like a father does his beloved child. If controversy were a brand name and you argue that he is the sole owner of its copyright, you are still not off point; for, he produces it in great commercial quantities like a producer does his brand in vogue or high demand. He doesn’t court controversy; controversy courts him! You loathe controversy? He loves it! You avoid it? He looks for it! You shun it? He embraces it! Did I hear you ask: ‘who is this one?’ You must be dwelling on Jupiter and not here on earth with us then!

Did the great Greek philosopher, Plato, have him in his mind when he theorized about his concept of the philosopher-king many centuries ago? Certainly not, but the crown of the concept of Plato’s philosopher-king appears to fit him. And he wouldn’t hesitate to wear the diadem! Know who is a philosopher-king in Plato’s utopian state of Kallipolis? He is the only one who sees the reality where other men only see shadows. He is the only one who has access to ideas and knowledge-‘he is the archetypal entity that exists behind all representations of the form’. Given his superior knowledge, therefore, it is only natural, Plato argued, that the philosopher should govern other lesser folks as their king. And here we are, in Plato’s utopian state of ‘Kallipolis’ with our philosopher-king. Welcome to ‘Kallipolis’, the land of the philosopher-king!

An enigma of a man, our philosopher-king, is many things to different folks. Whether in government or out of it, in turban or in silky suit with a butterfly tie to match, he will always see and stir up controversy even where none appears to exist. This perhaps explains why one of his dogged ‘intellectual’ debate opponents in those days, Banu az-Zubair, argued that far from his claim to being a philosopher, the philosopher-king, was actually a ‘philosourpuss’-that is someone who loves being bad tempered. And from his numerous ‘intellectual interventions’ and ‘engagements’ with people like Mohammed Haruna and the ‘glorified almajiri’ (May God have mercy on the soul of that great scholar, Sheikh Jaafar Adam!), you will be hard put to it to disprove the submission of Banu az-Zubair.

Anybody with even basic socio-cultural knowledge of Northern Nigeria knows that the region, like the south, grapples with its own peculiar problems begging for solutions from stakeholders. Almajiris, Boko Haram, poverty, illiteracy, girl child education etc. But do we solve all these problems by simply making a song on them and dancing about it or by individual and collective actions? Even an almajiri (glorified or not) should know better; much less a philosopher-king.

I may not be a philosopher nor have the privilege of being ‘a glorified almajiri’ but when I philosophize and ponder over the widelycelebrated moves for legislation on polygamy among the poor folks in ‘Kallipolis’, the whole thing re-enacts the bourgeoisie-proletariat struggle in my vision. First, polygamy pertains to marriage which is a SUNNAH practice of the prophet (pbuh) and everyone should welcome any move to perfect the Sunnah of the prophet via legislation to guard for its abuse. However, problem is, polygamy should not be the first on the list of our philosopher-king’s priorities. What should, then be? Enforcement of the payment of Zakkat or poor dues among the rich folks in ‘Kallipolis’! Reason? Because Zakkat is a FARILLAH and one of the main pillars of Islam. In fact a Caliph even fought those who refused to give it out. And it is the indispensible duty of any Amir to enforce it! But why does our Amir busies himself with solving aSUNNAH-related problem and ignores a FARILLAH-related one? Because the former involves the poor, small fry members of ‘Kallipolis’ while the latter involves his own class, the rich, the big fries?

My take on it is this: if all the rich men and women in ‘Kallipolis’ pay their Zakkat as and when due and the proceeds is judiciously used to cater for the almajiris/indigent, by now our philosopher-king will only be begging the ordinary folks in ‘Kallipolis’ to add more wives because after budgeting for many future generations of almajiris,trillions of money will still remain in the ‘Zakkat Account of

Kallipolis’! This seeming utopian state will definitely come about if the philosopher-king does first things first and not last things first as he now does with polygamy. And, by the way, if I may ask, what has previously been our philosopher-king,’s contributions say in the way of award of scholarships to indigent students like his elite-counterparts (e.g Tony Elumelu, Segun Agbaje, Aiboje Aig-Imoukhuede, Herbert Wigwe, Wale Tinubu and Shagaya) do in the south, our philosopher-king’s model region?

In point of fact, the philosopher king can even threaten the rich in ‘Kallipolis’ with denial of palace (state) funeral if they do not giveout Zakkat after a legislation has been put in place. I am sure the poor in ‘Kallipolis’ will support the execution and enforcement of this threat/sanction. This is not a hyperbole but; I can bet that the amount to be realized if the rich comply will be more than enough to educationally empower all the almajiris in Northern Nigeria! Isn’t the richest African a subject in ‘Kallipolis’? When did you ever read or hear the news of his payment of yearly Zakkat dues? Doesn’t Islam encourage publicizing Zakkat? It is probably the only act in Islam where riya (showing off) is not an issue.

On a final note, our philosopher king should know and note that the transition from philosopher or ‘philosourpuss’ to philosopher-king makes him automatically forfeits some of his personal philosopher rights. Before, he philosophized to offer sound advise to kings who were/are not knowledgeable enough to be philosopher-kings and now he is expected to practice all that he preached then! No more ‘interventions’ or ‘engagements’ now! Only actions and in their right order of priority now! Long live the philosopher-king.

Hadejia, wrote this piece from Lokoja, Kogi State.

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