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Gov. Uzodinma Is Not Against Rational Criticism 

Source: Prof. Nathan Uzoma Protus
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Towards the end of The Apology, Socrates made a statement that resonates the spirit of Philosophy of life thus, “I tell you that…examining both myself and others is really the very best thing that a man can do, and that life without this sort of examination is not worth living.” In examining both himself and others as one of the essence of knowledge, Socrates made sure that before he says anything; such information or examination must pass through his philosophical Triple Filter Test.

The above reminds me of the day the famous philosopher Socrates was visited by an acquaintance of his who consequently visited him to share some juicy gossip. The man asked if Socrates would want to know the story he heard about a friend of theirs. Socrates was not enthusiastic to hear rather he responded by telling his visitor to pass the Triple Filter Test before he could listen to him.

The first Filter test Socrates explained is Truth. “Have you made absolutely sure that what you are about to say is true?” The man shook his head. “No, I actually just heard about it, and…” Socrates cut him off. “You don’t know for certain that it is true, then Socrates continued with the test, “Is what you want to say something good or kind?” Again, the man shook his head. “No! Actually, just the opposite…You see...” Socrates lifted his hand to stop the man speaking. “So you are not certain that what you want to say is true, and it isn’t good or kind.

One Filter test still remains, though, so you may yet still tell me. Socrates continued, “Is this information useful or necessary to me?” A little defeated, the man replied, “No, not really.” It was at this point that Socrates said, “If what you want to say is neither true, nor good or kind, nor useful or necessary, please don’t say anything at all.”

Following the above, it is very expedient to note that before one voices his opinion, one must make sure that he asks himself the following questions, Is it true? Is it good? Is it kind? Is it useful? Is it necessary? If it passes all these filters, one can then speak or criticise. If the information you want to pass across to the society is bereft of the filter test, you either keep it to yourself than to speak against anyone just for speaking sake.

A critic must know that he or she is the mouthpiece of the people and must be willing to speak the truth to his nation at all time. The truth of the matter is that these Filter tests are the tests of human conscience; and like Martin Luther King, “It is both hazardous and dishonourable for a man to act contrary to the dictates of conscience.” For Shakespeare, “What is a stronger breastplate than a heart unstained.”Mahatma Gandhi concludes, “In matters of conscience, the law of the majority has no place.”

I am saying this in view of some misguided people on social media who from time to time negate the office of the governor and his functions and would go into calling him derogatory names. Some of them know that I am a fearless critic but must have enough reason to criticize anybody. In the words of Plato, “Wise men speak because they have something to say; fools because they have to say something.” According to Winston Churchill, “Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak, courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.” This is not the time for name calling; it’s not the time to begin to blame Senator Hope Uzodinma. This is the time for us to pray for our dear state and our governor so that he will not miss direction.

Gov. Hope is not a perfect man and I know that no man in the physical system of reality is complete and perfect. However, it is too early to begin to criticize Senator Uzodinma . We all know the circumstances surrounding his emergence as the governor and following same, few weeks after his emergence, Corona virus visited Nigeria and got many of them distracted. Hope remained focused though while some governors in Nigeria were busy isolating themselves from public gathering that was when our governor was swearing in some of his Commissioners and Special Advisers, a development that made me bilious. But with his efforts on ground in dealing with Covid-19, I sincerely congratulate him.

We need to give him time to be able to show the administrative stuff he is made of. Yes, we need to watch him very well and give him time to prove himself. Criticizing him because he unseated Rt. Hon. Ihedioha of my party- the PDP, is to say the least an abomination. A reasonable critic must say what is right and constructive so that he or she will not be faulted by anyone.

The reason for the above philosophical quotations is to authenticate my view on rational criticism which Sen. Hope is not against. If my governor fails to perform, I will speak out and will never allow my voice to be influenced by my political party and associates. The system is not convoluted at the moment; the governor is trying to gather momentum as this administration remains focused to the promises. He is just one hundred days in office and must not be judged as a failure. He is doing his best I am only not comfortable by some of his team workers.

My criticism of any government must be based on conscience and should pass the Socrates Filter test. The government of Senator Hope is a new administration though by now we are able to know what is possible and that which is yet to be possible. You don’t need two days to prove what you have. You only have one opportunity to create the first impression you, don’t need another opportunity to create the first impression. However, Chief Hope has through his appointments shown that he is a good man in rewarding loyalty. But he should bear in mind that the reward of loyalty without competence is a total misplacement of administrative dexterity.

With the first impression created by Gov. Hope, any criticism against his administration must pass the filter test. In the words of John Witherspoon, “Never rise to speak till you have something to say; when you have say it, cease.”William Shakespeare enthuses, “Listen to many, speak a few…”

Those who expect me to speak out should know that I shall not disappoint them as I remain a watchdog to any government in Imo state. Yes, I will not compromise my position with Imo government at any time because I am representing the poor masses, the downtrodden, the oppressed and exploited of the society to mention a few. However, I must speak when there is need for it. I am watching this government with keen interest and very soon, I shall bring to the public that which I have discovered as I remain unbridled to the course of making any government sit up.

In the words of Plato, “The greatest ignorance is when a man hates that which he nevertheless thinks to be good and noble and loves and embraces that which he knows to be unrighteous and evil.” On the other hand, another philosopher Ayn Rand enthuses, “Integrity does not consist of loyalty to one’s subjective whims but of loyalty to rational principles.”

The Reformer has not forgotten his root which is intertwined with loyalty to rational principles by not ignoring that which is good and noble. I have written a similar article in the past informing my people that whatever position I occupy in government whether at the state or federal levels, I must continue to be a critic. I must continue my criticism anywhere I find myself. This may be difficult for some people to believe, but I shall not change my stand. This is irresistibly axiomatic! Yes, none is good except the Lord. As humans, we are made up of imperfection and it reflects in whatever we do; as a result, criticism gives us the chance of correcting ourselves. One Chinese Proverb says, “Think of your own faults the first part of the night when you are awake, and of the faults of others the latter part of the night when you are asleep.” In the words of Anne McCaffrey “Make no judgments where you have no compassion”. So it takes courage, love and compassion for one not to compromise his position with any government as a critic.