The popular mantra that knowledge is power has been a serious concern to me and my cronies for a while now. This is because we have used all our childhood and youthful energy to pursue knowledge knowing that it is the only way to be influential in society and to secure power. Sadly, we have begun to think otherwise thanks to what we see today in our current society especially in African countries.
By the way, what does the statement, knowledge is power connote? In my understanding, it tends to lay credence to the acquisition of information as a substantial edge over others. By being informed above others in abounding issues, you have an advantage over them which can as well be regarded as power.
But with the happenings in the world today and in Africa most especially, we seem to be having a rethink: knowledge is not just power. Other things like connections, political power, money, etc are. If knowledge is power, then the professors and other widely read men and women would have been our leaders. But it is not so.
Nigeria just conducted a presidential election in which professors and technocrats were involved. These men performed creditably well both in political debates, and the election itself and a lot of people expected them to triumph. Disappointment fell on millions of faces; during the announcement of the results. There were extensive speculations and allegations of rigging, but nothing was done about it.
And then, my friends and I had the conclusion that knowledge is not power, but power is power. Yes, he that has the state power automatically controls all the power, including the ability to win elections, especially in Africa. Of course, this is not only happening in Nigeria, but it also occurs in almost all African countries.
Am I now saying that we should stop acquiring knowledge? Far from it and God forbid! What I’m saying instead is that while we give ourselves to pursuing knowledge at all costs, we should also do well to ‘shine our eyes’ as a Lagos man will say.
‘Knowledge is power’ is still a truism. But knowledge alone is not power, especially in today’s world. Many other things are.
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