Monday, 17 December 2018

Reiterating the Sheblimini, Priesthood and Advocacy of Jesus On the Occasion of Femi Kasunmu’s Birthday - by SMB Sesan Johnson

Reiterating the Sheblimini, Priesthood and Advocacy of Jesus On the Occasion of Femi Kasunmu’s Birthday

For the Lord is our judge, the Lord is our lawgiver, the Lord is our king, it is He who will save us”- Isaiah 33: 12
On the one hand, one of the things I calculatedly use to mark people’s birthdays and special events is to write a decisive article or preach a sermon to epitomize and amplify some of the germane virtues of the celebrant. On the other hand, one of the greatest things I hate most to do is to flatter people because I do not like to be flattered either. Having said the above, this piece is centred on reiterating the priesthood and advocacy of Jesus Christ because I believe these tripartite archetypes truly represent the crux of what Femi Kasunmu stands for. You will agree with that Femi himself is a priest (pastor), an advocate (barrister) and a profound advisor.

In 2 Corinthians 10:12 the Bible says those who compare themselves to themselves are not wise. I am bold to say in all ramifications, it will be a great error to begin to compare Jesus with any other religious leader. Understanding these binary personalities (priest and advocate) of Jesus Christ is pertinent to our appreciation and appropriation of His mandate on earth. Jesus as God incarnate came as a gift (John 3: 16) to mediate between humanity and divinity, and arbitrated the process that triggered the restoration of man to dominion archetype designed by God Himself from the beginning.

Explicitly, the Bible continuously affirms the priesthood and advocacy of Jesus Christ. Hebrew 3:1 admonishes us:  wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus. Hebrew 4: 15 says for we have an high priest which cannot be touched with the feelings of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Therefore, Jesus can handle your case. Via prayers and requests just tender your situation to the High Priest and Divine Advocate.
Significantly, the priesthood of Jesus is after the order of Melchizedek (Genesis 14: 18, Hebrew 5: 10, and 6: 20). It is not after the order of Aaron. The Aaronic order is made up of priests that served ONLY in the temple. But the man for whom the order of Melchizedek was named was both king and priest, and Jesus deliberately chose that priesthood. It’s a hybridised priesthood, a secular/spiritual combo just like this celebrant.

Jesus is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world (I John 2: 1-2). There is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus (I Timothy 2:5). Hebrew 12: 24: Jesus is the mediator of the new covenant and used His precious blood to redeem mankind from the bondage of sins. The Bible confirms it that Jesus is our advocate who is with the Father (God). In other words, Jesus has the ears of God all the time. Jesus is also known as the Otunba, that is, Sheblimini – he who sits on the right hand of Majesty (Psalms 110: 1). He knows the mind of God, take Him as your advice-giver.

While declaring His manifestoes and mandate, Jesus says in Luke 4:18-19: “the Spirit of the Lord is upon me, for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free, and that the time of the Lord’s favour has come.” Jesus has given all Christians the same mandate to fulfil. While speaking on Strong Churches, Alder says “if you cannot politically impact your local geography, if you cannot implement social justice programs, fight for the poor in concrete terms; if you cannot fight against oppression in our polity, surely you cannot claim to be a strong church”. Christians and Churches must seek to emulate what Jesus stands for. We must both serve humanity as priests and advocates, i.e., preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ and also interceding for the world, particularly the lost souls. Remember Jesus has made us kings and priests unto God (I Peter 2:9, Revelation 1: 6).

With these thoughts, I say happy birthday to Femi Kasunmu.

Friday, 9 November 2018

Disruptive Technology, Paradigm Shift and Digital Futures by SMB Sesan Johnson

Disruptive Technology, Paradigm Shift and Digital Futures by SMB Sesan Johnson

That Facebook bought WhatsApp for $19 billion and Instagram for $1 billion baffles me particularly within the cycles of the net worth values of these two social media apps. This is also making me to rethink the Internet of Things (IoTs) and utilities of the Social Media. Do you still remember KODAK MOMENT of photography. Kodak was, for a generation, the brand that meant capturing stories with pictures. There are few corporate blunders as staggering as Kodak’s missed opportunities in digital photography, a technology that it invented. All indicators were showing that the future is about digital technology but Kodak remained skeptical. Kodak management’s inability to see digital photography as a disruptive technology, even as its researchers called the company’s attention to it is the blunder. While paralysis of decision-actions (The Decision Loom) goes a long way to explaining Kodak’s slow reaction to digital photography, its real value is as a guidepost for us today in dealing with ever-more disruptive changes. Given that there are few individuals not grappling with disruptive change today. Even me, I am grappling with these digital disruptive technologies.

Even today, digital photography is shifting; Facebook and Instagram where users store and share billions photographs daily shutting down all other photo sharing platforms. Whataspp, Twitter, etc all have their unique particularities and utilities. Within the remix of your social graphs and future realities, what are the changes you need to adopt or adapt to? What is the disruptive technology you need to adopt in order to remain relevant professionally and socially in the nearest 10 years?

 Do not forget this is one of the decisive and actions Kodak, Nokia, Blackberry, etc refused to do. Whether you are an “evolutionist” or a “creationist”, change constitutes the main element of the process in which you believe. You remember, “survival of the fittest”. The fittest are fittest because they have undergone change which confers on them reproductive superiority in a constantly changing environment. Change is the only permanent thing. Seek for improvement because it is the largest room in the world. Have an enterprise mindset that is opened to change. Embrace, Growth Mindset and renew your mind daily and continually along progressive trajectories (Romans 12: 1–3).

African Intellectuals, Universities and Africa’s Development by SMB Sesan Johnson

African Intellectuals, Universities and Africa’s Development by SMB Sesan Johnson

As a product of the premier university of Nigeria, I am joining the world to congratulate University of Ibadan as it celebrates 70 years of University Education in Nigeria. Significantly, for me what come to mind now is what has been the trajectory of the major contributions of the intellectuals to Africa’s development? What has become the link between the gowns and towns? No doubt, Africa is in dire need of development since by 2030 urban populations in Africa are expected to increase by an additional 350 million people. Can we really separate the contributions of the intellectuals from resistance to colonialism and eventual independence of the country? Africa’s political history had highlighted the major contributions of intellectuals to political and constitutional developments of the continent.

In recent times, the African Development Bank Group (AfDB) opines that African economies have sustained unprecedented rates of growth, driven mainly by strong domestic demand, improved macroeconomic management, a growing middle class, and increased political stability. However, the bank (AfDB) holds that if the fight against poverty has to be won, there must be improvements in the quality and quantity of statistical data on all components of development. Hence, reliable data is critical to setting goals and targets as well as evaluating project impact. For me, this is where collaboration must be forged between universities and policy makers. Government agencies and industries must make policies on research based data.

Paradoxically, the ideas that usually provoke revolutionary developments do not originate with the masses — a people with the most reasons for revolt. It is the intellectuals that usually orchestrate developmental trajectory. Lenin agrees with this assertion, no wonder he opines that the ‘armies of the proletariat would dissolve in purposeless confusion’. However, intellectuals are usually considered trouble makers — for example, Stalin considers historians as dangerous species. Notwithstanding, intellectuals are useful to the society as a whole, hence; intellectuals can render conservative as well as radical services. Considering various strands of differentials, and dichotomies in the world, intellectualism is the bedrock and benign engine of their proliferation and authorisation. For instance, intellectualism or works of intellectuals cannot be divulged from the following dichotomies: conservatism versus liberalism, monarchism versus republicanism, capitalism versus communism, First World states versus Third World states, etc. Therefore, regardless who the protagonist or the antagonist is, the intellectuals are regarded as useful but also dangerous. Take for instance, the contributions of Keynes to world’s economies.

Keynes was one of most famous world’s economists and a self-proclaimed liberal intellectual. Evident were the trial runs of Keynes’s economic ideas in Hitler’s Germany and its applicability in USA under the auspices of Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal. Consequently, governments (USA, Britain, etc) started using ideas from Keynes’s economics. Invariably, Breton Woods’s frameworks were premised on Keynes’s arguments against the tyranny of gold, which crystallised into the establishment and operationality of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and International Monetary Fund (IMF). Likewise, the Marshall Plan which contributed greatly to the revitalisation of the post-WWII devastated European economy was financed by the kind of money Keynes advocated for as a way out of economic recession. This became Breton Woods’ financing architecture for governments. This thus ushered in ‘the Age of Keynes’. The flaws in Keynesian ideologies manifested in its ineffectiveness in solving economic problems of the Third World states including Africa.

What can we say of future contributions of intellectuals Africa’s developments? What have become of the various thoughts developed by the likes of Claude Ake, Kwame Anthony Appiah, Wole Soyinka, George Ayittey, Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, Toyin Falola, etc. In Africa’s universities there’s a great a need to provide intellectual archetype that will facilitate flowery of ideas and postulations that will create future developmental models for Africa. Africa needs ‘disruptive political theories’ premised on indigenous African political systems particularly for inclusive governance and security. Same goes for ‘disruptive economic theories’ that will be based on Africa’s realities and imperatives and which will yield economic performance, inclusiveness, and structural transformation, as well as necessitates diversifying African economies away from dominant sectors such as agriculture and commodities. Likewise, there is a great need for intellectuals to train their protégés (students) using current realities and methodologies all in an attempt to bringing lasting solutions to all societal problems.

What can help shapes the development templates of Nigeria as 2019 approaches? What can intellectuals contribute to the utilities and appropriation of the binaries of Buharism and Atikulation? What are the variables and possibilities of the political and socio-economic graphs of other presidential candidates like Sowore, Oby, Fela, Donald, Iroko, etc. No doubt, Nigeria’s universities are having their challenges particularly when you measure their qualities and performance within the frameworks of global standards. Today, within the cycles of pervading economic woes in the country and the preparedness towards 2019 elections, I believe the country’s intellectuals must rethink their contributions towards the future of the nation.

“Buhari’s WAEC Certificate vs Atiku’s USA Travel Ban: Nigeria’s Loss of PRIORITY” by SMB Sesan JOHNSON

“Buhari’s WAEC Certificate vs Atiku’s USA Travel Ban: Nigeria’s Loss of PRIORITY” by SMB Sesan JOHNSON

Somehow in recent time, I had muted my muse and pen on issues relating to Nigeria’s 2019 election. No doubt, this is for private reasons.

Now, on the one hand, Atiku is focusing his energy to prove that he can travel to US. Will that make him a better president come 2019? On the other hand, Buhari worked hard to prove he indeed sat for WAEC. Is certification the prerequisite for better performance come 2019? (If you ask me, who I go ask)

In 2 Kings 6:25 King (KJV), the Bible says: “And there was a great famine in Samaria: and, behold, they besieged it, until an ass’s head was sold for fourscore pieces of silver, and the fourth part of a cab of dove’s dung for five pieces of silver.”

I hope you will agree with me that Nigeria’s political and socio-economic situations are somehow the same with the conditions that pervaded Samaria in the scripture above. Even ardent supporters of APC-led government can not deny the worrisome economic situations in the country. The masses are passing through ‘trying’ times. With the same momentum, some army of people are gathering outside the country (Dubai, etc) besieging the country. This call for a serious concern. Don’t you think this situation is bad already and it’s about to give in to the army besieging it. This must be reflected upon devoid of bias along party line. ‘Oro yi di apero fun gbogbo omo eriwo’.

On this debacle over Buhari’s certificate and Atiku’s US travel ban, methinks Nigerians are missing it. Markedly, Nigeria seems to be under siege currently. And when a nation is under a siege, priorities are misplaced. Things of values become worthless and worthless issues are giving high values.

Premised on the above scripture, Nigerians must pray and take drastic actions to avert the current siege upon our nation. It took dramatic and bold steps (as orchestrated by God) by four (#4) lepers to change the scourge besieging Samaria. I prophetically believe that Nigerians can use the next four (#4) months to forge a better future for this great nation. We must pray to God for grace to have His fears and to have passion and love for our nation and the citizens. We must seek for directions and join hands together to formulate development template for a future greater than our imaginings. A future that generations to come will bless the generation of today.

God bless Nigeria!

Thursday, 27 September 2018

"Rethinking Psychoanalysis in Historical Studies" - by SMB Sesan Michael JOHNSON

"Rethinking Psychoanalysis in Historical Studies" - by SMB Sesan Michael JOHNSON

Psychoanalysis was founded by Sigmund Freud (1856-1939). Freud believed that people could be cured by making conscious their unconscious thoughts and motivations, thus gaining insight. Premised on Freud's disquisition, there have been accentuation in the utility of psychoanalysis in the the works of historians. Following the submission of R.G. Collingwood on causality in history, 'history is the study of causation and human agency'. He further opines that to study human agency; the mind of the human agent is critical to the interpretations of the historian. Collingwood in "Essay on Metaphysics" states inter alias that 'all philosophical questions are really historical'. Thus, historical thinking must involve metaphysical thinking. Therefore, in line with Positivist paradigm; historical knowledge could be reduced to scientific knowledge. So, psychoanalysis in historical studies could be said to be 'quasi-biological interpretation of human action'.

Although psychoanalysis and history have different conceptions of time and causality, extant literature has established the fact that there can be a productive relationship between them. Psychoanalysis can force historians to question their certainty about facts, narratives, and cause. It also can help to reinforce the notion about unconscious motivation on the making of history.
As argued by Collingwood on the instrumentality of metaphysics in historical analysis; uncovering the hidden motives for individuals actions would offer new insights into issues. I think this is collaborated by Frank Manuel's submission that 'psychoanalysis is a historical instrumentality'.

Within the framework of the usability and adaptability of psychoanalysis in medical history; what comes to my mind now is the currency 'Medical Humanities' is gaining globally. Markedly, this is bringing back the roles of humanities to guide medical care and introduce the power of critical thinking into interrogation and interpretation of divergent roles of human agency in medical issues as they relate to how victims or patients are psychological & medically treated and stopping objectification and belittling of patients. This will help historians to contribute to the field of medicine because the issues around health are not only medical, epidemiological, sociological but also historical.

No doubt, in the history of diseases and cycles of public health conversations; the issues of individuation, dehumanisation and humanity will remain problematic for historian of medicine particularly within the framework of using psychoanalysis. As historians continue to explore the field of medicine; historians must be reminded that "the dead and patients do not ask to be cured" by them, but "only to be understood". Fundamentally, in the field of medicine, I think the idea with which the historian must work is not just cause-and-effect but more of challenge-and-response.
SMB Johnson is a historian and a researcher in the fields of Historical Science, Philosophy of History, Medical Humanities and History of Diseases in Africa.....

Monday, 20 August 2018

“Rejigging Popular Culture and the Internet of Things (IoT) in Nigeria” — by SMB Sesan Michael Johnson

“Rejigging Popular Culture and the Internet of Things (IoT) in Nigeria” — by SMB Sesan Michael Johnson

Popular culture is generally recognized by members of a society as a set of norms, beliefs, and culture that are ubiquitous in a society at a given point in time. It therefore has a way of influencing people’s attitudes towards certain issues in the society. Traditionally, the media for the sake of politics is often strategically staged to win the minds of the masses. Do you remember the idea behind ‘the technology of knowledge’ and politics fuelling production of knowledges in every society? Pushing this further into the realms of the sociation, physicality and interactivity of the new media, evident is the supersonic currency and acceptability of the popular culture buzzing out via this innovation. Then, what is the big deal (kini big deal na?) about the Internet of things and the social media?

The historiographical survey of the Internet shows a sea change in technological innovation and culturedness. The ever-shifting dynamism of this leveraging technology includes revolutionary migration from HTTP to HTML, Web 1.0 to Web 2.0 and other electrifying hard and soft protocols of the social media.

Evident is the accentuation in the catalogue of information and diarrhoea of conflicting narratives daily tormenting the people. In the same vein, there is increase in the momentum of the un-gated interactivity of divergent cultural curves which are always culminating into electrifying intrigues and nuances mediating and routing via popular culture and the attending sociology of the Internet as well as the Internet of things pervading our digital psychic and cognition.

The popular culture which is being staged ubiquitously and veraciously imposed by the elitist archetype on the citizenry is not only being unassumingly consumed by the credulous masses but it is also calculatedly consuming the masses. Without critical minds, many consume all they see and read on the social media not minding the sources and the motives behind the information.

Whereas amidst the cacophony of discordant crises prevalent in our polity, this imposed popular culture via the Internet/social media entails massive use of data to proliferate the data the elite want the masses to digest and believe; yet, the masses failed to even peruse and confirm the data.
Putting it differently, life is now staged to be driven by data. Everyone has now become contents producers (texts, audio, videos, graphics, etc). You can imagine the numbers of bytes of contents generated per second. For most individuals, data for connectivity is now ranked topmost on the priority list. Communication module of the youths is now more centred on data driven apps. Notably, the elders (50 years plus) are now becoming fams of this ubiquitous popular culture of connectedness via the new media.

On Nigeria’s cyberspace, there exist varied worlds and each world has its unique contortions, concoctions and culture. For instance, rumour often has its unchallenging preeminence on Facebook. Go to Instagram, you will conclude that Nigeria is a paradise but come to Twitter streets, fakes news reigns with continued contestation from real news thereby causing heated conversations that sometimes breed hatredness, causes and tintinnabulation.

Recently, Twitter, Facebook and whatasp individually agree to clamp down on fake accounts and handles. News has it that even some American celebrities such as Oprah lost over a million followers on Twitter. This is a case of living fake life (fake accounts) by the Internet users. Multiple identities and discordant representations that easily permeate into loving and living fake life. Hence, dis-harmonised lifestyles is now ingrained into the belief system of the people. This dysfunctional popular culture is having untold effects on the people’s value system and thought process. Suffice to remind us that when the scam known as ‘yahoo-yahoo’ started, the generality of the people frowns at it but it is unfortunate that unknowingly it is gradually becoming acceptable and excusable.

In terms of social justice and national development, we must rethink the ongoing popular culture of the social media and sociation of the Internet of things (IoT) currently characterising our polity. Fundamentally, this muse must not be considered within the framework of the debacle of binary debate of the elite versus the masses. It should also not be misconstrued as asking for the abandonment of this great technology. No doubt, this is digital age. As a digital evangelist I have for about two decades been advocating for ICT4D and Internet evangelism in Africa. Internet revolution has come to stay, therefore it must be romanced in positive light. Markedly, this muse is calling for strategic rethinking and refiguring of Nigeria’s popular culture vis-a-vis the social algorithms of the Internet.