The Market Place and Its Idols: Evaluation of a Philosopher’s Reflections on Nigeria
sapientia journal vol 18


Market place
Idols of the mind


Francis Bacon, Friedrich Nietzsche and Samuel Udoidem all have something in common – the search for wisdom in unusual places. For Udoidem, the search begins at the market place. The market is a place where two or more persons congregate to buy and sell but beyond this material market is the real market. The real market, according to him is the 'market place of ideas'. Udoidem used the metaphor of the philosopher in the market place to dissect, ex-ray, critique and proffer solutions to the myriad of political and socio-economic problems bedevilling the Nigerian state. Among his findings is the fact that Nigeria is a “country” and not a “nation” and he is terribly flabbergasted by the silence of the people in the midst of systemic injustice and leadership dishonesty. He proposes amongst others the 'trans-valuation of values by which he means 'going beyond the everyday not-so-valuable values' that deter national growth. This work is a comparative evaluation of Udoidem's inaugural lecture entitled The Philosopher in the Market Place: A Reflection on the Future of Nigeria. Francis Bacon's analogy of the Idols of the Mind and Nietzsche's parable of the mad man were used as theoretical frameworks. The paper argued that the authors, though centuries apart – share the philosopher's burden of trans-valuation of values for the good of humanity. The paper agrees with Udoidem that it will take the trans-valuation of enshrined values in the country to halt systemic injustice and give voice to the silenced.