IMPLICATIONS OF KARL POPPER’S THEORY OF INCREMENTAL CHANGE ON THE QUEST FOR SOCIO-POLITICAL REVOLUTION IN NIGERIA

IMPLICATIONS OF KARL POPPER’S THEORY OF INCREMENTAL CHANGE ON THE QUEST FOR SOCIO-POLITICAL REVOLUTION IN NIGERIA

ABSTRACT

Karl Popper (1902 – 1994), a Vienna-born philosopher advanced a liberal theory of Incremental Change also known as “piece meal social engineering” which prefers reforms to revolution. He had argued that in view of the ontological fallibility of human rationality, the safest course in human actions should be to make sure that all programmes of change are advanced in small steps so that unexpected ill-effects of any action is closely checked. For him, socio-political revolution is quite ingenious but also perilously inclined to irrationalism, without consideration of the unpredictability of human actions and the changeability of phenomenon. He further notes that, the incremental approach to change involves self-criticism, tactfulness and certainty and is therefore more scientific in character, while revolutionary approach is always inspired by holism, utopianism, aestheticism and historicism and it lacks self-criticism and also involves much of speculation that often leads to unexpected results. In recent times, however, there is almost a general consensus among Nigerians that the socio-political realities in the country need change. And a reasonable population of Nigerians is arguing that the task of reinventing a new socio-political order in Nigeria can only be realised through a revolution by the masses owing to the disposition and unpreparedness of the ruling class to alter the status quo. This work therefore seeks to demonstrate the implication of Karl Popper’s theory of incremental change on the increasing quest for socio-political revolution in Nigeria with the aim of proposing an option for Nigeria in her quest for a socio-political transformation and sustainable development.