Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Society is Sick!

In the last ten years we have been witnessing a steady and progressive deterioration of those cherished values which formed the superstructures for the building of our national ethos. Core family and cultural values, which in the past fostered law and order without the intervention of the law enforcement agencies, are fading away.
The old image of a country of peace and order, good neighbourliness, and mutual respect seems blurred. Now, there is tension, fear, suspicion, disorderliness, hatred and chaos everywhere. The worst hit is the Nigerian youth, the future leaders of tomorrow. Society is full of ill-bred and uncouth youths who hardly respect constitutional authority, talk less their elders.
In the press, pulpit, lecture rooms, market places, stadia and other fora, Nigerians soberly ask the following questions: What does the future hold for us and our children? What is the way forward? What is the country turning into?
Ironically no one can answer these questions with great assurance. With many years of failed dreams, shattered expectations and betrayed hope, the people have lost confidence in their political leaders. At the moment Nigeria is being challenged on all fronts-politically, socially, culturally, intellectually and morally. The estrangement from pristine values finds dramatic expression in crass materialism, inordinate ambition to get rich quick at all cost, cheating, lack of refinement, lack of respect for constituted authority and fragrant violation of human rights and dignity. Gradually we are building a country of people who may be materially- rich but lack character.
But while the country cries for good leadership, the people are not showing any better example. We now live in a country that is increasingly torn apart by deep hatred, primitive instincts to dominate others, profligacy, unbridled individualism, narcissism and other bundle of vices. Everywhere we see man’s inhumanity to man, in some cases savage, bestial behaviour.
Considering that there cannot be meaningful development in a country that has no values, we call for a moral renaissance or a new national re-birth in Nigeria. We must restore core family and cultural values as acceptable behaviour. We have to raise the standards of public behaviour by ensuring respect for one another and learning to forgive.
We are at a critical period in the history of our country. We may want to achieve greatness with material power alone, but that is suicidal. Empires built on greed, materialism and selfishness, sooner or later, are bound to crumble in crisis.
The country urgently needs moral re-birth. In the past, the family provided the bridge that allowed the youngsters to graduate from childhood to adulthood with a certain sense of security. Nowadays, many youngsters cannot rely on this support because many families have become dysfunctional. Many modern parents, driven by the desire to make money, have delegated their parental responsibilities to house maids.
Civic education should be re-introduced in schools, and government agencies in charge of national orientation should be resourced to reach out to all corners of the sick society to engage Nigerians on our key values. It is necessary to create lifestyles in which the promotion of common good, truth, justice, and fair-play are given priority in the scheme of things.
Leaders, parents and teachers should walk the talk to be acceptable role models to the rest of society.
We do not disagree with experts who have suggested that at the root of the indecent behaviour of some Nigerians is poverty. A hungry, unemployed man, who cannot afford food or roof over his head, is bound to be frustrated into doing everything to survive. As part of the moral renaissance, we call on all tiers of government to address poverty more seriously.
Nigeria can still be one of the world’s leading economies with our common cherished core values. That is what makes us Nigeria!