Can Nigeria Fix Its Value System?

Wpid Goodluck Jonathan
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According to the Cambridge Advanced Learner?s Dictionary, values refer to the beliefs people have about what is right and wrong and what is most important in life, which control their behaviour.
Some universally accepted values include integrity, truth, love, trust and patience. All of these are lacking in the individual lives of most Nigerians and residents of Nigeria, including the leadership. This implies that even Nigeria as a country does not currently possess the moral capacity for growth and development. This is so unfortunate.

wpid-Goodluck-Jonathan.jpgThe process of creating and developing a particular value system in an individual conveniently happens under education as part of a child?s development process. The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) reports that there are about 30 million primary school age children in Nigeria, out of which an estimated 10 million are not enrolled in school. Nigeria?s population is not only the largest in Africa, but also among the youngest. 63% of Nigeria?s population is less than 24 years of age. Increasing numbers of children cause a greater demand for primary and secondary school education, which is critical in the restoration of the society?s bastardized values. Unfortunately, only 44% of qualified candidates are absorbed into secondary schools presently. Now, how will these deprived children grow up with the right values that can collectively aid the nation?s growth when they become adults and possibly, attain leadership positions?

There is an urgent for government to give basic and primary education the full attention it deserves. There is equally a need to retrain teachers to teach new generation of pupils and students the correct values, the culture of civic education and the appropriate morals that would benefit the nation. One major persisting danger however, is that most of these children are fast becoming ?teachers? themselves, courtesy of advancements in technology, transmitting the wrong values, ironically, to some parents.
Restoring the lost values that Nigeria of yesteryears thrived on, is the responsibility of every citizen beginning from the family. When parents discuss how to defraud someone in the presence of their children, it is a big error. When parents condemn and attack classroom teachers for correcting their children?s wrong doing, it is an investment in self destruction. We are in the days when parents hire people to write exams for their children. Some, worse still, tutor their children on how to cheat in the exam hall, pay invigilators through their children to facilitate exam malpractices, and so on. This teaches the child that hard work and merit is not necessary and that attaining achievements through fraudulent means is preferable.
Some parents lie and defraud people right before the eyes of their children Also, frequently castigating others falsely before children, gives them impression that people are generally bad. It tells them that respect for people and their personalities is not important. Need we still wonder the source of guts for the unscrupulous killings of young men and women, perpetuated by fellow human beings? The value for sanctity of human life has already been killed at the family level and this is worrisome.
The family and religious institutions have a lot of work to do as regards the inculcation of good morals, teaching of the undiluted truth and the importance of love. It is time for every parent in Nigeria to understand that he or she is a major guiding movie in the project of shaping character for the children?s future. It is also important to understand that every badly shaped character is a problem to the society in future.
The values of love, trust, integrity and hard work are now far from the Nigerian society and they must be revived. Criminals and fraudulent people are publicly given prestigious awards by authorities instead of punishments. Today, Nigeria?s burden rests on the fact that so many highly placed individuals in government are indicted by one probe or the other and nothing happens to them in form of punishment.
There is a desperate need to revisit the value system in Nigeria because the progress of a place is determined more by the nature of the people in the place than the nature of the place. A moral rebirth is urgently required.
The virtue of love and sympathy from the leadership for the followership is totally absent. The President or a Governor prefers to attend to some party and embark on a foreign trip to attract criminally handsome allowances, than to attend to an immediate security challenge, involving loss of thousands of human lives. Instead of focusing on meeting the yearnings and aspirations of the people without looting, he prefers to issue a people-oriented contract to an obviously incompetent contractor, who helps him to divert the budget for such projects into his personal purse. Immediate gratifications and personal interests override public well being. If we truly desire development as a nation, our value system must change from this kind of satanic oddity.
To fix Nigeria?s value system, politicians should stop politicizing truth while economists must stop economizing facts. Religious leaders should also display responsibility by simply doing their jobs faithfully.
The leadership in Nigeria must equally realize that every action, secret or open, is an investment that must yield returns as a seed that has to eventually, be harvested. As the holy books would say, whatever a man soweth, the same shall he reap.
We must avoid falling victim to the postulations of Mohandas K. Ghandi, father of the Indian nation. He says: ‘The things that will destroy us are: politics without principle; pleasure without conscience; wealth without work; knowledge without character; business without morality; science without humanity and worship without sacrifice.’
By Albinus Chiedu, Public Affairs Analyst, 36, Oduyemi Street, Ikeja, Lagos
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