by Melvin Umunna
‘’I pledge to Nigeria my country to be faithful, loyal and honest…’’ Perhaps Nigeria would have been a better place if we all lived in the spirit of the national pledge. If we take a survey down every institution and interest groups one thing that is common is code of conduct which emphasizes integrity, honesty and other credible ethos. Nigerians in the world today constitutes one of the most religious people, despite all these, we find our society on the brink of moral bankruptcy. We spew high level of corruption, ineptitude in governance, impunity, which has become a systemic pandemic.
Every society is known by peculiarities which define them; these peculiarities form their common identity. This value shared by each society is the building block on which any meaningful development occurs. The value system therefore becomes more profound because national development hinges on it. Rev. Father Matthew Kukah in our 50th Celebration of independence said “in its 50 years of nationhood, Nigeria has been bedeviled with politics without principles, pleasure without conscience, wealth without work, knowledge without character, business without morality, science without humanity and worship without sacrifice.” The values that upholds us as a state is faulty, hypocrisy has becomes the new wave, selective justice, lip service has characterized the order of the day.
Entrepreneurs cheat and it is applauded as being smart, pastors are involved in fake miracles, rape is encouraged and to the defense of the rapist we all scream our girls dress indecently, students cheat, our politicians have become mega rich with no legal source of income outside the coffers of government. There is no question of sudden wealth, the few that asks are been shut up and labelled bad belle, no social consequences for misconduct, no encouragement for the virtues of hardwork and integrity. Our MCM politician once said why investigate the source of others wealth if we don’t do same on their poverty, remarkably shameful! The only thing that brings Nigerians shame is poverty, not crime or corruption and this is reinforced positively.
Rebuilding the Nigerian value system from the brink of collapse shouldn’t be taken with kid gloves. In order to forestall morals, decency every unit of the society has a major role to play and without an input from these units rebuilding becomes more of a mirage than a reality. The rebuilding of the value system has to be a deliberate and conscious efforts guided by the family, education, government, media and religion to readjusting the ideological appeals.
To lead this rebuilding phase is the family and this can be structured and achieved through responsible parenting. Everyone is a product of their environment and it is needless to say that the first environment a child is exposed to is the family. Responsible parenting will champion this value building through orientation of their wards.
The educational institution is very crucial in this rebuilding phase. The Nigerian educational system should encourage the ethics of hardwork and integrity as this would ensure a successful remolding of our national character and image.
The government plays an important and decisive role to uphold and ensure these institutions carry out its function diligently. Accountable governance would define the image of a society, selfless service must be encouraged, social security must be guaranteed as we rebuild.
The vile spewed by our media should be shunned and eradicated. The media must play the role of enlightening the public on the need to discard negative vices. The media should without bias search out and expose every form of evil thereby encouraging good morals.
Religion defines humanity and it has been the strongest hold on the human existence. Religious groups should discourage every form of immorality and teachings should be geared towards rebuilding and reinvigorate Nigeria’s value system.
Albert Einstein once said ‘’try not to become a man of success but rather try be become a man of value.’’ The values we uphold will either make or break us as a nation; to embrace a noble value system is to embrace development.