Value System-Wither Nigeria?
I have tried all I can to locate any evidence both written and oral to show that Nigeria as a nation has anything that looks like a value system without success. I may not have tried hard enough. However, there are certain examples and comparison that I will make to show that life in yester years is definitely different from the life we live today.
Sometime in 2011 the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, ICPC was quoted as blaming the high rate of corruption in the country on the nation’s value system and that the social vice (corruption) was more destructive than the Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) and HIV. This was a veiled acceptance of a systemic failure, acceptance that the nation either has no value system or has what I term negative value system. While comparing corruption with HIV he had this to say “Corruption is evil and its object is nothing but destruction. It brings suffering to millions of Nigerians and even diseases and it ultimately has contributed to the death of many Nigerians. It is more deadly than HIV”.
As if that was not enough it said that what gave vent to corruption in Nigeria was poor leadership quality, lust for power/wealth, excruciating poverty, lack of patriotism among other factors. According to him, “under poor or weak leadership, corruption is bound to infect a very high proportion of members of the society. The uncontrollable rate of corruption complicates the existing social and economic problems and in the process draws everyone into one corruption chamber”. This is clearly an indictment of government and confirms that Nigeria lacks a value system. It is therefore my humble submission that there cannot be a national value system without first addressing the personal value system and then the societal/communal value system. Charity must begin this time from our personal value system.
Only recently I heard that the Delta State House of Assembly went on recess to be able to have time to go to the National Sports Festival in Lagos, to cheer the Delta State contingent. If this is true , is the kind of value system we have for the state nay the country? A 900-man contingent made up of about 300 plus officials and 500 plus athletes – a ratio of about 1:2 official to athletes. What a value system. If it was possible to have such a ratio in our primary educational systems, one can imagine the kind graduates that will emanate from our universities.
A story was told of a Commissioner that led Pilgrims to the Holy Land, Israel. While the pilgrimage was on, he was busy shopping for bullet proof doors for the mansion he was putting up in his home town – what a value system? The trip was meant for spiritual education and rejuvenation. The irony of the story was that about two or so years after the trip, as the Commissioner was coming back home from a late night outing, he was confronted by hoodlums at his gate and escorted to the house. He used his hand to open the bullet proof doors for the visitors to have a field day. What an irony?
As a young primary school boy I used to trek from my house opposite Okorodafe Junction to the now Oharisi Primary School, Ughelli. I lived with my uncle, late Jacob Akporhonor who was then a Modern School Teacher. He rode a “White Superb” bicycle. He usually went to work with Khaki short, a well polished black shoe and white long stockings with a biro on it. I was entitled to one shilling every week for snacks/food. This was usually more than enough, as during break time you could buy food – rice half a penny and beans half a penny. The food was usually more than enough. If properly managed I could have personal savings of up to five pence for sweets, sewing gum, biscuit, and sundry. On this faithful Monday, I decided to stop at the garage (Motor Park) to buy cigarette chewing gum. As I got out of the shop, there was my uncle before me. The ground refused to open for me to fall in as I had wished. I pleaded guilty and was disposed of not only the chewing gum but the balance of the allowance. For some weeks I was deprived of allowance for food during break time. The punishment was relaxed a few weeks later as I was now allowed to go to school with a cup containing ‘ewa” (beans) and garri. This was discipline. It sent a message across. I never eyed the shop again anytime I was going to school. That was inculcating the right value system on a little boy that was just thinking of growing up.
Respect for Teachers
In those days, children are reported to teachers who were embodiment of both discipline and forth rightness. Children were made to stay with teachers either throughout the school days or just during the holidays. Without fear of molestation or sexual harassment the girl child was made to cook for the teachers/Headmaster.
In the community were trekking was the order of the day the wealthiest man was the teacher who had a “white superb” bicycle. White superb is what the silver coloured bicycle was then called.
The respect and attention for the teacher was because he was the moral thermometer of the society then and an epitome of both personal and societal value systems.
But today what do we have teachers who connive with students and parents and engage in examinations malpractices; teachers and principals who extort money from parents and their students alike; teachers who take undue advantage of their female students; teacher who engage in all forms of immoral and unprintable acts. Who amongst you will all send your child to the present day teacher for moral and proper upbringing except under duress? Your answer is as good as mine.
This is an information got from the social network unacknowledged fees charged by universities operated by religious organisations
Bowen University N650,000.00 per semester
Covenant University N640,000.00 per semester
Benson Idahosa University N500,000.00 per semester
Babcock University N450,000.00 per semester
Redeemers University N450,000.00 per semester
Ajayi Crowther University N350,000.00 per semester
Madona N350,000.00 per semester
They all have one thing in common. They are all universities built from tithes and offerings of the common people who now can’t afford to send their children to these universities. Where are the morals of the church going?
“The schools were built with the sweat of their church members who kept sowing seeds; special offering seeds; first fruit seed, redemption seed, thanksgiving seed, harvest seed, tithes, pastor’s birthday seed, church building seed, evangelism seed, mothers’ day seed, children’s day seed, pastor’s cake seed, olive oil seed etc. These schools are now elite schools, only for the rich andpolitician’s children. Those who profit from it use the proceeds to also buy private planes and fly up high in luxury, while Warren Buffet who has a company that builds jet still flies around in public and commercial jets. Meanwhile their members sleep hungry and the next Sunday they will read Malachi 3:6-12 – if you think this is unfair, like me please pass on this message on because this is reality and we should start the change now! May God deliver us”.
If these scenario pointed above is true, then the question is, where do we turn to for moral rearmament? Where do we run to for spiritual upliftment and rejuvenation? Where do we turn to for the re-enactment and propagation of our value system for societal development? The churches and their leaders have failed us.
There are cases of church leaders harassing wives of members; leaders stealing and embezzling church funds and cases of the leaders engaging in criminal acts. These are leaders of bodies that are supposed to be epitome of purity, leaders of bodies that are supposed to be shinning examples of positive value system. The questions are legion and your answer is as good as mine.
In the past, churches were some of the last hope of the common man. When children were growing up they are thought to be religious. They were sent to Rev. Fathers, pastors, bishops, etc. for moral and religious teaching. With the present situation in the society which of you in your right frame of mind will hand your child over to a pastor for moral upbringing? Which of you will for example allow your girl-child to stay with a pastor and help him cook overnight? If you are not careful the result of such a visit will manifest after nine months. As it stands while in the past we had positive value systems, which cannot be said about later day religious practitioners.