Wednesday, February 17, 2010

I Fear This 'Civilization'

I am becoming afraid of western civilization. I am afraid of how we are interpreting it as Nigerians. 
We are forgetting our core traditional African values of honesty, integrity, fair play,industry and all the other good things we were  once known for.

We have done away with all these and all we now think about is consumption. How much we can eat, how much we can wear, how much we can gather to oppress our neighbours.

There was a time in this country when the most respected individuals in any community were,not particularly in this order, the teacher, the priest ,and the policeman.

Sadly, these individuals are the most hated in many places because they aid the growth of evil.

These days, the most respected person in any community in Nigeria is the one who has money. We now value money more than integrity, we value it more than honesty, we value it more than godliness. Those who have money ride roughshod over those who are wiser, older, and more noble. And we all keep quiet. In those days they would have been ostracized.

These days, it does not matter how a man has made his money, all we are concerned with is that 'the man don hammer' When I was growing up as a boy, in the early seventies, we were always afraid to bring home a football, or any other thing that did not belong to us, we knew our parents would ask us where we got it from and ask us to return it to the owner.

These days it is not uncommon to see parents borrowing money from their teenage children when they know these children are not working. These parents say their children are 'sharp'. Yes they are sharp prostitutes and armed robbers.

The fall from grace can also be seen in our education system. Nigerians no longer pass the general certificate in education because we have abandoned proper education.

Some parents now pay  teachers money for their children to write their exams at 'special centres'; these are centres with a high success ,or pass, rate. For the extra money paid, their children would be coached during the exam proper. That is why the quality of graduates we are producing are the worst in the world.

We are producing graduates who are only proficient in pidgin English, people who do not know anything at all about the larger world except for Beyonce and J Lo and Chanel O. That is the extent of their education.

The parents who understand this danger now send their children to school in Ghana. Ghana has been consistent in her academic growth while we have gone backwards. We started going backwards when we stopped writing 'A' levels exams, instead we opted for the 'let my people go, automatic pass' six-three-three-four system. Why would a parent knowingly pay for his child to cheat? Because of the decadence in values.

We place so much emphasis on paper qualification more than the actual education itself. 

Our traditional institutions, that are supposed to be the repositories of all that we hold dear, our culture,mores and norms, have not been spared.

Monarchs now give  titles to fraudsters ,armed robbers, and dubious politicians, because they are sure to part with money:titles used to be a way of rewarding hard work, industry, honesty, integrity, and all the other qualities we sought to encourage in people, sadly today, it no longer so.

Our spiritual institutions have not fared any better. We seem to have fallen into the fatal error of equating money, and the having of it, with piety and godliness. So you find that known thieves, because of their fat tithes, are ordained deacons and appointed to head important committees. Poor people do not seem to make good leaders in church any more.
Our foundations are so fundamentally compromised that it is going to take more than a generation to fix.

Strangers, and visitors, are no longer safe  anywhere because the ancient culture of safe passage and hospitality no longer hold true; we are more likely to rob them, burn their houses in the name of God, defile their children,or in extreem cases use them for rituals. When did we become Sodom and Gomorah?

It is perfectly normal these days to embezzle government funds, when you are caught, you settle and plea bargain. If you do go to jail,you go for only three months. When released your people will organise a 'grand civic reception' to honour their son; then you would present yourself to serve them by running for governor. Why do we all suffer from collective amnesia and somnambulism (sleepwalking) ?

Today in Nigeria, it is a crime to be poor, it is a crime to be honest, it is a crime to be upright, it is even a crime to be patient and hardworking:the system mocks and punishes you.You are not protected if you are virtuous, instead you are told you are not' sharp'.

Any society set up like this, is primed for self-destruction; this is so because where goodness is not rewarded ,only evil will prevail.

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