A major challenge in the world today is that people think more on the side of evil and feel less. People’s consciences have been deliberately killed and or suppressed in the quest for self aggrandizement, fame, power and money.
We are in times when celebrities for instance, use the social media to run down one another, just to get more famous.
The values that our grandfathers and grandmothers protected such as the sanctity of human life, sex and love for neighbour have been serially subdued by the transiting set of parents. The mass media has in recent times, been awash with news of parents having sex with children and blood relatives having sexual intercourse with one another. Adults now rape innocent kids kept under their care. How did this generation degenerate to this level of absurdity?
We are in a generation where parents are addicted to pornography and pornographic materials and their children have grown to see and perceive this lifestyle as an acceptable way of life. Parents have through their indulgence in fraud, lies and other vices, made nonsense of the teachings given to younger people regarding hard work, focus and positive character. Criminals have become role models for children. What a degenerating generation!
A few decades ago, religion, morality and society to a large extent, shared the same moral values and served as standards for measuring individual character. So, their custodians were the mentors and role models that guided younger people.
Today, many custodians of religion have lost their respect and status because they violated character standards that they ought to propagate. This has negatively affected respect for morals and societal values. Nigerian children, teenagers and youths are now in need of role models on the side of positive and developmental reason.
Traditional rulers now take bribes to sell their subjects and domains’’ interests to political strangers.
Sacred traditional practices that deterred crime was highly respected while religious clerics were revered. Today, condemning the Holy Books and Clerics and even killing them, has become fun and is now being applauded.
Immorality is now widely encouraged for teenagers in the name of young people embracing civilization and the effort to make people happy and do entertainment. Although people who criticize such act are widely condemned, corroborating the saying that one man’s meat is another man’s poison and a line in the Holy Book that says: “The wisdom of the world is foolishness unto God.”
Many young people that are supposed to be under parentage have become parents without plans for those they are parenting. The result is increase in the rate of destitution, prostitution, child abuse and other crimes.
In the 1980s, a graduate of secondary school could teach English Language perfectly in a secondary school. Today, some Masters Degree certificate carriers cannot make simple and correct sentences. Most university graduates of electrical engineering can hardly fix any electrical fault.
The phenomenon of Nigeria’s degenerating generation is even more scaring with the increase in the number of what I call ‘miss-road characters’ in leadership. Despite the multi-ethnic and multi-religious nature of Nigeria as a country, peoples of the various tribes and religious beliefs have since independence, lived and worked happily together in individual capacities as co-tenants, office colleagues, street mates and so on. Occupants of leadership positions at various levels of government ought to serve as instruments for strengthening and widening such bonds and relationships.
Unfortunately, the existing individual relationships have been frequently wounded by politicians, especially during electioneering campaigns, thereby, making the younger generation to question the basis for holding on to positive vices, as hopelessness for the one-nation concept has seemingly continued to increase.
Who should be blamed for the current situation? Followership has continued to point accusing fingers at the leadership for character degeneration of this generation. However, a society gets the leader it deserves as leadership is a product of followership, especially under a democratic system of government. Based on this premise, a good leader was obviously a good follower before assuming a leadership position and therefore, developed good leadership qualities as a follower and not after assuming leadership role. This implies that it is possible to identify someone that could be a good leader from the level of followership.
A job applicant who falsifies his age in order to get the job is a dishonest and potential corrupt leader. The civil servant who sits on a colleague’s promotion or retirement file in the office because of refusal to bribe him, will a make a terribly corrupt Head of Department.
The car driver who stops his vehicle at the middle of the road to exchange pleasantries or make phone calls without considering the traffic obstruction being created by this action, is too immoral and selfish to occupy public office. The trader or bus driver who inflates prices of commodities or fares suddenly to take undue advantage of an unfortunate customer’s situation is a potential corrupt leader.
List is endless of qualities and attitudes that indict a follower as a potential corrupt leader.
A certain African proverb says that it is difficult to learn how to be a left hand user at adulthood. In this context, it is a good follower that can possibly evolve into a good leader. The truth is that corrupt leadership is a problem of today but corrupt followership is a problem of both today and tomorrow. The good news here however is that it is possible for us as Nigerians to begin to identify corrupt leaders while they are still followers and deny them access to leadership.
The current degeneration of our degenerating generation is the fault of all of us in this generation. What this generation needs is a reorientation. The danger of the current trend is that except we do something urgently, there may not be a tomorrow, with the growing loss of value for human life in this generation.
By Albinus Chiedu, Public Affairs Analyst/CEO, Output Communications, 84. Ikorodu Road, Lagos. GSM: 234-8038117704