One of the most harrowing facts that all Nigerians face is children living and growing up in an atmosphere of unprecedented chaos and turbulence brought about by the daily doses of scary news and reports. Even though Nigeria cannot yet be considered a pariah state, all the emerging updates from those held in great trust suggest a regime entangled in a sea of hidden criminals in whom the entire nation has placed great trust. So to speak, Nigeria has slept with fire on its roof and no one should wonder for too long why it is difficult for the nation to move forward.
Just days ago, one of Nigeria’s most revered accountants general was arrested by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on charges bordering on money laundering to the tune of around N80 billion. Previously, state executive governors had been convicted of mismanagement of public funds and jailed before being recently pardoned by the state. The state of affairs is so dire that everywhere anyone turns it is always the same story of embezzlement and corruption. Without any public role model, most young people themselves have resorted to all sorts of internet fraud, all as products of a decaying and decaying society.
It’s hard to understand how children are supposed to grow up in such a despicable atmosphere to become full-fledged law-abiding citizens. The fallout from societal decay is the proliferation of appalling sectarian groups among young people that continue to give everyone sleepless nights. With an insufficient number of security personnel to contain every disaster destroyed by different sectarian groups, everyone now lives in fear of the unknown and the Nigerian climate is now very charged and tense. In all the problems facing Nigeria, the greatest challenge is how to combat the criminal tendency among today’s youth and redirect their attention to positive engagements. Still, it shouldn’t be a daunting task if the nation is ready to turn things around by looking at strategies employed in the past that can help work on the conscience and awareness of children.
It is often hard to believe that some measures that are not considered important are actually those that play some unimaginable roles in the psyche of people, especially children, to encourage them to live decently. Part of the method used in the past to edify children morally and spiritually was to introduce them to the divine songs from their inception. Through this, they learned the need to cultivate attitudes that promote peaceful coexistence and societal progress. At the elementary stage there was the hymn called: Songs of Praise which was used in conducting the morning assembly. Learning the songs and singing them every morning helped to a great extent in training the children for a highly responsible spell. In secondary school, the culture of moral songs continues with another hymn, the Sacred Songs and Solos, which has exactly the same effect as that of primary schools.
It must be noted that throughout the period studied, there was never any conflict between the two major religions, Islam and Christianity, and everyone worked together to achieve the best in all learners. Muslims attended Christian schools and Christians did the same in Muslim schools without any problem. All hands were on deck only to achieve the best in terms of each child’s education and finesse.
Years later, those who felt threatened by the impact such a culture had on children rebelled against it and argued that the morning assembly should be held without the hymn but only the singing of the national anthem and the pledge and nothing else. This was the genesis of the problems as a people as the children began to become very loose in character and behavior. If things are to go back to the way they were, then there is nothing wrong with retracing our steps as a people and bringing children back to the path of moral awareness that will help sharpen their perception of life. .
In order to guard against conflict, the two popular religions, Christianity and Islam should be actively involved, but for a better result, the anthem with their life-shaping chants should be allowed to play a greater impact in because of its tendency to speak directly to the learner’s subconscious. thereby instilling in them the most desirable core values. In addition, the functional libraries that could be obtained in the past should be restored in all schools and special efforts should also be made to encourage the culture of reading among learners through competitions supported by attractive rewards. based on literature textbooks which on the whole will attract a wide readership among learners. .
With such a reorientation with divine songs and visible promotion of reading culture, things will gradually start to return to normal. Whatever needs to be done to change the current dangerous narrative, the time has come.
Oyewusi, the coordinator of Ethics Watch International, wrote from Lagos.