Virtue, as used here, is a manifestation of moral excellence in a person or a group of people. It is a set of desirable qualities displayed by a person or people. Sadly, my dear country Nigeria is losing its previously highly desirable virtues. Across the length and breadth of this Country, its citizens are losing their once renowned virtues and this has come with its grave consequences. Yes, as a result, great talents are being lost, dreams are being shattered, and a once promising future now looks bleak because vices, as opposed to virtues, are now the norm.
Take for instance Violence. Once upon a time in my dear country, life of anyone was deemed sacrosanct. A murderer was scorned and treated with disdain beginning from his family. The sanctity of human life was not debatable. Fast forward 21st century and you will get the exact opposite. Human lives are being snuffed out in the most gruesome manner. At homes, farms, mosques, churches, citizens are being shot, slaughtered and burnt in cold blood. Unfortunately, when the larger society gets a wind of these tragic news, rather than condemning it in all its entirety, they tend to allow ethnicity and religion of the victims influence their reaction. Rather than acting decisively, we try to first compare the number of deaths to those experienced during previous administrations. What a shame. Virtue truly lost. We forgot that we were first of all humans before religion separated us, ethnicity divided us and politics classified us. We should learn from a parable narrated by one of the most respected persons ever to walk the earth- Jesus Christ. The parable of the neighborly Samaritan in Luke 10:25-37 taught the need for us to go out of our way to show love to others, even those who may be very different from us. Therefore, whether it is the life of a Fulani, Hausa, Igbo, Yoruba, Tiv, Ijaw, Nupe or any other ethnic group for that matter, we must view it as precious, as sacred. Thus, may we never actively or tacitly approve of the murder of any human. By so doing, we will preserve the lives of the future Ahmed Musa’s, Chimamanda Adichie’s and Olamide’s – Yes! Our children’s future.
Another instance is Political decadence. I read that once upon a time, millions of Nigerians, devoid of ethnicity and religion, trooped out en-mass to massively vote for a Muslim-Muslim ticket. That seems like millions of light years ago, for it will be mere wishful thinking to conceive such possibility in my Nigeria of today. My Nigeria of today where meritocracy is sacrificed on the altar of mediocrity. My Nigeria of today where the question of origin is elevated above ability. My Nigeria of today where the question of what one belief, takes precedence over what he can offer. And the more recent and most sickening, my Nigeria of today where vote is bought and sold for as meagre as 2000 Naira. We have become that cheap. The future of our children has become that cheap. How can we condescend so low as to mortgage the future of our children for such a pitiful amount? Time has come for us to take pride in our dignity and integrity.
It’s about time for all hands to be on deck. If we still hope to have a country where our children will grow up to be leaders tomorrow, if we still hope to have a country that will effectively and favorably compete with its western counterparts, then this is the time to grab it by the scruff of the neck and rescue it from the cliff of oblivion. Widespread Violence, political decadence, suicide, drug abuse, rape, corruption by government officials and in our citadels of learning, where marks now freely exchange for sex and other demeaning forms of gratifications just to mention a few are currently the immediate threat to our existence not external aggressors nor natural disasters.
To this end, family is the first level of socialization, must commence inculcating values and virtues into it members. Our religious institutions must admonish its adherents the right tenets of the society. Teachers at both the basic level as well as at out higher institutions must be exemplary. The Government, via its various agencies such as the NOA, NAFDAC, EFCC and the security agencies must effectively reprove and reprimand law breakers.
In the words of Prof. Lumumba: “Our country must morally re-arm. We cannot run a country where virtue is vice and vice is virtue.” Yes! We may have lost our virtues but the good news is that we can reclaim it back. Therefore, for the preservation of talents, restoration of dreams and a promising future, we have to reclaim our lost virtues. It is worth all the efforts.