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Nigeria needs an urgent culture overhaul

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By Abraham Adekunle

Family values, personal virtues and working institutions are fast eroding.

No serious social media user in Nigeria can deny that platforms such as Twitter, Instagram and TikTok have seen a lot of whitewashing of fraud and desperate measures for success in the last few years. This year alone, an SS3 student has bought a Benz car, posted a viral video of it on TikTok and compared it with the school principal’s old rickety car. The same year, someone also ate a cockroach live on Instagram and ridiculously proceeded to eat a lizard days after. In his words, a popular Instagram influencer gave him attention and eating the lizard would give him more exposure.

There might be an attempt to see this as the actual problem in and of themselves. However, there seems to be a bigger problem – one which seems to come from the foundation of the Nigerian society. To the discerning eye, Nigeria’s cultural values are being rubbished and hence we need a cultural reset as a people. A clear piece of evidence to support this is the fact that hard work and due process to success seem to have enjoyed positive outlook decades ago. Then, doing well in school or at a vocational skill, finishing with good grades, getting a job and rising in that career path seem to be the popular ways. Nowadays, any faster way to making money and living an affluent lifestyle sadly seems to do the job.

Higher rates of divorce abroad and eroding family values.

One of this cultural erosion is the surge in the higher rate of divorce among Nigerian couples once they move abroad. This is to either of the following; the first is that Nigerian women seem to take advantage of Western laws and initiate divorces most times to show that they now have freedom and rights. Some of these divorces were filed over reasons that both parties could reach a compromise on. The second is that Nigerian men seem to be treating women as they like in Nigeria and only bearing the brunt overseas because of the seemingly feminocentric laws. Regardless of whatever the case is, Asians seem to have the least rate of divorce in the West.

A prominent factor of their success is strictly sticking to their family values even in the Western countries. It has been said that whether or not the husband is at fault, an average Asian woman prefers not to go to the courts in the West. This is because they have been taught to honor family values and resolve matters as much as they can. The result is the low rate of divorce and the overwhelming success in career. Asians even earn relatively higher than other nationalities in America, for example. In Nigeria, as the years go by, parents seem to lessen their “iron rule” method of parenting and the results are trickling in.

Englishization and monetization of the Nigerian society.

Research in language studies have shown that students who have a high proficiency of command of their indigenous language have a higher chance of doing well in a second language such as English. Decades ago, children learned English in school and spoke their indigenous language at home. Nowadays, many families do not even speak their indigenous languages as much as they speak English at home. Although English has been domesticated to what is now known as Nigerian English, only a good command of a native language in Nigeria can aid its usage. An implication of using English as if it is a native language is that the insufficiency in capturing the worldview of different cultures in Nigeria becomes exposed.

Apart from the Englishization of Nigeria, there seem to be a recurrent reference to money and monetary terms in Nigeria. Several slang expressions emerged in the last couple of years based on this worldview. Musicians also help spread the word faster than a wildfire. “If you don’t get money, hide your face,” sang Davido, while AG Baby said, “Love is not enough; come to me [because] I have money.” This is a sharp contrast to the songs that reigned during the time of Chief Commander Ebenezer Obey, whose songs would be ridiculed by the youth population today.

Corruption-tainted institutions litter the country.

Finally, every institution also seem to have caught the corruption virus. Former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan emphasized the need to build institutions, not politicians. However, Nigeria’s constitution vests more power on politicians and public office holders more than on institutions. So, there seems to be an imbalance in the current checks in place. For instance, the president as the head of government and commander-in-chief of the armed forces singlehandedly controls the military as well as the police. Any order given to these institutions are carried out without question. Even governors do not have the power over any of these institutions. This means that the corruption of a single person automatically affects a facility. Replicated in many folds, the country seems to have loads of institutions with corruption in practically almost all aspects.

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