Saturday, 15 November 2008


(Ethics, Values and Morals)

I write this not from a professional sense, but from the point of a passion, but as someone driven by passion to see Nigeria amongst the top twenty countries in the world. This might seem a tall order against the back drop of the dipping of our socio-cultural ethics, virtues and values but I believe that together we can work hard to make Nigeria great. It is a clarion call to the youths of this nation to rise up so that together we can make Nigeria the country of our dream. I share the New Nigerian dream of great and committed minds like Fela Durotoye, Gbenga Sesan, Niyi Adesanya, Sam Adeyemi and host of others

The hosting of the Delta Youth Summit in the state capital provides us the opportunity to come together for developmental networking, but most importantly the coming together of youths gives us a premonition that this is a significant time. unlike what you know as significant time, I would want to use the definitions of Dr Iyayi of significant times during his address at the Benin National Merit Award held at the National Museun Kings Square Benin, Dr Iyayi says “Significant times are when man tales a leap forward, when history is made because a world standing on its head is overturned so it is now standing on its feet. it is that moment when we wake up from that is darkened by sleep an are startled by the brightness of the clouds outside. it is the time in our lives when we have hope because there is honor, justice, truth and integrity in our lives” while he has this to say about insignificant times ‘Insignificant times, however, are when the word and world are standing on their heads and history is being unmade. It is when the lie is painted as black and dressed as the truth. It is when those who seek justice, honor, integrity and truth are perceived s mad men and women who are destined for asylum” (emphasis added mine).This was published in the Vanguard Newspaper, Monday 7, 2008 page 31.
In line with what Dr Iyayi said we the youths of this great nation having been living in insignificant times but NOW is the time of significance, THIS is the place where significance begins.
What is the New Nigeria?
The New Nigeria from my perspective is: A Nigeria where Peace, Justice and Equity will reign A Nigeria where you are not judged by your tribe but by your character and values A Nigeria where her citizenry are committed to the nation and productive individually A Nigeria that will produce role model servant leaders for the world to emulate A Nigeria where the labours of our heroes past shall not be in vain A Nigeria that will be safe and be a peaceful habitation for all.A Nigeria where corruption and violence will be the thing of the past
For the avoidance of doubt, the above is a reflection of our ideal. The description and coloration of what constitutes a great nation may be put differently, the concept and meaning remain basically the same. Permit me therefore, to put some of those reflections on the marble. A GREAT NATION IS MADE NOT BORN I would want to point out that no nation is born great but every great nation is made great, even the Holy Scriptures rightly noted “is a nation born in a day”. The nation is not the land mass but her citizens. Corruption, injustice, tribalism, is not present in the Nigerian landmass but in he people. And this is as a result of our negative value system. Very few African nations are on their journey to the top. An example of this great stride is Ghana. It is instructive to note that what has kept us in this valley is not because of the colour of our skin but because of our character, attitude and orientation. So, if we must make the greatness we anticipate come true then the youths must shift their paradigm because it cannot be business as usual. Dr Festus iyayi said this “the quality of our lives is determined not only by what happens to us but more so by what we make happen. The more the content of our lives has honour, justice, intergrity , truth and meaning by the interaction of what we make happen and what happens to us, then the more significant our lives” THE BALLON STORY…what is inside Nigerians? The story have been said of a man who was selling balloons in the beach and when sales are running dry he would release a coloured balloon, a negro boy was standing very close by. After a while, the boy asked the sales man if a black balloon could also fly, the sales man told him it was not the colour of the balloon that made it to fly but what was inside. Which means a black balloon can also fly... The moral lesson to learn from this story is that we can be great if we care to have the air “virtue and character” in us. We might not be able to change the entire Nigerian populace at once but we can incrementally do this by being responsive to the New Nigeria dream as individuals wherever we find ourselves in service.I want to briefly highlight few of the virtues that we must all imbibe, which will be the compass that will direct our movement towards our New Nigeria dream and change our direction for good. This is not the time to tag along but to move up stream away from the current of injustice, corruption, bribery, tribalism. Violence e.t.c WE MUST VALUE MERIT We must all come to the place where all appointments will be based on merit and not tribalism, This will motivate everyone to work hard for the upliftment of our country. We must move away from the era of getting to a particular level because of who one knows instead of one's worth. Cultivating and encouraging the "who you know" attitude to progress breeds laziness and disregard to due process. But putting square pegs in square holes releases the inate energy and innovation in people to continue to work for the greatness of a particular group.
ENVIRONMENTone of marked differences between the developed nations and the third world nations is the environment. The New Nigeria must of necessity value the need for CLEANINESS. It is a common to see people litter their environments. We must begin to discourage the throwing of dirt’s on path, roads and hall ways. We should stop the habit of throwing papers, water sachets, and cigarette butts from buses and cars. We must all begin to take care of our environment. We must all start maintaining a clean environment starting from our homes and offices. The goal should be cleaning the nation from the inside. TRIBAL DIFFERENCES This is going to be a major issue, but if we must advance on the road to the New Nigeria then we must jettison tribalism and begin to see ourselves as NIGERIANS. Our tribal differences were not to create division but to create the needed variety to make Nigeria a habitable place. Although we are from different tribes, our tribes should not come before our nation; our allegiance should be foremost to NIGERIA. This is the path of honour that other great nations have taken to greatness. WEALTH BY HARDWORK It is a known fact that Nigerians celebrate wealth in no small measure. We must change our attitude of eulogizing richness without knowing the sources of such riches. We should put more efforts of tracing the sources of our wealthy citizens. You can hardly hear of the Millionaires and Billionaires in other parts of the globe being involved advanced fee fraud. even at that, they are not worshipped the way we do hear.

INFORMATIONThe growth of any nation is dependent on the information base of her citizens. We must develop the attitude of getting the right information and sincere reading culture. Our libraries must not become museums and monuments. Every one of us must seek the right information in our various fields in other to increase our personal effectiveness. We must all move towards the areas of digitalizing our libraries and move from the manual catalogue system. Government and private companies as part of their social responsibilities should establish ICT resource centers. ATTITUDE TO PUBLIC PROPERTY In primary school we were taught to take care of “government” property. Instead of calling them government properties, we are to should “public property” because they are our properties. While would a Nigeria steal PHCN cables, street lights e.t.c and put other people in darkness, it is not because of poverty but rather because he assumes that the property is not his or ours but that of the government and so to pay government back for so called neglect he has to take what belongs to the government since he cannot readily access government treasury. Our attitude must change towards these properties they are ours and we must protect them. BELIEF IN THE NATION A lot has happened since our independence which has made us to lose our belief in the nation. But if we are to develop we have to start believing in the nation again. This belief must be rooted in the understanding that if we all do what is right Nigeria will definitely be great. “No president, no leader, no king, no emperor...nobody can change a country, except the people!” That is what Lenny Kravitz said "we the people of Nigeria have to stand up and begin to push for a change which must start from a mental note first of all" this is the paradigm shift I referred to earlier.

Three emerging words in the New Nigeria
In the Nigeria of our dream these three words will matter to all and sundry, from those in leadership positions to those been served (lead).these words are virtue, ethics and morals.
Ethics: moral principles that control or influence a person’s behaviour.
Morals: concerned with the principles of right and wrong behaviour.
Values: belief about what is right or wrong and what is most important in life.
I was born a Nigerian, I will live a Nigerian and I will Die a Nigeria

OGAGA E. Maxwell

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