It has been said in some quarters that Nigeria has no value system. There is nothing we cherish as citizens of the nation without division; no respect for anything and our world seems to be so divided that division has forcefully made its way into the list of our value system in the land. This, in so many ways, has made our country to lose focus and throw every iota of greatness away.
There are so many policies, issues and beliefs that must be changed before this country can witness change. It has been pretty difficult for the present dispensation that campaigned on the mantra of CHANGE to actualise their goals because they want to make things happen within the old system of error and uncertainties. Pursuing purely different goals on the same platform of evil will never give a positive output.
In the same vein, there are so many things we cherish and adore in the country which do not bring us any form of greatness. Rather, they’ve served as a means of drawing us back over the years. We only seem to be thinking along the same line and any deviation from that line of thought, may mean the individual is ready for misfortune and retrogression from the societal context.
For the sake of this piece, permit me to say that the rigidity of our thought is one of our value systems in the Nigeria. It is a taboo to move out of the societal drawn line of thought. Without mincing words, development has been retarded due to this sole problem.
The first cause of this problem is the family. In the black world, our parents seem to be our thinking faculty. They must be relied on for everything and any attempt to deviate from their prescribed ways will make you a bastard- an abomination in the land. Children of most homes are seen as harbingers of fulfilment of parental failed aspirations. Most parents use their children to fulfil the goals they were unable to fulfil when they were young, due to many reasons. This blind nature of life is usually covered with ‘we want the best for you.’ Really, the best they want for us is their own happiness at the expense of our own peace and sense of fulfilment.
This is a line of thought that runs through the veins of all cultures, despite the wide range differences amidst us. We are conditioned to live for our parents and not for ourselves! It will amount to a cliché to start enumerating ways destinies have been shattered due to this. A case that readily comes to mind is about a boy who, due to his brilliance, was forced to study sciences in the high school, when actually, his goals and aspirations were tied to arts and humanities. After studying sciences and having made his parents ‘proud’, he gave them the certificate and said it was time to do what his heart longed for. Imagine the level of damage that has been inflicted on the young and promising great soul. That is just one of the least cases I had heard of or witnessed.
A make-shift value system that seems to have covered everything up in the country today is acquiring education. Education is the best legacy, no problem, but we are never told that education can be in different forms, all leading to fulfilment and happiness. The type of education rendered here is a forceful one, and once you seem not to be coping with it, then your future is concluded already- they see you as a misfortune that just happened to the world. A child that seems a little bit backward in academic activities is condemned and damaged psychologically. Little do they know that he or she only needs another fascinating aspect of the education they are being served.
Is it not pure time wasting to see people go back to learn one apprenticeship or the other after using the most vibrant age on education that serves them less? The expression used in cushioning the effect of this pain here is ‘one way does not lead to the market.’ But the fact is that, you have your own way which is very easy for you to walk through. I’m pretty sure that no one is interested in having a tour of the ways that lead to the market. The market is a busy and fascinating place where people do not go for an excursion- it is purely business!
If our destinies are likened to the market scenario where it is said no one does anything other than business, who
then has bewitched the black continent? We have taken this life as a forever thing and thereby wasting the most useful aspect of it in finding what is within our reach. If after four years of acquiring one’s degree, one still has to go and learn fashion designing or other works, then, I can make bold to say that the four years (or more) spent on getting a degree is a pure waste of time, resources and mental energy. If fashion designing is really one’s passion, learning it within four years would have birthed a witch or wizard along that line. Your future would have taken the right shape. And who told you that going for apprenticeship first will make you an illiterate? There are schools for all things, the focus and subject of discussion serve as the only differences. Is there no school for music? What then are you killing yourself over for?
Our common belief in the black world is killing us! We wallow in communal retrogression and unfortunately, we’ve taken it as a way of life.
Apart from the individual homes furthering this act of evil, the government at all levels have also contributed greatly to this sorry situation. In order to keep the people under perpetual oppression, they don’t make any serious effort to widen the scope and range of options available to us. Vocational skills and other skill acquisition programmes are portrayed as packages meant for second class citizens birthed to die in servitude. Our land perishes daily for this wrong notion.
Vocational skills should not be a fall back plan. Already, we are all on the ground, let’s rise with the plan in order to be great. It is simply stated that, rise with your passion!
Let me conclude with these words of Victoria Osteen that “Don’t settle for living a mediocre existence. If you don’t understand your value, you’ll go on thinking, “I’m just average; I’m not that talented; I’ve made so many mistakes.” But then, are you not a masterpiece created by the most artist of all? What our society needs is just restructuring, and then, we are out of this mess that seems eternal.
OKE, Babawale Simon is a graduate of the Department of English, University of Ibadan, Nigeria.