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Nigeria: Restructure or reconfigure (5) – Tribune Online

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WE cannot continue to blame colonisation and globalisation for the distortion of our cultural ideology and value systems, after several years of independence.  A continent that fails to document and propagate its history and values risks being shaped by any other available narrative and content.  As the saying goes, “if you do not know your own worth and value, do not expect some else to calculate it for you”.
Nigerians have sadly lost their Nigerianness, i.e the true meaning, essence and quality of being Nigerian. Many of our young ones have lost the true meaning, essence and quality of being Nigerian.To be a Nigerian today, is to the rest of the world synonymous with internet fraud, criminality, gangsterism, drug peddling, romance scams, corruption and generally evil deeds. On August 24, 2019, the Voice of America reported how Dozens of Nigerian Scammers stole millions from people.
While some commentators like to describe this as ‘just a few bad eggs who give us a bad name’, a careful analysis of patterns of worldwide crime shows a different reality. According to statistics from the US government, one in three persons arrested on drug trafficking offences in the US in recent times is a Nigerianas reported by New African Magazine, 25 August, 2019(‘Nigeria: Fraud, Crime and Punishment’). Nigerians are some of the most implicated in complex criminality across the world. For example, in August 2019, over 80 Nigerians were arrested in one day, in one of the largest criminal arrests in US history, for $46 Million internet fraud.US charges 80 people, mostly Nigerians, in $46m internet scam” (Al Jazeera, August 24, 2018). Nigerians have also been arrested and killed in monumental proportions for criminality in South Africa, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Kenya, romantic scams in Singapore, and drug peddling in India, China, Indonesia and Malaysia to mention a few.See “Nigerians Get Lengthy Prison Terms for ‘Romance Scams’”.
To carry a Nigerian passport these days is fast becoming a red flag that alerts immigration officials worldwide of the arrival of a possible, potential, current or former criminal. We have lost our identity and founding ideology as a nation of honest, disciplined and hardworking people. While the ruling class has mastered the art of looting and kleptocracy, the young ones have acquired exceptional expertise in the art of deceit, delict, fraud and internet scams. This has gone to the extent that EFCC reported that there are specialized training schools in Nigeria where youths are enrolled to acquire advanced skills ininternet fraud.On 31 August, 2019, “EFCC reported that it has uncovers ‘Yahoo school’ in Lagos and arrests 12”.Internet fraudsters have become role models for youths in Nigeria as reported byBBC News on September 24, 2019. How low have we fallen as a nation!
One can trace the ideological rot in Nigeria to the curriculum in public schools and universities where morals are relegated to the background. Apart from ABUAD and some Mission-based private universities, discipline is virtually non-existent in our universities. The three pillars on which ABUAD is built are determination, industry and discipline. This is strictly observed by students and teachers and defaulters are sanctioned. While the older generations may find it difficult to change their habit, it is possible that the new generation of youths can be made to imbibe the philosophy of Awoism and the characteristics of an ideal leader. We all speak about change in our attitude both to politics and work. The older generation like a cast iron, may find it difficult to imbibe the philosophy of Awoism but the younger ones can.
To illustrate how apostles of Awoism can emerge, I wish to quote from a letter written to me by Popoola Olamide, an alumnus of my University, ABUAD who won the Unilever World Competition in London in 2016), part of which reads: “… Sir, in one of your speeches, you mentioned that you had the urge to make a difference in the world and that drove you to build a world class university. The truth is that you have not just made a difference; you’re building a new world. If you only wanted to make a difference according to the world’s definition, you could have instead invested your time and resources to build an empire of big businesses ranging from oil to banking. Or you could have decided to invest in politics, with the quality of your integrity and wisdom you would have been such a great leader the nation will not forget soon.
…But sir, you chose not to make a mere difference in the world, but rather you decided to build a new world, a new Nigeria. You decided to set the foundation for a new kind of people, you decided to invest in the younger generation, to give your time and effort in exchange for a brighter tomorrow. And you, knowing that the only sustainable change is the change that changes the mind, built an institution that will construct the minds of the youths; all these in exchange for nothing.
Truth be told, you are a blessing to the world. Your dedication to humanity is like no other; even the Queen had to honour you because in reality no one can overlook your contributions. You have sponsored the fatherless, you have fought for the weak and powerless, and more importantly you are always in the habit of building leaders and making everyone better. I am so proud I met you, I am glad that I had the opportunity to be mentored by you. Every time you say to us “you will be greater than me”, we wonder in our minds “how possible is that?’, but then you have taught us just how to go about it, you have planted yourself in each and every one of us. Now we can reproduce you in every area of life. Some of us might not know it now, but they will come to appreciate you someday soon.
In less ten years, I succeeded in building a new generation of people, a new crop of decent Nigerians who believe in the tenets of ABUAD Ideology – Industry, Determination and Discipline. It therefore follows that those who believe in Awoism and practise the tenets of Awoism religiously can emerge as transformational leaders like Chief Awolowo. Our educational systems must as a matter of principle and priority, aggregate, propagate, document and transfer knowledge to our children on the true meaning, essence and quality of our Nigerianess. Nigerians are talented, strong, self-respecting and hard working. We need to know this for ourselves and let our children know how lucky they are to be Nigerian.  Restructuring can provide a basis for restating and rehashing our ideologies and ideals as a nation, as well as to put in place sharper mechanisms for ensuring that those values and norms are protected and reflected in all aspects of our national life.
To be continued…
AARE AFE BABALOLA, OFR, CON, SAN, LL.D (Lond.)

 
 
 

© 2023 Tribune Online – an online publication of African Newspapers of Nigeria Plc. All rights reserved
© 2023 Tribune Online – an online publication of African Newspapers of Nigeria Plc. All rights reserved
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