Demystifying Ethical Orientation – :::…The Tide News Online:::… – The Tide

The core issue at the centre of national consciousness and moral rearmament is ethical orientation among Nigerians. However, the common ghost haunting this ideal is the mystification of the concept itself.
What should be the core value of national orientation in Nigeria? Should Nigeria have a uniformity of values and ideals?
There is urgent need for a national core value reorientation that will engender patriotism among the citizens of Nigeria. Sadly Nigerians have greater loyalty for their religion and ethnicity.
In a country with a diversity of ethnic conglomeration and culture, it is difficult to give a uniform stamp to a national philosophy, core values and ethnical orientation.
It is important to observe that a proper understanding of ourselves as a people of diverse culture will assist us in defining our values, and common ethical precepts. A push towards national integration over time by different political dispensations in Nigeria, would have opened the window for a national ethical orientation, but it has been a case of every one to their tent.
Nigerians are seen or perceived according to their ethnic orientation. We often see ourselves saying, “this is how the Yorubas behave”, the Yorubas have great respect for elders, the Igbos are their brothers keeper. “We also say the Hausa Fulani have great dexterity in political solidarity.”
These ethical stereotypes are also common among the minorities. The Niger Delta group for example are known for their strong will for mobilization towards common goals.
All these are ethical values that can grow a nation. These values can also nurture patriotism, loyalty and nationalism.
However, what every group brings to the common plate is what counts and can add value to a common national ethics.
What often comes to the centre are the wrong values, crime and other forms of social malaise. It is therefore difficult to point at a common ethical standard.
Different religious environments also have their own ethical standards. So it is difficult to talk about the Nigeria ethics. However, there is a common concern about how we can have a Nigeria society that everyone can be proud of, that is orderly, with citizens that demonstrate discipline and exhibit positive national consciousness.
This preoccupation gave rise to the establishment of institutions charged with mobilizing the citizens of Nigeria towards ethical revolution. Once upon a time the military hoisted “War Against Indiscipline”. War Against Indiscipline (W.A.I) was established in 1984/85 by General Mohammadu Buhari and Idiagbon military junta.
It was aimed at correcting social maladjustment and widespread corruption. This good intention was squandered on the altar of bad-will, associated with the dictators who placed more emphasis on the stick rather than the carrot.
The philosophy was predicated on the perception that Nigerians lacked discipline, were morally bankrupt and needed to be whipped into line to maintain orderliness in public places. Queue culture was emphasised.
It became a contradiction when Nigerians were forced to queue for essential commodities.
Citizens were whipped to queue up to scramble for goods at supermarkets.
The W.A.I regimentation subjected Nigerians to refugee status. Nothing was done about creating an appropriate national consciousness that would grow ethical orientation for patriotism, transparency and dignity of labour.
Next was MAMSER; mass mobilization for Self Reliance, and Economic Recovery of 1987. It was General Babangida’s idea of ethical revolution and national orientation for economic development.
MAMSER was a valid mass mobilisation for economic development and self reliance. It was aimed at banishing the culture of consumption mentality.
Nigerians have refused to work, and be productive, but prefer to import goods from the metropolitan economies. The objective therefore was to encourage self reliance, culture of hard work and productivity.
However, it did not have a grassroots penetration, rather it was an exercise in political orientation in Nigeria.
The National Orientation Agency (N.O.A) was established via Decree 100 in 1993.
It was aimed at developing a society that is orderly, responsible and disciplined. A society where citizens demonstrate core values of honesty, hard work and patriotism. Main objectives of N.O.A are to ensure that government programmes and policies are better understood by the people and mobilizing favourable public opinion.
This military institution was inherited by the civilian administration through an Act of Parliament.
NOA is expected to be an institutional framework for educating, orientating and indoctrinating Nigerians towards attitudes, values and culture that would promote national cohesion.
Sadly, the impact of NOA is yet to reach the intended grassroots population. This is because the Nigerian leadership still see value orientation as a subject for sloganeering.
The history of Nigerian institutional frame work for ethnical reorientation is sadly that of flawed ideological profiling of issues. Creating a sense of loyalty to the nation should be at the centre. The Nigerian population must be mobilized in a sustainable manner, through deliberate restructuring of our institutions to give every citizen a sense of belonging. Political and economic development must be people centred to nurture Nigerians to love their beloved country.
Beyond London Education Summit
EFCC Should Be Thorough
Nigeria’s anti-graft agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), said it would as from June 1, 2021 begin to look into the banking industry with regard to financial crimes. Chairman of the Commission, Mr. Abdulrasheed Bawa, said this is in a bid to ensure transparency in the banks and that bankers would be declaring their assets in obedience to extant laws.
He also said that the focus on bankers is aimed at achieving financial sanity and to track illicitly acquired funds.
The EFCC can do this but even recently, the agency under the leadership of Bawa, started a move to check some former public office holders reportedly involved in money laundering, till now no news.
One wonders if the EFCC will be able to carry out such role because it has investigated and interrogated many with alleged misappropriation of public funds without results. But if it can implement what they have to do, I think it will make a change because it is through the banks that illegitimate funds are got.
The truth is that every financial transaction involving several thousands, millions, billions and trillions are not carried as cash, but moved through the banks across the country.
When an individual goes to withdraw certain amounts of money, the banker should be able to scrutinise that customer using relevant regulatory identification cards and bearing in mind that such person cannot possess such money. Even in the case of a group account, they should be interviewed to find out the source of the money.
The bankers have a big role to play when it comes to huge sums which may be claimed by a suspected fraudster. The managers should be able to detect when a particular amount of money cannot belong to a person. These, I think are the kinds of cases that give them bad names.
The bankers may be innocent of allegations and may not be collaborating with fraudsters to engage in bank fraud.
I recall a situation where an individual was asked to present a regulatory identification card in a commercial bank before she could have access to money deposited in her account. The reason for this was to really ascertain from where, who and perhaps how the money was generated.
That can be done to other accounts that have larger funds deposited in them. They should be able to know their customers through proper bank documentations. They have regulations on how much an individual should withdraw at a go.
Issues of money laundering like looted funds, as we have heard and seen, are not done through cash handling but electronically. It is expected that they raise alarm when huge amounts are discovered.
Some persons have argued whether the declaration of assets by the bankers will help in reducing financial crimes. The EFCC. as an agency saddled with such responsibility, would have done their homework before coming up with such move.
There is nothing wrong with bankers declaring their assets, after all, every public servant, from time to time, is mandated to declare to the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB), depending on where they work.
According to Bawa, “We are going to see a very new EFCC in terms of the way we investigate, the way we prosecute, the way generally we execute our mandate. We will do our best to ensure that this country is free of economic and financial crimes.
“We understood that the tail end of every financial crime is for the criminal to have access to the funds that he or she has illegitimately gotten and we are worried about the roles of financial institutions and we have discussed, God willing, we hope that all financial institutions particularly the bankers will declare their assets as provided for by the law in accordance with the bank employees declaration of asset act,” he expressed.
There have been allegations that financial institutions and bankers help or aid fraudsters in committing financial frauds. This move by the EFCC is a step in the right direction as it will prove whether it is true or not at the end of investigations into the bankers’ financial activities.
It may not be only bankers that are allegedly involved in financial crimes. There are others who involve in illicit movement of cash. They should not focus on the banks alone.
They should look at other loopholes that may not be available to the public, because smart people may device other means of escaping with heavy amounts of money.
In fact, anybody who decides to involve in any form of financial crime should be dealt with if found guilty of the crime.
It is a good policy but to what extent it is going to work is worrisome. So many persons in the society today have declared their assets before now but we still hear and read about their unwholesome financial activities.
Some persons are smart so the EFCC and the financial institutions should also be smart to checkmate those who are associated with larger sums of money.
The EFCC should try to rekindle the hope of Nigerians through this development. I urge the financial institutions, particularly the bankers, to be wary of the kind of customers they come in contact with. A banker should be able to identify a fraudster with the amount of money either to be deposited or withdrawn from an account, even if a joint account, to avoid running into financial crimes.
A banker may be lured into problem but being smart on his or her job can solve such problem. They should be able to raise alarm when there are suspected cases of financial crimes. For me, it doesn’t matter and it is not wrong for bankers to declare their assets if they don’t have any skeleton in their cupboards. It is better, so that they will be free of accusations from different quarters. There can be innocent persons in the bank.
I am not unaware that, before now, the EFCC had made several moves to track financial crime offenders but the outcome of the exercises is yet to be made public. The exercise should be fruitful.
I think with the youthfulness of the new EFCC boss and having risen through the ranks in the Commission, there is no doubt that Nigerians’ expectations will be met.
Titled “Of Roads Less Travelled: Assessing the Potential for Migration to Provide Overseas Jobs for Nigeria’s Youths”, a new World Bank report recently published with support from the Korea World Bank Partnership Facility (KWPF) and the Rapid Social Response (RSR) trust funds has again highlighted the country’s current unemployment crisis as one of the worst in recent times, noting that the situation has led to an astronomical increase in the number of Nigerians seeking asylum and refugee status in other countries, within the last 10 years.
Between 2010 and 2020, the World Bank estimated that the unemployment rate rose five-fold, from 6.4 per cent in 2020, with the rates being particularly acute since the 2015/2016 economic recession and further worsened as Covid -19 led to the worst recession in four decades in 2020.
“Nigeria’s facing one of the most acute jobless crisis in recent times. Between 2014 and 2020, Nigeria’s working population grew from 102 million to 122 million, growing at an average rate of approximately 3 per cent per year.
“Similarly, Nigeria’s active labour force population, that is, those willing and able to work among the working age population, grew from 73 million in 2014 to 90 million in 2018, adding 17.5 million new entrants to Nigeria’s active labour force.
“Since 2018, however, the active labour force population has dramatically decreased to around 70 million – lower than the level in 2014 – while the number of Nigerians who are in the working-age population but not active in the labour force has increased from 29 million to 52 million between 2014 and 2020.
“The expanding working-age population combined with scarce domestic employment opportunities is creating high rates of unemployment, particularly for Nigeria’s youth”, the report noted.
According to the bank, the number of international migrants from Nigeria has increased three fold since 1990, growing from 446,806 in 1990 to 1,438,331 in 2019 while the number of persons coming into Nigeria from outside has been relatively stagnant in the decade under consideration.
“An important trend that is observed in the data is the rise in the number of refugees and asylum seekers from Nigeria. The share of refugees and asylum seekers from Nigeria has increased drastically in last decade, growing from 27,557 in 2010 to 408,078 in 2019”, it said.
The Tide cannot but observe that within the period under review, the country has also witnessed a phenomenal rise in such crimes as economic sabotage, kidnapping for ransom, banditry, cultism, militancy and related tendencies have snowballed into heightened generalised insecurity, including insurgency and separatist agitations. Economic and social insecurity, direct derivatives of unemployment have been on a steady rise in Nigeria mainly due to ineffective economic policies, bad politics, mismanagement, unbridled endemic corruption and failure of leadership.
There is no gainsaying the fact that Nigeria’s economic woes will only go from bad to worse and never come out of the dark alley as long as the fight against corruption is prosecuted with more rhetorics than stern, decisive action as is the case today. The Federal Government must do more to mobilise and galvanise all sectors, sections and interests and approach the anti-corruption war with sincerity of purpose, integrity and unimpeachable commitment to the overriding national interest to make significant impact that will minimise the cancerous affliction of the nation and free up funds for needed developmental efforts.
The time has also come for the central government to muster the political will to take another look at some of its economic policies that have not yielded desired results so far. For instance, it is crystal clear that the policy that hands out meagre stipends to individuals without productively engaging them has neither moved the economy of the country any further nor has it achieved any significant milestone towards sustainable economic stability for the recipients. Clearly, the President needs to infuse fresh ideas into the economic management of the country by reworking his economic advisory team.
A critical sector at the heart of economic revival and engagement of the labour force is the productive sector. Nigeria is today considered more of a consuming nation than a producing economy. This state of affairs only produces jobs for other countries while draining our resources. No effort should be spared to halt and reverse this trend if our country is to avert the time bomb that the massive army of able but idle population represents.
Without further delay, the much-touted diversification of the economy must be pursued with vigour while the attention on agriculture should be given a boost to make it deliver on its potential as a veritable employer of labour and alternative revenue earner for the nation.
The focus on infrastructural development needs to take a more aggressive dimension to drive the manufacturing sector. The perennial power problem in the country must be fixed to give impetus to industrialisation.
Finally, deliberate efforts must be made to engender good governance and the rule of law to attract and retain the confidence of both local and foreign investors. The Federal Government must quickly role out a holistic plan that will diffuse this unemployment time bomb before it explodes and plunge our country into deeper crisis with catastrophic consequences for national stability.
Late Professor Tam David-West once said that we are a country of unserious people and that, when we are serious, things can afford to work and get better than hitherto. Advanced countries where institutions function with optimal efficiency and effectiveness got David-West’s message right and had a change of attitude towards Nigerians. One expression of such attitude was to subject students coming from developing countries, especially those for post-graduate studies, to some orientation programmes.
Such pre-studies orientation programmes would last for between three months to one year, no matter what certificates and documents such prospective students may present. Effects of mixing students of various backgrounds and ability profiles together in classes brought about a policy of positive discrimination whose purpose was to group students according to abilities. Thus, pre-studies orientation programmes were meant to “brush up foreign students” to make them fit to join advanced learners. Good idea!
Classified reports arising from managers of orientation programmes for foreign students can throw some light into deficiencies identified among students from various countries. Apart from issues having to do with language proficiency, there were some “off record” observations covering peculiarities about students from various countries. One of such peculiarities had to do with “capacity for sustainable productivity”.
There was also a frank observation touching on “wide disparities” (ability-wise) among Nigerian students, pointing towards “seriousness and laxity”. The core value and essence of the orientation pre-study programmes for foreign students included building up and fostering a culture of productivity among the participants. Apart from compulsory aspects of the programmes, such as improved language proficiency, faster reading, etc, there were opportunities for participants to choose other self-enhancement elective programmes.
For individuals, including students who could afford the fee and time, there was a special self-enhancement progrmame tagged “DIY”, whose purpose was to foster and enhance a culture of productivity. DIY or “Do-It-Yourself” was an activity-packed learning exercises and drills meant to increase working and endurance capacity of programme participants. Comparable to military training programme, DIY is packaged in such a way that every participant is his own instructor, motivator, assessor and commander.
An unfailing testimony which any honest participant in the DIY programme can always give is that average humans utilise less than 20% of the resources available to everyone. No extra cost is demanded to activate and unbundle such dormant energy and power left to waste, untapped. Rather, there are many ways that individuals abuse, waste, misdirect and even turn enormous resources available to everyone into liabilities, rather than the assets which they are. Everyone discovers this secret himself!
One of the ways anyone can short-change himself in this regard is the lifestyle of the individual. Lifestyles can mean quite a lot of things which can also include some activities that sap vital energy of an individual. Foremost in energy-sapping activities are how and what we think; value and essence of what we say; nature and quality of what we eat and drink; and how we spend our leisure hours. In summary, disciplined lifestyle counts, which includes being awake and alert.
Experts in Yoga would tell us that the vital business in life consists in how and where we direct the energy and resources within ourselves. Without going into religion, with regards to the proverbial talents every individual is endowed with, the best admonition is to guard our thought with utmost diligence, for out of it are the issues of life. As a means of fostering the culture of productivity, the DIY project was designed for personal up-building, whereby participants teach themselves what they choose to learn or develop.
From the choice of what value and priority that an individual wants to cultivate, the contents, depth and the mode of inculcation, every individual does what his volition prompts him to do. Without seeking to be a lone island, DIY project demands from participants’ maximum exploration and application of personal ability and exploration and application of personal ability and expansion of consciousness. It is a project meant to enthrone self-reliance, sharpen personal perception and a reminder that everyone is here on earth to address challenges peculiar to himself, with nobody as a personal servant or slave. Therefore, work!
The culture of enslaving or hiring other people to work for you while you enjoy rest and easy comfort, arose from different circumstances and also produced different results. To exert oneself is intended as a means of bringing out the best in an individual, neither must the fear of making mistakes be an excuse for not taking the initiative in doing things. Without anyone making himself a jack-of-all-trades, DIY culture is intended to discourage a habit of getting someone else to do for you, what you can do yourself. Force yourself to do things! Work!
In this regard, indolence is defined in the context of an individual passing personal responsibility on to someone else. There are many examples and instances to illustrate how individuals make others to serve them, even when the person being given such extra burden is over worked. A number of people do such things out of a habit of not wanting to exert themselves. To cultivate such lifestyle of wanting to be served by others, is indicative of some deficiency in productive capacity. Alertness counts!
Productivity goes beyond physical exertion but expresses more in readiness to serve in an unassuming manner, especially where there is an inner volition to render selfless services. It is a practical expression of the dignity of labour, whereby an individual sees where a need for service beckons. A culture of productivity through willingness to serve is indicative of nobility of soul. Vulgar ones demand to be served.
Dr Amirize is a retired lecturer from the Rivers State University, Port Harcourt.
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