Where is Our Moral Value?

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We need to be very concerned about the way we are losing our moral values on daily basis. The elders and traditional rulers who are the custodians of our values and culture are the same people destroying it.

In my early days, government frowned at workers spending more than they earn. A worker whose salary can buy a ‘Beatle’ car would never try to buy Peugeot 404. Any spending above one’s income will attract probe and sanction, even though there was nothing like EFCC then.

In my good old days, teachers who impregnate a student is summarily dismissed. Any government official who stole a thousand naira was a grievous offence and a great shame to his community. In 1974, one man stole #1500 from the then Kwara state purse, the whole community was disturbed. I know how the money was raised by the indigenes and paid back to the government. The community was bitter because it was a dent to our entity. Those involved in these shameful acts were ostracized and barred from both the church and community titles.

Today, those values that we respect have been replaced with corrupt practices. Many of our youths today are learning fast from these corrupt officers and politicians. Nobody wants to work or earn genuine income but looking for quick wealth. My grandson of 4 will tell you his kind of Jeeps. He will tell you he needs a million naira. This is a terrible signal to our society.

We see those whose salaries cannot buy a bicycle, riding in Jeeps, building mansions everywhere, spraying money in ceremonies. We see politicians spending more than they suppose to earn. Instead of condemning these rogues, we praise them and offer them chieftaincy titles in order to tap from their ill gotten wealth.

Now they are robbing Paul to pay Peter. Those robbed are laughing and praising their oppressors maybe they will benefit from the corrupted wealth.

In my primary and secondary school days, Government officials and high ranking civil servants never donate huge amount of money in any gathering, never donate to any project openly. We were made to understand they don’t have such money, or are not in personal possession of such money for personal use. If they should be caught therefore doing such, they will have to face the music, penalized and dismissed for abuse of office.

In those days therefore, it was either direct projects lobbied for by them from government been executed, or the direct allocation to the projects they are assigned to execute. Today it is no more so. Even with the general cry from most civil servants in the country, their actions are hailed as if it is their sweat, thereby indirectly institutionalizing corruption in the society. No more sitting back to ask the question of how, when others can not even get their meagre salaries paid.

We are the cause of our own problems, but will be crying bitterly to people who are less concerned and God. We can see officers who are in finance departments, who are suppose to pay salaries or pension that will divert dead pensioners money to cooked accounts. We can see them building houses, buying cars etc but instead of condemnation, co workers in the office will be worshipping them just to benefit from them. 

Very sad too, are the activities of our churches and maybe mosques. They celebrate these people. Questions are no longer asked of how they get money but just donate. Some parents cannot ask their children to give account of the money they spend because they benefit. Too sad.

This trend is growing and if not checked, will compound the kidnapping and banditry that we are witnessing today. Not all can steal from the treasury. Not all can be political rogues, not all can be Yahoo, but many can take to armed robbery and kidnapping. They will do these because they too want to ride Jeeps and build mansions.

I wish the government, through EFCC, can set up community police who will report strange spendings, strange donations both to the community and churches. Our Obas and Emirs should frown at stealing in whatever forms. Churches and pastors should focus on preaching heaven to sinners and not proceed from sinners. 

All that I am saying is, if not checked, this will bring NIGERIA to standstill. The rate of crime now is still manageable compared to what I see in the next few years. I have said. The rich can cry. They can be attacked. They can fall victims. Let’s join hands to condemn evil and bring back our moral and societal values.

– Hon. Abiodun Elesho writes from Isanlu, Kogi State.

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