A BREED OF TOMORROW'S TROUBLES
6/15/2012 3:58:05 PM -
According to Mohandas K. Ghandi, father of the Indian nation, 'The things that will destroy us are: politics without principle; pleasure without conscience; wealth without work; knowledge without character; business without morality; science without humanity and worship without sacrifice.'
The theory that man is a product of his society is not far from the truth as the process of individual character development derives a great influence from the values of the society in question.
The Nigerian youth is the future of the country just as the Nigerian child is the youth of tomorrow. In recent years, the mass media has been awash with reports on the spate of youth unemployment that has culminated in the alarming menace of street touts popularly referred to as Area Boys. Prostitution, armed robbery, fraud, terrorism, kidnapping, ritual killing, street fighting and similar vices are now prevalent in the Nigerian society.
A widely held perception which has been proved by research reports, indicates that a high percentage of Nigerian youths who indulge in anti-social vices are products of lifestyles and practices that do not conform with appropriate and decent moral and cultural values that were transferred to the current generation of parents by the previous one. The extent to which parental irresponsibility is exhibited today will worry any Nigerian adult who is adequately informed about the threatening growth of a breed that has been properly positioned to promote vices capable of destroying Nigeria's tomorrow.
Today's Nigeria is a society that has many men and women, including politicians and elites who indulge in extra-marital affairs that result in child bearing without any plans for children emerging from such encounters. There is no news in the fact that Nigerian moneybags (who are many), keep chains of mistresses that in most cases, (in this era of scramble for husbands), deliver children that end up as victims of denied parental care. Many single ladies are also deliberately breeding children without marriages, only to abandon such innocent children for reasons ranging from inability to provide parental care to various dimensions of frustration. Most of these children, who are likely to end up as criminals are the youths of tomorrow.
An interaction with several prostitutes, street touts and garage boys reveals that a significant number of them are children of either the fourth, third or second wife of their fathers who have never planned for, or cared about their welfare and future. It is true that our fathers and grandfathers consciously bred children in large numbers but the reasons for this life pattern were clear. Apart from the fact that they were illiterates, most of them were farmers and therefore, needed the workforce to take care of their farms for bountiful agricultural yields. In this case, the children though many, were responsibly and dutifully engaged. A number of them are the university professors and senior citizens that the country can now boast of.
Courtesy of advancement in technology which has contributed directly or indirectly to moral decadence level in the Nigerian society, the population of children that emerge from teenage pregnancies has increased. Statistics from the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) indicate that 29% of female adolescents between age 15 and 19 got married between year 2000 and 2010 while 28% of female adolescents of age range 20 to 24 gave birth before age 18 within the period. The population of orphans is also on a mass increase. Some of the babies resulting from teenage pregnancies are dumped by their mothers at odd places after delivery and are only lucky to be picked up by good Samaritans. In some cases, the sexual promiscuity of their teenage mothers have made them victims of terminal diseases. In fact, the number of Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC) in Nigeria reached an estimated 17.5 million in 2010 according to the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development. Out of this number, 7.3 million were orphaned by HIV/AIDS. Imagine a population of these youths of tomorrow that will end up as frustrated folks and society deviants.
Quite a number of Nigerian parents do not have an idea of the standard responsibilities of a parent while some others have simply shirked their God-ordained parental duties. The economic situation in the country that has forced several legally married parents to place career, business and money above parental responsibilities has not helped matters. The vacuum created by the non-availability of parents to provide good moral upbringing has been filled by the elements of moral decadence that modern technology offers. Most Nigerian children who have been left unguarded have been exposed to negative peer group influences. When you add this number to the population of children who are victims of separation cases and divorce; who are being lured into crimes, the kind of breed referred to as Nigeria's youths of tomorrow becomes scaring.
There are Nigerian parents who were initiated into campus cults years ago. Today, they are initiating their children into either the same or some other crime-focused societies. The government of the day knows this but appears to be helpless concerning this trend. Some parents are university graduates but have never faulted examination malpractices all their lives because it has been a sort of springboard for them (some scaled through Nigeria's educational system courtesy of bribery and examination fraud). Such parents are today's drivers of their children's involvement in similar practices at secondary schools and prominent examinations like the National Examination Council (NECO) exam, West African Examination Council (WAEC) senior and junior examinations as well as Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) Examination. Stringent measures introduced by the exam authorities in recent years have confirmed this fact through the record of bulky result seizures attributed to malpractice cases. If Nigeria' future political leaders have such orientation of fraudulent academic success and eventually, poor intellectual capabilities in addition to outright illiteracy, what will the country become when these youths of tomorrow take over the helm of affairs?
There are Nigerian parents who teach their children how to lie and share access to pornographic materials with them. Some mothers have the habit of indecent dressing and their children copy the habit. The bad orientation of the Nigerian child is further boosted consistently by the nation's current political and socio-economic challenges. Day after day, the child sees and hears of merciless wastage of fellow citizens' lives through bomb blasts, thereby receiving and developing the impression that the life of a fellow citizen is valueless and should be taken without remorse. Mind blowing reports of monumental corruption scandals at government houses and law making offices as well as theft of the nation's resources by individuals, suggests to the Nigerian child that this is how life should be lived.
The Nigerian child is the youth of tomorrow but a proper collation of the population of children that are undergoing tutelage on how to perpetuate societal ills will surely shock any right thinking and forward-looking Nigerian. Every Nigerian adult must remember Ghandi 's words: 'The things that will destroy us are: politics without principle; pleasure without conscience; wealth without work; knowledge without character; business without morality; science without humanity and worship without sacrifice.'
Deacon ALBINUS CHIEDU
Coordinator, MARRIAGE CAN WORK PROJECT