“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character.”- Martin Luther King Jr
Character reformation is what we actually need to bequeath to the coming generation if we have any legacy to pass on to them. It transcends beyond classrooms and the teaching of Mathematics, English, Social Studies, Physics and History.
To start with, we need to begin the process of reorganization and reorientation therapy of the mind. The mind is the engine room and the battlefield of life, therefore, we must earnestly begin to work on our minds. This will enable us to set a good example of good character, vibrant personalities and patriotic citizens.
We must clearly set a new normal, a departure from the current happenings that birthed bribery, corruption, nepotism, greed, materialism, religious bigotry and ethnic chauvinism.
It will make us good people and examples for the upcoming generation and enable us to catch them young. We must be role models by institutionalizing the principle of fairness and equity, avoid lobbying for promotion and placement in our systems which characterized the workings of Nigeria system and the present crops of leadership.
Character education which teaches our children what are ‘ethical’ or “unethical” behaviours cannot be undermined. As the words imply, they have to do with positive and negative behavioural attitudes that can either make or mar our lives.
Nigerians are born into a culture of mediocrity and this generally affects all aspects of our lives. It is a culture that has been allowed to fester and grow due to absolute neglect of our educational systems and institutions, poverty and a myriad of other factors.
There is so much we can be as a nation with right attitude and leadership but first, we need to flee corrupt practices such as nepotism, deceitful behaviour, religious bigotry, favouritism, cheating, exploitation, disrespect to authority, selfishness, greed, human rights abuse, tribalism and ethnicity etc.
Character education will inculcate into the children ETHICAL values such as empathy, sympathy, kindness, honesty, loyalty, faithfulness, consideration, thoughtfulness, justice, teamwork, unity of purpose, patriotism, fairness and other core etiquettes values.
Although, it seems like a herculean task but not insurmountable if we all unite to fight a common enemy which has eaten deep into the social fabric like cancer. The time has come for as citizens, parents, the school and the society at large to form an alliance to eradicate unacceptable and unethical norms from our midst and replace them with what is generally acceptable all over the world.
The fate of the future lies in the hands of the youths; character is the soul of the youth, we need youths that are morally and ethically upright, absolved of religious and tribal sentiment. A competent leader will adequately fix the major loopholes in the interim within a short period of time, while a solid foundation for the long term is being worked on.
We need a paradigm shift from the bad system that has made the future so bleak. It’s never too late to retrace our steps if we are serious to advocate these values” so an enabling environment can be created for a sane society.
As I look forward to the era of diamond age, precisely, on the 13th of February 2022, a year from now. I feel duty-bound to highlight some interesting things that may serve as a lesson or motivation for the coming generation and society itself. Coming from a very humble background and beginnings by reasons of providence; strangely enough to have experienced the three monsters called: poverty, deprivation and oppression. All of which will be detailed in my memoir.
Regardless of my humble beginnings, I had the privilege of role models. In my formative years, it was my hero John Olorun-nebe Idoko ‘Skipoo’ of blessed memory, one of the finest examples of leadership and the pioneers Nigeria Airways pilots. Subsequently, it was Chief James Ajibola Ige ‘Cicero’, of blessed memory, the living legends Prof Akinwande Oluwole Soyinka ‘Kongi’ and Bishop David Olaniyi Oyedepo. They had a great influence on me.
But, for the mercies of God Almighty and the influence of my role models, given that the journey of life was a roller coaster ride for me: bumpy, tough and stormy weather, I probably would have ended up in ‘Oyingbo’ as one of the street urchin ‘thugs’, today! I can look back, and say “Yes I made it” despite the challenges.
It is doubtful whether the present crops of leadership in our society today is worthy of the role of mentorship and role models for the youths. Therefore, the need to reevaluate our political culture. The conduct of our judiciary officers, religious leaders, public servants, civil servants, security personnel and the senior citizens who should be the mirror of the society and role models.
Can we make our nation where freedom, peace and unity actually reigns?
The answer may be too simplistic to the sceptics but it will surprise you to know that we’re not the only country that has ever come to this level of rot for want of a better world. After the night comes the day. Where there is a will, there’s a way. So, we will do whatever it takes to reposition the troubled nations of the continent. We shall stay awake for Africa.
THE FOURTH INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION IS A CATALYST FOR CHANGE AND A NEW NORMAL.
Odusanya is the convener of AFRICA COVENANT RESCUE INITIATIVE ACRI.