NIGERIANS IN SOUTH AFRICA, in recent times, have become a target of what looks like state-sponsored xenophobia. While citizens and the South African officialdom claim  that Nigerians brought crime into their country, our nationals, consistently, claim that those attacks are misplaced and the allegations are unfounded.  In Italy,  notorious Nigerian gangs have established branches, doing all things unlawful, including murder! My former student who attended a Ghanaian university for his master's degree programmed told me how Ghanaian citizens, including the security agents view Nigerians as bloody outlaws, all! My wife told me, few years back that I won't be allowed into Dover, in Qatar, only on account of my citizenship of Nigeria-she, once travelled with a female Nigerian lawyer, who was denied entry into that country, in transit. She was to sleep on airport seats-all the brags of I am a lawyer, fell on deaf ears. This is the sad fate of Nigerians.

Truth be told, there is nothing to brag about on  personality of the average Nigerian, today. Virtues and ethics have been reversed, doing evil has, surprisingly  become the norm. Honour and integrity have come to mean nothing, in the face of satanic rat race occasioned by the foray of outlaws and all forms of undesirable elements, in politics and, by extension, leadership. Nigeria, today, is a lawless nation because, yes, the laws are written down, the very first to break those laws are the law makers, followed by the law enforcers, the leaders before the entire citizenry. The journey   gets longer the moment one wants to do it right.

We, surely, can't continue this way and hope for the good days to come. Question is: how did we get here? And, furthermore, where has proper upbringing gone? Where is parenting? How have we, suddenly, become a nation of Christians without Christianity and Muslims without Islam - the two religions preach against evil. An NTA's re-broadcast, few days ago, of some interviews granted by some of the majors of the 1966 coup,  corrected my notion about the history of the systemic decay we witness, today. As a country, the majors claimed that, ten per cent, (a code name for kickbacks/corruption), motivated the putsch. This was a lesson, to me, as I have, always, been thinking that pre-military Nigeria was run by angels- the military, it was also revealed had, always been harbouring, within its ranks, undisciplined officers, who made themselves available for use by crook politicians.

While growing, in my community, it was an abomination to find a male child, twelve and above, walking the streets after eight o'clock in the morning. He was expected to be, either in the school, or on the farm. Any child found roaming would have his parents summoned by the compound heads, for query. Communal administration was pseudo-authoritarian and parenting was, largely, communal - the concept of human rights had not grown to a stage where criminality or unethical practices were condoned. People had a sense of shame and families became watchmen over their members, so they don't bring ignominy to the families. Role models were chosen based on the idea of hard work, honesty. Early school programmes were tailored, largely, towards inculcating the noble characters of hard work, honesty, and community service in youths and this continues through the primary school, up to the secondary school, beyond which adulthood commences.

Disaster befell our country, when the military and the civil society groups, notably, the NADECO, (a platform for the highly-principled traditional politicians) could not agree on the mode of exit for the military. The groups no longer trusted the military on the question of handing over power, consequent upon the sad experiences of the past.  This necessitated the military looking  in the direction of undesirable elements:  In a society that became configured after rat race, these elements, with their loot, became role models. This explains the untoward behaviours of our today's youths and the attendant chaos and disorder in society. Our roads are the least safe, partly because, like other public infrastructures, they have been neglected by the crooks, running irresponsible and irresponsive governments and partly because a significant number of driving licences in use, today, were purchased. What one finds in every place is quackery, even in the supposed ivory tower in which academic titles have, almost, become chieftaincy titles.

A total overhaul of the whole system is inevitable, if the Nigerian personality must be respected. All efforts need be made to ensure the restoration of parenting to be followed up by purposeful educational curricular, capable of constructing decent personalities.

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