MUSINGS ON CULTURAL NIHILISM – By Sonnie Ekwowusi
Our generation is a confused generation. It is only content with addressing symptoms of the problems rather than the root causes of the problems. The State is driven to despair by ills of contemporary society. Our civilization is imperilled today principally due to the breakdown of the pillars of society. Our body politics is badly diseased. It is yet to be freed from the stranglehold of men of unruly passions and creatures of appetite. These are symptoms of a failed culture.
The surest way to be ruined by democracy is to take for granted that it will yield its dividends in due time. But there is no in-built success mechanism in a democracy that always propels it to produce the desired dividends. All countries who have achieved success with their democracy have always worked hard to achieve the success. Therefore if Nigerians really and truly want to derive any benefits or dividends from their democracy they must work hard to make their democracy work in the first place. Therefore when huge billions of Naira is being sunk in renovating the National Assembly to the utter neglect of the critical health and educational sectors, you should not be seen to be raising an alarm. Why? Because they will never get it right. A withered tree cannot bear fruits.
Besides our failed democracy, our shredded social and moral order poses a more intractable problem. First, the foundational pillar of society called the family has disintegrated resulting in disastrous social consequences such as corruption, stealing, juvenile crime, drug overdoses, alcohol-related diseases, youth rebelliousness, breakdown in extended family system, breakdown in economic solidarity, abandonment of the elderly, loss of our humanity, inability to differentiate right and wrong, lack of sense of value of human life and so forth. This is why someone or a group of persons can blindfold an innocent three-year old girl and machete her to death, an aftermath of the Southern Kaduna inter-communal clashes. Oftentimes we complain that Nigeria is not making progress. But a country like Nigeria which indulges in the barbaric pastime of spilling the blood of the innocent cannot make progress for their hands are still stained with innocent blood and no water on this earth can wash the blood off their hands. We all witnessed the eruption of tumultuous violent riots across the world owing to the spilling of the blood of George Floyd. Were George Floyd a Nigerian murdered in Nigeria by the Nigeria Police the murder case would have been closed by now. The Nigerian public would not have protested. Yes. Nigerians are sheepishly submissive to their wicked leaders. Life is cheap in Nigeria. No premium is placed on human life in Nigeria.
Worse still, in our attempt to copy the white man’s erotic culture we have abandoned the enviable Nigerian cultural heritage. In these times we can hardly differentiate sense from nonsense. We now live in a sexual State. By virtue of our 1999 Constitution, the State ought to promote public morality in Nigeria. But what is the Nigerian State promoting at the moment? It is promoting the so-called adolescent sexual and reproductive right, a euphemism for sexual gratification for teens. Our Federal Ministry of Health in Abuja, in conspiracy with foreign organizations and NGOs such as UNFPA, UNICEF, Guttmacher Institute, USAID, Bill & Melinda Gates foundation and others, is freely masquerading about and corrupting young Nigerians by telling them that “safe-sex” or the so-called “condom-safe-sex” is their right, and, that not even their parents can deprive them of this right to sexual gratification. In other to ensure that school pupils including highly-impressionable school kids in JSS1-111 are properly sexualized, some literature in English textbooks used in teaching our school children such as Tears of a Bride- By Oyekunle Oyedeji; The Precious Child- By Queen O. Okweshine; Precious Little Darlings- By Oladosu Ayodeji containing explicit sexual, erotic and corruptive lewd materials are currently being used in some public schools to teach our children in order to lure them into early sex, dating and pornography.
There is no doubt that Nigeria will continue to gravitate from bad to worse until the country is re-ordered to a higher culture and a higher loyalty. Man, philosophically speaking, is not a mere matter: he is much more than that; a true understanding or correct view of the human person, his unique dignity and rights dictates that he is also endowed by God with spiritual and immortal soul. Therefore we have to cater for both the material and spiritual aspects of man. Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, the human society had been devastated by other forms of pandemic especially hopelessness, real or imaginary fears, collapse of marital relationships, drug abuse, kidnap, terrorism, racism, rape and sexual violence. Talking about rape, on April 27, 2020, an 18 year-old girl simply called Jennifer was raped and murdered in Kaduna. On May 27 2020, a 22-year old Miss Uwaila Vera Omozuwa was raped and murdered in a Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) in Benin City. On June 1, 2020 another female student, Miss Baraka Bello, was raped and killed in Akinyele community, Ibadan. Penultimate Saturday, a 21-year old student Grace Oshiagwu was raped and macheted to death inside a church mission building in the same Akinyele Local community, Ibadan.
These gruesome rapist-killings have sparked off a roaring blaze of indignation and repugnance about the rape epidemic in Nigeria. A member of the House of Representatives, Abuja had moved a motion for the castration of rapists in Nigeria. But the House overruled him. I have always argued that if we are really determined to remedy the problems of our time, we need to uproot the roots of the problems rather than just fighting symptoms. Rape is not the problem: it is a symptom of deep-seated myriads of problems. Therefore exerting energies fighting symptoms is sheer waste of time. We need to tackle the problems from their roots in order to uproot them. If the Nigerian families are fast disintegrating, why are you surprised that families are now producing rapists? So, first things first. We must first of all fix the family. Another main cause of rape and sexual violence in Nigeria is the sexualisation of the Nigerian State. This must stop. Government cannot pretend to be fighting rape when in actual fact it is promoting sexual promiscuity otherwise called adolescent sexual and reproductive right among Nigerian teens which triggers off rape. If women bodies are portrayed as sexual tools for sexual gratification in TV ads, fashion, video games, and, if pornography is easily accessed everywhere, why are we surprised about the rape epidemic in Nigeria? You see, a society reaps what it sows. If our school children are taught in open classroom that self-control is unnecessary and repressive, why are we surprised that many of them end up graduating as rapists? The European Journal of Development Psychology states that findings have revealed that reading and viewing pornographic materials trigger off sexual violence for both male and female adolescent.
So we need men with chests in Nigeria. We should learn to train the mind to appreciate and understand the truth about the human person. We should learn to cultivate the human soul. In the apt words of C. S Lewis in The Abolition of Man, “…You can hardly open a periodical without coming across the statement that what our civilization needs is more ‘drive’, or dynamism, or self-sacrifice, or ‘creativity’. In a sort of ghastly simplicity we remove the organ and demand the function. We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honour and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and bid the geldings be fruitful”.