During the heady days leading to the beginning of the Second World War, European countries started to re-arm themselves militarily. However, Frank Buckman, an American, jolted the sensibilities of their leaders by insisting that military re-armament was not the only solution to the impending disaster. He advocated a paradigm shift and therefore launched a campaign for moral re-armament at the East Ham Town Hall, London, on May 29, 1938.
According to Buckman, whose view has assumed increased relevance, the crisis ensnaring the world “is a fundamentally moral one”. Therefore, “the nations must re-arm morally. Moral recovery is essentially the forerunner of economic recovery. Moral recovery creates not crisis but confidence and unity in every phase of life.”
Exactly 77 years after Buckman made his strident call, Nigerians swore in President Muhammadu Buhari as the leader of the most populous African country with high expectations that his administration would re-tool the country economically and recover our stolen billions. Though the President has been resolute in his anti-corruption and wealth recovery drives since the May 29 inauguration, the fundamental crisis assailing our national soul is still largely unaddressed: moral atrophy.
The truth is that without moral re-armament, every developmental drive will ultimately result in grand illusion. It is akin to the Yoruba axiom that a parent who builds houses instead of building his child with education would realise that the uneducated child would ultimately sell the houses off. How would a nation of morally depraved and socially destructive men and women ever attain the pinnacle of glory?
There are many areas in which Nigeria faces acute moral tragedy but the most critical of them nowadays lies in the entertainment industry. Apart from the vacuous lyrics and banal language, which make these wayward musicians’ vocal exertions nothing more than a cacophony of tales told by idiots, “full of sound and fury, signifying nothing”, more worrisome is the recent emergence of their overly explicit and morally assassinating video versions.
As it happened recently when right-thinking Nigerians wondered if there was any Commission in charge of regulating the various broadcasts on the Nigerian electronic media, anyone who follows the current trends in music video productions would wonder if there is anything called the National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB). This is because the music videos of some of the social vermin called contemporary entertainers are nothing more than moral assassins.
To say many young men and women have been literally destroyed by the influence of these popular videos is to state the obvious. Since many of these misguided musicians are rich, they are seen as role models by the impressionistic young minds who assume that their lifestyle is good. Now, we are a nation of morally deprived and socially degenerate people whose values are largely determined by perverse youngsters holding microphones and singing rubbish with young ladies dressing and dancing suggestively to the satisfaction of the Devil.
A journalist, Kehinde Ajose, listed the “10 shocking Nigerian music videos in rent times” which are notorious for their bland lyrics and sexually suggestive displays and dance steps. These include “Ololufe” by Flavour (featuring Chidinma), “Skilashi” by Reminisce, the provocatively entitled “Falila Ketan” by Olamide and “Love to Love You” by Niyola.
Others in the list include “Expensive Shit” by Wizkid, which the musician expects right-thinking people to spend their money and time on, “Crazy” by Seyi Shay, “Bad Girl Special” by Mr2kay (featuring Cynthia Morgan and Seyi Shay), “Fans Mi” by Davido, “German Juice” by Cynthia Morgan and “Silifa” by Skuki. To be added to the list is also the widely condemned “Story for the gods” by Olamide, where rape is allegedly promoted in unmistakable language!
The cumulative effects of such videos on the society are huge and terrible. Apart from promoting deviant behaviour like alcoholism, drug addiction, smoking, casual and commercial sex, rape, get-rich-quick syndrome, nudity and prostitution, the totality of this negative trend has altered the social equilibrium of the society such that the difference between right and wrong is now blurred. Today, the dominant wisdom of the trend setters is that anything that yields money is good and acceptable.
This contemporary distortion of right and wrong can be illustrated with the warped philosophy of a supposedly educated leader in person of the loquacious former Governor Muazu Babangida Aliyu of Niger State, who said without batting an eye in January 2015: “If you cannot lie, get out of politics…If you are talking of honesty and morals, go and become an Imam or pastor.” In effect, telling lies is cool and dishonesty and immorality are good, as long as you are not an Imam or a Pastor.
Whereas, in the pre-Independence era when Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe was to woo voters, one of his singsongs was that what is morally wrong cannot be politically right. Now, the society has turned upside down and like George Orwell’s dystopian novel, “Nineteen Eighty-Four”, freedom is slavery, war is peace, corruption is not stealing, wrong is right and immorality is cool!
Since we are in the era of change, the situation should not remain the same and the Federal Government should re-boot the regulatory agencies. It is good to intervene decisively in the security and economic sectors as the Federal Government has done with security agencies, the NNPC and the banks, but it is much better to pay attention to the positive development of the society. The Nigerian society, through the influence of the emergency celebrities that are bonafide moral assassins, is becoming increasingly self-destructive. A stitch in time saves nine.
THE TRAGEDY OF ERRORS
This week, two heart-rending deaths were reported and they both appertained to our moral crisis. In Bayelsa State, the 32-year old Amatari Christmas and father of two committed suicide after he discovered that his wife was having an illicit affair with another man.
Another man in Sango Ota area of Ogun State, Marufu Olasoji, had a different idea about how to react to the alleged adultery of his wife, Kehinde Olasoji. Being a welder, he “repeatedly hit the wife’s head with an iron until she gave up the ghost”, media reports state.
In essence, while one husband killed himself because of his wife’s adultery, the other simply went for the kill in another way by murdering the wife. If Shakespeare were to be alive, he would write “The Tragedy of Errors” to complement his well-known “The Comedy of Errors.”
The way to minimise these rampant cases of tragedy is to find our lost national moral compass and go back to Backman by launching a moral re-armament programme and rebooting our value systems.