Values are defined as,
Sociology. the ideals, customs, institutions, etc., of a society toward which the people of the group have an affective regard. These values may be positive, as cleanliness, freedom, or education, or negative, as cruelty, crime, or blasphemy.Despite this nice dictionary definition, I simply think of national values as the qualities that define a people. With regard to Nigerians, national values transcend tribal or religious groupings and are the terms and/or concepts that embody who we are as a nation.
Recent conversations with a fellow blogger and some of my mother's dear friends left me struggling with my attempt to define Nigeria's core national values. One individual flat out told me that he did not believe that Nigerians had values anymore. He concluded that Nigeria's leaders were to blame. Nevertheless, in general, most people I have spoken to about this topic can refer to a good amount of values that they were raised with and that qualify as national values. However, the general consensus is that the importance of those values i.e. education, respect for elders, charity, importance of morality e.t.c. are dwindling. That could be correct, after all, watching television would suggest that both Nigerians and non-Nigerians appear to be less interested in the achievement of a solid education and a good reputation. It does seem as if the entire world is more interested in gaining wealth quickly and achieving fame/infamy over the tenets that our parents and their parents were taught to hold dear.
Now, I understand that with modern times come newer ways of thinking, after all I personally have suggested that Nigerians turn away from some of the customs that arguably identify some of us as Nigerians such as the Igbo Osu Caste system, the Fattening Rooms (practiced by the Efik, Ibibio, Okrika and Kalabari people of Souther Nigeria) and my most controversial suggestion to date, the illegalization of polygamy. Despite this, I do believe that there are basic ideals that people, in this case, Nigerians, must never waver from because these ideals shape who we are for the better.
So, what values do you attribute to Nigeria and why? Do you consider these to be positive or detrimental? Are these qualities/concepts/ideals that you were personally raised with or that you have seen in others? And, do you have any suggestions on how to create/reinforce national values?