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How to save Nigeria from moral collapse, by Sogolo

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A philosopher, Prof. Godwin Sogolo, has canvassed strong moral tutoring in the nation’s educational system and behavioural re-orientation of the youth to save the country from moral collapse.

According to a statement, he gave the advice during the 21st convocation and investiture ceremony of the Nigerian Academy of Letters (NAL) held at the University of Lagos. The event had 121 professors from different Nigerian and foreign universities in attendance.

In a paper titled “Morality and the State: the Nigerian Experience”, Sogolo cautioned against the assault of technology and the Internet on Nigeria’s moral values and cultural traditions, noting that “the new social media technology is re-wiring the minds of our youths, their thoughts, and their conduct.”

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He expressed regret at what he described as the helplessness of the abundant religious groups in the country in the face of the increasing immorality and crimes such as terrorism, cult wars, assassination, armed robbery, kidnapping, banditry and rape, which have become recurring trends.

“There is a problem: the attitudes and conduct of some of our religious practitioners, even priests, and imams, hardly justify the claim that religion is the foundation of morality.”

Sogolo’s position was resonated in the communiqué by the prestigious body, which observed that the Nigerian Constitution [section 15(2)] proposes the idea of a secular state but equally contains some provisions that undermine this secular character.

The statement, thereafter, called for a review of the relevant sections of the constitution that contradict the secular state status and effectively separate religion from the state.

The philosopher also noted that much of the prevalent moral values among Nigerians have not been transferred from the seat of ethnic loyalty to the state, while condemning solidarity and show of support for corrupt kinsmen by many Nigerians, especially among the political class.

He cited the publication of a letter to President Muhammadu Buhari by the council of chiefs of one of the states in Nigeria, demanding that their daughter, a former minister from their area, who had been accused of some infractions, be left alone.

“Ironically, these are chiefs expected to be the custodians of moral values in their respective domains.”
Sogolo further expressed dissatisfaction and lack of faith in the legal system or failure of the law to sanction human conduct, which, according to him, “weakens society’s moral grip on the individual.”

President of the Nigerian Academy of Letters, Prof. Francis Egbokhare explained that the “exponential decay and new primitivism” in the Nigerian society was part of the reason Sogolo was invited to speak; bringing his wealth of experience to analyse the problem.

According to the statement signed by Egbokhare, “36 new members were inducted and six new Regular Fellows.” Dr. Yemi Ogunbiyi and Mr. Olusegun Adeniyi of Thisday were admitted into the NAL College of Fellows as Honorary Fellows.

Other dignitaries at the event include Rotimi Amaechi, former Minister of Transportation and current minister-designate; Prof. Rasheed Abubakar, Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission; Prof Ishaq Oloyede, JAMB Registrar; Vice Chancellors of University of Lagos, the University of Abuja and Obafemi Awolowo University, Professors Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, Abdul-Rasheed Na’Allah and Eyitope Ogungbenro Ogunbodede.


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