Poor Societal Values and Ethics
This is a key factor in our society. Respect is shown to money and affluence and no values placed on ethics and societal values. One is rated by the amount of money he has rather than integrity and character. Respect for elders has become a thing of the past and even some of the elders have sold their birthrights for a plate of pottage.
In the Yoruba west, there are traditions and cultures which are still respected. Young people greet elders with respect. The reverse is the case in the Igbo area, especially where young men who made money in questionable ways bear the nick names of Okwu oto ekene eze. For those of you that have lived in the Yoruba land, such a name is not known as you must prostrate to greet the Kabiyesi.
In 2008, I was in Ajase Ipo in Kwara State to facilitate a grassroots women training project. I had the opportunity to meet the Kabiyesi and had to greet in the traditional Yoruba manner. It is symbolic. Greeting generally in the traditional society was not just a way of wishing people or elders the best of the day. It embodied the hierarchy in society and the respect accorded to them. The way people greeted also was indicative of the centralizing myths that held society together.
Today in this part of the world, greetings are just time-markers for the one that greets and the one that is greeted. It has lost most of its social significations due to the inversion of value that is generally the bane of post-Babangida Nigeria. It is in this reality that we must find the more philosophical signification of Okwu oto ekene eze beyond its etymological meaning. Okwu oto ekene eze is symptomatic of moral and social decay; it is a metaphor for cultural nihilism, the kind that has enveloped our State in recent times; it is a highly negative tendency and appeals to the worst in our collective destiny.
In Igboland, leadership has become an avenue for making money and building the best of cars. Our leaders do not care to carry their followers along and do not even understand the dynamics of gaining influence with people and also failed to realize that position has little to do with genuine leadership. This stems from poor ethics and the desire by all to make money no matter the risk involved. We have all thrown to the trash cans the popular Igbo saying that ezi afa ka ego.
Furthermore, there is lack of mentorship from the older generation to the younger ones and this has negatively impacted on the lifestyle and morale of our youth.