Presentation on theme: "ETHICS,VIOLENCE and CIVIC EDUCATION SYSTEM IN NIGERIA. Francesca Edeghere. Director, Training, Seminars and Studies. Fellowship of Partners for the Protection."— Presentation transcript:
ETHICS,VIOLENCE and CIVIC EDUCATION SYSTEM IN NIGERIA. Francesca Edeghere. Director, Training, Seminars and Studies. Fellowship of Partners for the Protection of Ethics and Values [FOPPEV] Presented at a Seminar organised by Konrad- Adenauer- Stiftung Foundation. Abuja. Rockview Hotel. 6 th June 2013.
DEFINITIONS. What Ethics is. Ethics can be defined as the critical structured examination of how we should behave – in particular how we should constrain the pursuit of self -interest when our actions affect others. Ethics means providing reasoned justification for our choices and behaviours when it affects others and reasoned justification for our praise and criticism of other peoples behaviours. [Chris MacDonald. Ph.D]
What Civic Education Means. Civic Education also known as Citizen Education or Democracy Education can be broadly defined as the provision of information and learning experiences to equip and empower citizens to participate in democratic processes. The education can take very different forms including classroom- based learning, informal training, experiential learning and mass media campaigns. [Jennifer Reitbergen- McCracken.]
What Violence Means. Physical force exerted for the purpose of violating, damaging or abusing. The act or an instance of violent action or behaviour. Intensity or severity as in natural phenomena, untamed force. Abusive or unjust exercise of power. [TheFreeDictionary]
The Processes/Influences Involved. Ethics, Civic Education and Violence are experiences and information that are cultivated and imbibed. Most often informally stirred from birth at Home, strengthened from information and experiences in the formal school system and consolidated in the larger world. The three phases therefore to be considered here are the Home, the Educational System and the larger Nigerian Community.
The Home. The traditional Nigerian Home was a strong woven fabric of the father, mother, child and extended family member/s. There was social and financial security provided by the breadwinner predominantly the father- e.g. shelter, food and leadership. The Child, at birth,was given a worthy and meaningful name that should support ethical values – to be preserved, protected and put to good use. The Child was thereafter, reminded to always protect the family name.
The Home Continued. The Responsibilities of the Mother and the Child were clearly spelt out- Mother takes care of the home, nurtures the child to respect self, family, elders and others and contribute to the well- being of society. The Child s responsibilities included contributing to the well being of the home [in extension, society]- sweeping, washing, cooking, taking care of younger siblings, respect for self and others. Family unity consolidated at table –eating together at all meals. The Mother and Child however were not strongly involved in decision making in the Home. Domestic Violence was not pronounced.
Home continued. Shift has occurred since the 80s. Homestead not as secure – parents are often more focused on earning a living. Self- interest more pronounced. The Child is kept in care of house-helps or roaming the streets uncared for. Respect for self and family values has waned. However, Mother/ Child decision making opportunities slightly encouraged especially within the upper and middle- classes. Domestic Violence on the rise. More divorces resulting in broken homes. Quality Family life on the decline.
The Formal School System. Before the 80s,the school was a strong institution for promoting Ethics, Civic Education thus reducing violent acts within. The school head exercised quality control. Teachers were dedicated, had mastery of the pedagogy and were highly respected members of society. The school was an extension of the Home.[push/pull.] Facilities and Resources were adequate - effectively and efficiently managed. Civics was taught as a subject in the primary school. PTAs were strong and involved in decision making. Pupils were not directly integrated into decision making -not even in the election of their leaders[ prefects]. Student Union Govt.[SUG[ in Universities were relevant.
The Formal School System from the 80s. School Heads often fail to exercise internal quality control. Teachers are less dedicated. Facilities are grossly deteriorated. Explosion of pupils without equivalent provisions. Civics taught in primary school embedded in Social Studies. Parents less involved in what, how, where their children learn. Pupils restive – violence, cultism, examination malpractices. School prefects are still selected rather than elected in most primary and secondary schools- negation of civic education. SUG in universities have lost the bite.
Larger Nigerian Society :Pre- Colonial. Power and authority was balanced with service and accountability. The ruler did not have absolute power. The focus of rulers was on contributing to the well being of the people through consultation and consensus. Therefore sovereignty resided with the people, power and authority was derived from them. Where the people were dissatisfied with the ruler they showed displeasure- chiefs withdraw their services, the people sang abusive songs, refusal of priests to perform crucial duties, open revolt. Thus crises and conflicts were minimised and challenges were confronted from within.
Pre- colonial [quote]. Offices were held for life by Obas, Emirs and others subject to good behaviour. All incumbents and claimants were expected to be people of transparent honesty, integrity, uprightness, and with the ability to service the basic needs of their communities. Succession to offices was usually peaceful and was done according to established traditional rules. Dissension and rival claims were often resolved through consensus. [Ogbaji,J.O.]
Colonial Era. Berlin Conference Scramble for Africa.[slave trade ebbing]. - connotes violence. Plundering and subjugation of resistant administrations e.g. Benin kingdom.[use of force.] Introduction of Indirect- Rule by the British colonialists eroded democratic governance instituted by pre- colonial Nigeria. Agitation for Independence by Nigeria.
Independence. Struggle for Independence. Non- Violent. Independence achieved in Constitution in place- democratic instrument. Players –Nnamdi Azikiwe, Obafemi Awolowo, Ahmadu Bello - referred to as selfless leaders. Then the Army struck!!!
Excerpt : Independence Speech Todays ceremony marks the culmination of a process which began fifteen years ago and has now reached a happy and successful conclusion. It is with justifiable pride that we claim the achievement of our Independence to be unparalleled in the annals of history. Each step of our constitutional advance has been purposefully and peacefully planned with full and open consultation, not only between representatives of all the various interests in Nigeria but in harmonious cooperation with the administering power which has today relinquished its authority. [Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa. Nigerias Prime Minister at Independence.
Military Era , Military connotes force, war, violence. Abrogation of the Constitution by the Military- a testimony to autocracy.[ encourage abuse of power]. Democratic values vanished- Consensus laws gave way to Military Decrees. Merit gave way to sycophancy- termination and appointment of Heads of government agencies became subjective. The Civil Service, engine room for translating government policies, was stripped of merit- culture. Agitations from Civil liberty organisations for a democratically elected government. The military failed because it was repressive, corrupt, and undemocratic. Victor Dike. Leadership,Politics and Social Change. Nigeria and the Struggle for Survival.2008.
Military Era [quote]. With the constitution abrogated, participation or access to the governing process of the country was foreclosed to Nigerians. The effects of these draconian policies first drove the various ethnic groups to polarise themselves while ethnic identity became sharper and sharper. Unemployment rose sharply, crime became overwhelming and corruption became the order of the day. Dr. Anthony Edeh. The Various Attempts at Transition to Democracy.1999.
The New Dawn In 1999 a new dawn glimmered. President Olusegun Obasanjo was sworn in as a civilian head of state in Then came Musa Yaardua, then incumbent, Goodluck Jonathan. Old wine in new bottle? Or old bottle parading new wine? Electoral malpractices/violence. Electorate not fully aware of the power of the ballot? Cases of corruption in the ruling elite escalate. Insecurity is upbeat- kidnaps for ransom, sectional/religious violence etc. Constitution Review? Are the people really involved? If yes, are their views going to be protected and respected?
New Dawn contd. Accountability: Constituency Projects by legislators? Are the constituents consulted? Who monitors and evaluates the projects? Leadership crisis: Governors cannot elect their own leader freely, fairly!!!![ Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi s re- election saga] Service: Level of commitment of most legislators to duty is intolerable.[scanty attendance at sittings]. Political experience /maturity of the ruling class: Shallow.
The Nigeria Media. Is the Nigerian Media really the 4 th Realm, The Voice of the People or just a toothless bulldog? Are Media practitioners in Nigeria professionals or the industry is for all comers? How free is the Media in Nigeria? How accessible is the print and electronic media to the common Nigerian. The non- tolerant behavior of politicians to alternative views or options is frightening and threatening to broadcasting and democratic values. [NTA. Broadcast Media and Sustainable Democracy in Nigeria: Issues and Challenges. 2007]
The Role of the Media : Reference. The press from the 1920s on to independence in 1960 became an industry, profession and a social force for liberation of the Nigerian people. Yet, in all Nigerian constitutions, the media is hardly mentioned in the manner in which the executive, legislature and judiciary on the one hand and the federal, the state and the local governments on the other are documented with legal instruments. The philosophy of modern governance and especially of modern democracy conceives the media as a monumental force and as an institution similar to the tiers of government. Historically, the development of modern democracy as a product predominantly of the French and American revolutions in the 18th century acknowledged the media as the fourth arm or realm of constitutional and democratic government. In order words, it is difficult if indeed not impossible, to under-take a discourse on modern democracy and its practices without reference to the media. How the media discharges … unfettered access to information should engage not only the media itself but also indeed all civil society actors, both domestic and international. Sam Oyovbaire. The Media and Democratic Process in Nigeria
Recommendations. Leadership :Power and Authority must match Service and Accountability. There must be more consultation and consensus with the polity[by political class] in order to meet desired needs. Succession to political offices must be firmly controlled by the electorate through strategic massive citizenship education. The Mass Media, must focus more on investigative journalism /whistle blowing and not mere reportage. Violence will be less in the system when citizens are empowered to participate effectively in governance.
Recommendations.[Details] We are all in this together. Transformation is desired and we must all play our part. We must exercise our franchise and vote positively – not on sentiments but on track records of good leadership. Merit must be the hallmark for appointments into any national office even if we must rely on the federal character formula. Ethics and Civic Education must be re- ignited from the Home. Domestic violence must be curbed and broken homes reduced significantly. Quality family life must be nurtured. The school must provide quality education that promotes Civic education. Instruments that nurture patriotism,good governance and leadership as well as self- actualisation, must be prominently available- respectable national flag, school identity[visible sign post,] security as in a fencing, school motto and logo, etc All schools must observe National days that are democracy related not just by staying off -school but through a relevant activity, e.g. parade, discussion, debate, etc [October 1 and May 29.] It is important that a National Minimum standard for election of school prefects in Nigeria is produced to serve as a guideline for the election of school prefects in Nigerian Primary /Secondary school vis- a- vis civic education. The platform for this can be raised immediately at this seminar.
Recommendations[contd.]. Need for Government to establish more effective channels of communication with the polity. The Media chat by the President / Facebook account is a good attempt Town hall meetings should be encouraged between the people and the legislators. There is a dire need to educate law- makers as soon as they are elected on their role as public servants and continue to give such support even while they still hold office. Opposition parties should criticise the ruling party objectively and praise and support positive people- oriented projects put in place by the ruling party. The Office of the Special Adviser to the President on Ethics and Values must establish firmer contact with relevant Agencies - NOA, INEC, Development Partners, through FOPPEV for the development of short- term activities on civic education. MDAs should encourage frequent departmental meetings within staff and constant Management level meetings to keep in touch with the staff and elicit better people- oriented projects. MDAs must provide public information on their activities and disseminate such through the Mass Media as well as encourage the public to evaluate their projects. Work –Place Ethics must be introduced and engrained in the workings and policies of all MDAs. Civil Liberty Organisations in Nigeria must exhibit integrity in meeting their mandates and also inform the public frequently through newsletters, seminars on their activities. Massive Information Literacy Campaigns and facilities to be provided especially for the public. Reading/Writing/Speaking/ICT. That is how to make the Bring- Back the Book initiative of the Jonathan administration more effective. Unfettered Access to Information broadens the mind, reduces violence and bigotry
Parting Quote. People are poor because they are being denied access to opportunities. People steal because they are hungry and destitute. People are hungry and destitute because they cannot earn wages. They have no wages because they have no work. They have no work because they have been retrenched. They have been retrenched because industries cannot cope with their wage bills. Industries can not cope with their wage bills because production costs have increased. Production costs have increased because our infrastructures have died. [The infrastructures have died because the funds meant for their upgrading, repairs, maintenance and installations of others meant for the common good end (up) in private pockets] Kofo Awosika [A Presidents Responsibilities : The Guardian, June 17, 1999).
Satisfying my Curiosity. Who would you have voted for at the Election of the Chairman of the Nigerian Governors Forum from the two contestants below and why? 1. Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi. 2. Jonah Jang. THANK YOU FOR YOUR ATTENTION.