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IMPERATIVES OF CORE VALUES IN THE NIGERIAN SOCIETY

AT THE INSTANCE OF

 

NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF CATHOLIC CORPS MEMBERS (NACC)

FOR PUBLICATION IN THE 5TH EDITION OF HER ANNUAL MAGAZINE “THE CROZIER”

WRITTEN BY

DR T. C. OSANAKPO, SAN, KSGG, KCSGG

IMPERATIVES OF CORE VALUES IN THE NIGERIAN SOCIETY

  1. PREAMBLE

1.1    I was formally approached on 7th day of August 2015 by some members of editorial board of National Association of Catholic Corpers (NACC) Rivers State Chapter at the instance of Reverend Father   Bartholomew Uzoma, Chaplain of NACC Rivers State.

 

1.2    The basis of the approach was an appeal letter to contribute an Article towards their Annual Magazine. At this juncture, I paused and asked them what kind of Article is expected of me. Their collective response was an article that would be enlightening, broad, contemporary and of public interest. It is based on further reflection after the interaction when they left my office that I felt to express my thoughts on “Imperatives of Core Values in the Nigerian Society.” I hope that my thought in this article will meet their request and yearnings.

  1. DEFINITIVE FEATURES OF CORE VALUES

2.1    Generally speaking, values are beliefs or convictions that guide and direct a person’s behaviour, purpose and vision. In other words, the value of a person defines who he or she is. Therefore our values define who we are. It is indeed our values that provide guidance, direction and meaning in the entire purpose of our lives. Having attempted to provide in general terms what amounts to values, the question which seems to arise at this juncture is – “what are the features of core values in the dynamics of society?” The response to the raised question is that

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core values are broad. However for the purpose of this exercise, the salient definitive features of core values will be limited to the following namely:

(a)     HUMILITY1: It may be construed as “affirmation of inherent worth of the human person created in the image of GOD.” It is the recognition that the human being is a creation of GOD, and that all other human beings are also the children of GOD2. Therefore it takes a person to realize that all he has comes from GOD. It is the realization of this awesome fact that influences the person’s pattern of life and relationship with other persons. Succinctly put, humility is opposed to aggressiveness, arrogance, boastfulness3 and untoward disposition.

(b)     SERVICE4: It is an offspring or product of humility. In simple terms, service is being useful and selfless to other people notwithstanding your status or the position you occupy in society. Service is an embodiment of how a person uses his GOD given endowments, talents, time and treasures to promote common good for the betterment of all and not for altruistic considerations.

  • RESPECT5: It is a polite behaviour towards another borne out of humility. Respect is not just giving one his or her due, but also an exhibition of affection, benevolence, goodwill and genuine concern for the welfare of others.
  1. See Democracy and Christian Values, Pastoral Letter 2015 by Most Rev Valerian M. Okeke, Archbishop of Onitsha PP 16-17
  2. ibid
  3. ibid Page 17
  4. ibid Page 18
  5. ibid page 22

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  • HONESTY6: It is the act and disposition to give the people what is due to them without any form of abuse or contraptions. In precise terms, honesty is a manifestation of equity and fair play in the conduct of human affairs in the society. Honesty entails that public office holders do not extort from those they are meant to serve. The act of honesty implies for instance that a public office holder is not expected to take more than what is due to him but to give everyone their dues and entitlements7.
  • SINCERITY8: It entails “saying what we mean and meaning what we say.” It also means living and acting in accordance with the guidelines and principles that are good and honourable. Sincerity connotes not been deceptive to a fellow human being for selfish ends9.

(f)    GENEROSITY10: In both private life as well as in public service, generosity is rooted on the ability to genuinely sacrifice one’s pleasures and proven hard earnings for the benefit of other human beings.

  1. ibid page 23
  2. ibid page 24
  3. ibid pages 25-26
  4. ibid
  5. ibid 23

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(g)     INTEGRITY11: It is the disposition and manifestation to  promote justice and goodness always in the society. It is more than telling the truth. Indeed it is the body and soul of dignity, values, compassion, honesty and all that is good11. Unequivocally, people of integrity are deemed to stand up for what is right always even if it is unpopular. The significance of integrity is that it makes other people to have trust, confidence in their decisions and judgment on issues. Integrity is the basis for earned reputation and self respect in any sane society.

  1. RELEVANCE OF CORE VALUES IN THE NIGERIAN SOCIEITY

3.1    Having attempted to provide salient definitive features of core values, the next issue that may possibly agitate the mind of any reader of this article at this stage is – “Are Core Values relevant in the Nigerian society?” In order to deal with the raised issue, one is mindful of the following basic facts namely:

(i)     Nigeria is an entity driven and ran by persons in society;

(ii)    The due functionality of Nigeria is predicated in its

grund norm the Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as Amended;

  1. See Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary 8th Edition page 781 and also see New Webseter’s Dictionary of English Language – International Edition page 502

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(iii)   The Nigerian Constitution recognizes three arms of Government – the Executive, Legislative and Judiciary both at the Federal Government and the 36 States Structure in Nigeria.   The functional duties imposed on these three arms of Government are enshrined in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as Amended hereinafter referred to as the Constitution, and  are essentially thus:

(A)   EXECUTIVE

(i)     By virtue of Section 5 of the Constitution, the executive power of the Federal Government of Nigeria is vested in the President of Federal Republic of Nigeria. The powers conferred on the President is exercisable by him directly or through the Vice President, Ministers of the government of the Federation or officers in the service of the Federation; and

(ii)    the power of the President extends to execution and maintenance of the Constitution, all laws made by the National Assembly and to all matters with respect to which the National Assembly has, for the time being power to make laws.

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(iii)   The executive powers of the State government are vested in the Governor. The conferred power of the Governor by the Constitution may be exercised by him directly or through the Deputy Governor and Commissioners of the Government of that State or officers of the public service of the state.

(iv)   the powers of the Governor extends to the execution and maintenance of the Constitution and all laws made by the House of Assembly of the State and to all matters with respect to which the House of Assembly has the power for the time being to make laws.

(B)    LEGISLATURE

  1. The power to make laws for the Federal Republic of Nigeria is vested in the National Assembly which consist of the Senate and House of Representatives12.
  1. The National Assembly is empowered by the Constitution to make laws for the peace, order and good government of the Federation or any part thereof with respect to any matter included in the Exclusive legislative list of the Constitution13.

iii.     The legislative powers of a State of the Federation is vested in the House of Assembly of the State14.

  1. See Section 4(1) of the Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as Amended.
  2. See Section 4(2) of ibid
  3. See Section 4(6) of ibid

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  1. The House of Assembly of a State15is vested with the power to make laws for peace, order and good government of the State or any part thereof in respect of the following –
  • any matter not included in the Exclusive

legislative list of the Constitution;

(b)    any matter included in the concurrent legislative list of the Constitution; and

(c)    any other matter with respect to which it is empowered to make laws in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution.

(C)    JUDICIARY

  • The judicial powers of the Federation are vested and

exercised by the Courts contemplated under Section 6(1) of the Constitution. Similarly the judicial powers of a State are vested in the Court, envisaged under Section 6(2) of the Constitution.

  • In broad terms, the superior courts of record have the

powers to interpret by way of adjudication issues or dispute that are brought to it by either natural or legal persons that relate to the Constitution including determination of actions of both the executive and legislative arms of government that are subject to adjudication.

 

  1. See Section 4(7) of ibid

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  • The powers of Courts created under the Constitution extend to all matters “between persons or between government or authority and to any persons in Nigeria, and to all actions and proceedings relating thereto, for the determination of any question as to the civil rights and obligations of the person.”16

3.2   The three arms of government highlighted in this discourse play vital and fundamental roles in the Nigerian society. It is pertinent to state that the entrenched functional duties of the three arms of government under the Constitution are executed by persons in the Nigerian system. Therefore it is necessary to state that both the individual and collective decisions of persons in the executive, legislative and judiciary arms of government are not only far reaching but have direct impact on the lives and people in the Nigerian society.

3.3   The pre-condition and ability of these three arms of government to function optimally for the benefit of society is largely dependent on whether or not they have the right disposition to embrace identified core values in execution of their Constitutional duties in Nigeria. The basic point that requires comment at this juncture, is that failure on the part of  the ‘dramatis personae’ in the three arms of government to imbibe core values in governance will hinder and impede concrete development in Nigerian environs. Therefore this discourse is a wakeup call for government functionaries, including you and I to embrace core values in the due execution of genuine Nigerian project.

  1. Section 6(6)b of ibid

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  1. CONCLUDING REMARKS

4.1    The choice of the topic is to create awareness and necessity  to embrace core values in the way and manner we conduct our public and private affairs for an enduring Nigerian society. The  rationale is premised on the basis that Core values are vital and more so critical in proper and due promotion of work in progress in the Nigerian project.

4.2   Undoubtedly the imperatives of core values exercised by persons of proven character and good conscience will provide the catalyst for positive development of the Nigerian society. Accordingly their actions for the well being of the Nigerian society need to clearly manifest the following attributes, disposition and virtues such as:

  • abhorrence to corruption, corrupt practices and their

attendant negative consequences in governance;

(ii)    evolving formidable pathways and requisite route architecture or clearly defined road map towards elimination of negative vices, contraptions and abuse of office for societal good;

(iii)   due and proper focus on positive and affirmative developments in socio-economic lives in the Nigerian society;

(iv)   restraint to arrogance, selfishness, primordial sentiments, greed and ostentatious life style;

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(v)    commitment to truth and faithfulness in GOD that is Omnipotent and Omniscient.

(vi)   selfless and purposeful leadership in all spheres of governance that will collectively re-direct Nigeria towards holistic greatness for the common good of Nigerians and Nigerian society.

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