Sunday, 16 September 2012

Governance: Youth, Ethics and Globalization by Dipo Mohammed

In determining the success of any society, ethical conduct is of utmost importance. In a universal thought, these ethical conducts must be of good nature after all, human beings are most times expectant that in their own different definitions, only the positive should happen to them and the law of nature as is mostly believed connotes that if one does a good deed, the same fate will come back to him or her. Thus, the onus is on us all to have good character. However, it is ironic to note that while hoping for the positive, some individuals would only portray actions that may have a positive impact on themselves but negative impact on others. For keen observers of the Nigerian society vis -a -vis leadership, it may seem quite easy to come to conclusion that some of our politicians are corrupt.

As true as this may sound, there are unanswered questions pertaining to followership. These questions are even more important for those of us who hope to occupy political seats one day. Apparently, I am referring to the youth. I am also a Nigerian youth in the category of those who believe they are leaders but from my observations and interaction with others, I have discovered that for many of these complainants to become saints, they need to do a lot of repair work on themselves.

According to its dictionary meaning, “Character” is all the qualities and features that make a person, groups of people and places different from others”. In every aspect of our life, family, religion or business, people see character as being very important. Character is most times the very first factor that people get related with when they are thought of. “Good” is an extensive concept that has to do with what we get from life and has to deal with joy, happiness as well as love while “bad” has to do with a deliberate effort of inflicting negativity on people’s emotions. In view of this, a “good character” is one that the end result affects not only the doer in a positive way but people that surround him or her.

In every aspect of human existence, there is the necessity for the creation of social structure. This structure, when created should provide a direction towards how our lives can be organised otherwise, a repulsive effect that may lead to misunderstanding would occur thus our social institutions must be worked on to become even more effective than what they are today. In our present day globalized world, the individual gets acquainted to the globalized mechanism of communication coming from the internet, television, Radio and magazines. This communication could come to an individual for different end results such as in entertainment or business. Here, the focus of the business owners is profit thus little care is given towards the influence the content of programmes may have on the character of the receiver or consumer. But there need to be laid down mechanisms to ensure the survival of character because actions that used to be seen as vices now seem as  virtue and well accepted by the society. Young people today take negative actions finding it difficult to blame themselves but easy to put it all on their leaders when they do the same. One can wonder what will become of them should they find themselves in leadership positions later in life.
Humans are attracted to things that have value thus the question should be asked, “Do humans still value good character? The answer is “yes”, humans still value good character in the globalization age and they understand that without it, not much can be achieved. When good character is talked about, people most times refer to elements like honesty, truthfulness and obedience. The fore mentioned are part of the few that helps to move the world forward whenever they are displayed for the good of the individual and others. People are concerned about having good character because it would help their reputation. The different thoughts of today’s youth have been the result of the different orientations they have gotten from various spheres. One would compare the ethical conduct of the 21st century youth and that of the 20th century and may not be amazed by the huge difference and where one’s preference will fall. No amazement because the effect of globalization on character hasn’t taken this much toll at the time. Of course, globalization has its own positive effects, my concern is how much on our ethical conduct and how societies are dealing with the issue.   In view of this, we must understand certain notions in our bid to analyzing the possibility that character has to surviving in our society in relation to globalization.

The laid down mechanisms earlier pointed out would be looked at one after the other. The first is the “role of the family” in the globalized age. Compared to what we used to have, the essence of the family in the society is almost fading out thus the role of the family in shaping individual’s character needs to be improved upon. The media seem to be doing more of the family’s work and question of whether it is done right or wrong is entirely a different issue. This could pose as challenging because more than the family, media mechanisms are doing the job of teaching people what is right or wrong however, these teachings are in the context of what the media wants people to believe and this most times is not necessarily the truth. Secondly, institutions also need to improve on their lot in orientating young people on character and not as it is often seen on success. They need to be made to understand that  a preamble to being a success is good character. 

Dipo Mohammed is a philosophy undergraduate of the University of Lagos



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