Have you ever wondered why the African continent is so bedeviled with challenges of corruption, poverty, mismanagement and bad governance? I bet you have! Well, I believe our challenges largely stem from the lack of well-established ethics system. You may disagree with me, which is totally fine, but stay with me as I make my case out on ethics and how it can make or mar the African society.
Ethics is a branch of philosophy that involves systemizing, defending and recommending concepts of right and wrong conduct. It is a philosophy which focuses on the study of the principles relating to right and wrong conduct. It stresses on morality, and is the standard that governs the conduct of a person, especially a member of a profession or society.
Ethics borders on all facets of human endeavors. It is realizable and can be imbibed as a virtue by all human beings. It is a term that is mildly used; sometimes it is neglected on grounds of negligence and/or misconception of its basic importance in human life and society.
The existential philosophy explains that “Existence precedes essence”. This is to say that, man’s existence on earth should dwell mostly on how to do right and conduct oneself so as to build intrapersonal and interpersonal relationship with those around him.
No wonder the existential philosopher, Mark Twain opined that “How can one discover why he was born? He must develop himself, conduct himself in the spirit of steadfastness and astuteness, and relate with those around him, then he can climax to greater heights in life”.
Back to my African society analogy, the issue of ethics or the lack of it can be connected to the African society in a number of ways. I will pick our favourite theme- Corruption.
The staggering facts on corruption before us reveal how low we have fallen in terms of moral etiquettes. Corruption is the default state most Africans live in -apologies to those who don’t- and wrong ethical dispositions always win the day. It is easy and unquestionably so, to lay the blame that the older generation has failed us. Without doubt, they have not been able to deliver on the long-term vision of making a great Africa. Every society thrives upon an evolution of practices and culture. Sadly, the current state of affairs suggest that continuous African generations have only focused on refining and inventing new ways of keeping the society corrupt. This is, in my opinion, the lack of a foundation set on ethics as the primary standard of how our choices are made in everyday living.
To not sound overly pessimistic, the appropriate question should be what is being done and what else can we do? Well, this is the reason for which CSAAE exists.
Equipping the younger generation with the right mental and moral attitude is important if the battle against corruption will be won in this continent.
The Center for Social Awareness, Advocacy and Ethics (CSAAE) is one among several non-governmental organizations, which is poised to and realistically inculcate the right ethics in African youths, so that they can wage the war against corruption and end underdevelopment in Africa.
CSAAE is building a network of “Effective African Leaders”, a carefully selected group of young men and women from universities all over Nigeria and grooming them to have the capacity to change the narrative of the continent and to do that with the highest ethical values. These young men and women are trained to think like leaders, live like leaders and act like leaders; for indeed, the sole aim of CSAAE is raising leaders that will take over the affairs of Africa in the nearest future.
The emergence of these breed of leaders will mark the end of tryranny, oppression, hardship and poor governance in Africa. The Centre promotes ethics through all her programs especially the Youth Ethics and Anti-corruption program (YEAP).
As regards what more could be done, I recommend that teaching of ethics should be integrated into our curriculums; this sets a fundamental foundation for young people as they grow into adults. Our youths can do away with all these vices if provided with constant motivation, and necessary tools are employed to help them imbibe ethics and channel their energies towards positive activities that will bring about sustainable development in our dearest Africa. CSAAE is providing this enabling environment.
People desiring to impact their world positively and who are ready to work hard, live in dignity and feel proud to belong to the African society are those who embrace the right ethics any day, any time. They make integrity, accountability, solidarity, punctuality, creativity and other virtues a part of their lives.
On the other hand, there are people who have embraced the negative or bad ethics and this of course has its attendant destructive and catastrophic effects.
The important question for you today is: what kind of ethics have you imbibed?
Join the trend of events at CSAAE today and together we will make Africa a better place.
ENL Ashu, Thomas Amu