Sweet were the good old days: how did we get here?


By Dr. Abdurrahman Ashiru

In the face of the prevailing trends, conspicuously decorated by the loss of values ideals, social instability, dwindling of the standard of living, and widening insecurity- saying we are dipping into the abyss of what sociologists referred to as the anomie is a gross understatement. I intend to take a cursory look at the present we live, in order to make a modest superficial comparison with the yesterday that our grandparents had lived.

Perhaps, many people born in the, say 70’s, 80’s and 90’s would attest to the fact that we live in an entirely different world today; needless to mention our grandparents who probably wouldn’t believe their eyes what everything has turned into.

This change I believe is inevitable due to modernity encroachment that was made possible by the forces of industrial and technological revolutions the world has seen recently. Nevertheless, despite the innumerable good these developmental forces have brought, our region is the worst negatively affected.

Take, for instance, the menacing insecurity ranging from pillage, banditry, kidnapping to terrorism which bedevil us in a broad daylight such that no one feels safe outside the comfort of his room (not even the security personnel); it’s even worse for the people in the village who probably would feel safer sleeping on the trees while many others have been displaced- sadly, this is not a hyperbole but the new reality that steadily becomes the ‘new normal’. Gone are the days when people live peacefully in harmony without any fear of being attacked, kidnapped or killed.

History has documented from our hunter-gatherer ancestors, instances where the powerful group attacked and pillaged the feeble one just because they don’t belong to them, and very recently historically the practice of enslavement which comes usually as a spoils of war, but gradually, became so rampant that one may be attacked on his/her way and got enslaved.

Knowing very well, slavery is not fun and it is romanticised only by fools, I can say with absolute certainty that many a slave would love to be enslaved than kidnapped or slaughtered by a terrorist in a state that shamelessly calls itself a sovereign nation.

Standard of living has plummeted unprecedentedly such that Nigeria is now the poverty headquarter of the world. Reminiscing the past when everyone had a food on the table, paid their bills without difficulty, sent their kids to school, and lived a healthy decent life- makes viewing the prism of the possible future (if the trends continue as they are today) doomy, gloomy and bleak! Only a giant with clay feet would take pride in being the best economy in Africa without making any conscious effort to translate that into the betterment of the majority of its citizens living in abject poverty.

Many people have lost their ideals, values and moralities. They have lost meaning and purpose. They are basically wallowing in the abyss of darkness, blissfully busy doing nothing. They make the ignorant and the cruel amongst them to pilot their affairs and make decisions for them.

 They hate themselves and look forward to having any slightest opportunity to wreak havoc and watch themselves burning into ashes. They borrowed interest-ridden money to buy padlocks and used it to lock the doors on top of their heads that enabled them think and threw the keys into the Atlantic Ocean. They have simply trapped themselves between the rock and the hard surface. Light at the end of the tunnel (with this trend continuing) is more of an illusion than a possibility.

Those days when everyone was up to something positive and productive; when people were selfless and altruistic; when neighbours were more or less blood relations not just simply happened to accidentally shared a wall; when a child is for everyone and it’s a collective responsibility guiding him/her to see the light of the day; when everyone took the ownership of events as they unfolded and followed their proceedings to the logical conclusions; when people could think meaningfully and productively because basic Maslow’s physiological need was none of their concerns; when people cut their coat according to their sizes.

What have we done? How did we get there? Why isn’t anyone seeming to care? Who will save us? These are the questions that keep ringing in my ears. These are the questions that wake me up at night. Occasionally the same questions cost me my sleep and serenity, knowing deeply, nothing is going to work until everything is working very well.

For the sake of brevity, I think the above painted realities were caused by us or by those before us. Therefore, we must take responsibility, stop the blame game, make a conscious effort to seek redress, make social justice prevail, hold people accountable, take realistic steps, stop copying everything from Europe and America, be patriotic and the change we would love to see in the world.

Related articles

Recent articles