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Opinion

Twisted Conscience -By Peter Ajogwu

The social fabric of our nation, Nigeria, is awash with ripples of likes and dislikes, commendations and condemnations, silence and outbursts over the “Best Dressed Female” award at the premiere of Eniola Ajao’s Ajakaju film.

While everybody is entitled to his or her opinion, the critical questions begging for answers include: what is the color of our national conscience? Does Nigeria, as an African nation, hold certain ethics as the ground norm? Are there consequences for everything-goes-moral standards? Are there laws tailored to safeguard the moral fabrics of Nigeria?

The answers to these questions unfortunately will depend on the moral compass of respondents. It will most likely raise more dust over objectivism and subjectivism. However, the focus here is on the consequences of everything-goes-ethical standards, which seem to be the order of the day, on all of us, as a people and as a country.

Peter L. Berger and Thomas Luckmann, in “The Social Construction of Reality” (1966), reinvented and applied the sociology of knowledge to everyday life. Sociology of knowledge is “the study of the relationship between human thought, the social context within which it arises, and the effects that prevailing ideas have on societies”. When the socio-cultural life of a people is not protected but allowed to run on individuals’ autopilot standards, the larger society becomes the victims. That means we are all victims. It doesn’t matter whether the organizer calls it a stunt or not. The socio-cultural life of a country defines the character and forms the building blocks for national values. The strange ideas from a few individuals soon become acceptable if unchecked. From an individual to a few individuals, then it becomes and assumes the status of knowledge and influence and starts affecting the larger society. Such strange ideas creep in slowly but steadily into the subconsciousness of society and soon become overt behavior demonstrated with reckless abandon and with brazen boldness. At this stage, the strange ideas start gaining followership, especially among the younger generation, and in no time, knowledge, influence, and expertise are defined in the colors of the trends, accepted by some or many people. The very few that have accepted the strange ideas form a block of society and create a class-based influence that affects the larger society. This narrative dovetails nicely into Lao Tzu’s thought: “watch your thoughts, they become your words; watch your words, they become your action; watch your actions they become your habits; watch your habits, they become your character; watch your character, it becomes your destiny”.

This is also very true about the destiny of a country. The menace of everything-goes-ethical philosophy on Nigeria’s socio-cultural fabrics is subtly inventing negative trends, knowledge, and influence. It will soon become a tradition.

The transgender engagements of Bobrisky, for instance, gained acceptance of a sort in the subconscious mind of few Nigerians; but when this very block of society promoted their influence to national limelight, by their decision to pick a known transgender (male) as “Best Dressed Female”, the moral consciousness of the other block of our society rumbled in protest.

In all these, the clarion call is for the government, royal fathers, leaders, and custodians of our cultural identity to rise from slumber and speak out from every hill and valley, in defense of our cultural values, especially as it relates to transgender behaviors.

Our silence will weaponize and embolden the advocates of these strange ideas and will make victims out of us.

Any nation without definite socio-cultural norms runs on twisted conscience. Nigeria therefore has to firmly stand up and defend our national values. Such national values become yardsticks for the acceptability or otherwise of strange ideas.

The social fabric of our nation, Nigeria, is awash with ripples of likes and dislikes, commendations and condemnations, silence and outbursts over the “Best Dressed Female” award at the premiere of Eniola Ajao’s Ajakaju film.

While everybody is entitled to his or her opinion, the critical questions begging for answers include: what is the color of our national conscience? Does Nigeria, as an African nation, hold certain ethics as the ground norm? Are there consequences for everything-goes-moral standards? Are there laws tailored to safeguard the moral fabrics of Nigeria?

The answers to these questions unfortunately will depend on the moral compass of respondents. It will most likely raise more dust over objectivism and subjectivism. However, the focus here is on the consequences of everything-goes-ethical standards, which seem to be the order of the day, on all of us, as a people and as a country.

Peter L. Berger and Thomas Luckmann, in “The Social Construction of Reality” (1966), reinvented and applied the sociology of knowledge to everyday life. Sociology of knowledge is “the study of the relationship between human thought, the social context within which it arises, and the effects that prevailing ideas have on societies”. When the socio-cultural life of a people is not protected but allowed to run on individuals’ autopilot standards, the larger society becomes the victims. That means we are all victims. It doesn’t matter whether the organizer calls it a stunt or not. The socio-cultural life of a country defines the character and forms the building blocks for national values. The strange ideas from a few individuals soon become acceptable if unchecked. From an individual to a few individuals, then it becomes and assumes the status of knowledge and influence and starts affecting the larger society. Such strange ideas creep in slowly but steadily into the subconsciousness of society and soon become overt behavior demonstrated with reckless abandon and with brazen boldness. At this stage, the strange ideas start gaining followership, especially among the younger generation, and in no time, knowledge, influence, and expertise are defined in the colors of the trends, accepted by some or many people. The very few that have accepted the strange ideas form a block of society and create a class-based influence that affects the larger society. This narrative dovetails nicely into Lao Tzu’s thought: “watch your thoughts, they become your words; watch your words, they become your action; watch your actions they become your habits; watch your habits, they become your character; watch your character, it becomes your destiny”.

This is also very true about the destiny of a country. The menace of everything-goes-ethical philosophy on Nigeria’s socio-cultural fabrics is subtly inventing negative trends, knowledge, and influence. It will soon become a tradition.

The transgender engagements of Bobrisky, for instance, gained acceptance of a sort in the subconscious mind of few Nigerians; but when this very block of society promoted their influence to national limelight, by their decision to pick a known transgender (male) as “Best Dressed Female”, the moral consciousness of the other block of our society rumbled in protest.

In all these, the clarion call is for the government, royal fathers, leaders, and custodians of our cultural identity to rise from slumber and speak out from every hill and valley, in defense of our cultural values, especially as it relates to transgender behaviors.

Our silence will weaponize and embolden the advocates of these strange ideas and will make victims out of us.

Any nation without definite socio-cultural norms runs on twisted conscience. Nigeria therefore has to firmly stand up and defend our national values. Such national values become yardsticks for the acceptability or otherwise of strange ideas

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