By Dr. Abdullahi Dahiru, Kano
The Hausa people of Northern Nigeria were known for some of their virtues that made them exemplary among the tribes of Nigeria. Values such as honesty, entrepreneurship, scholarship, piety, dignity and respect for elders are desirable virtues among the Hausa. Today some of these virtues are fast disappearing; scholarship giving way to ignorance; honesty to dishonesty; entrepreneurship to begging and destitution; piety to transgression and respect for elders to that of wealth and affluence. This is the hallmark of our society today.
I remember as a child growing up in Kano, I don’t see beggars the way as see them now. They now seem to be every where, from mosques to streets and markets. We have allowed children that are potential engineers, doctors and lawyers to roam the streets seeking for food and alms, without any body seeming to care for them in name of almajiranci. Some of these children in the end do not learn anything but thuggery and hooliganism; as if we want to relegate scholarship and revere ignorance.
From Lagos, Abuja to Kano, the Hausa man is the predominant destitute among the many tribes of Nigeria. These people have abandoned the virtue of entrepreneurship and self reliance and have chosen for themselves a life of laziness and destitution. They have abandoned our age-old crafts like farming, dyeing, blacksmithing and trading and have flooded into the cities to earn a living as beggars.
We remain the most backward in terms of enrollment in schools and even where the children are enrolled in schools we don’t have quality education either because the money that is supposed to be appropriated to the school has been siphoned by a greedy politician or the teacher that is supposed to be in the classroom refuse to teach and instead choose to remain chatting in staff room or has deliberately absent herself or himself from work on flimsy excuse.
Some of the young girls that are supposed to be in school parade the streets hawking kola nut and kunu, only to be cajoled by a cunning adult into having sexual relations leading to unwanted pregnancy. The parent may resort to seek for termination of the pregnancy through a quack doctor leading to loss of live of the girl or leading to serious morbidity.
Another feature of the degradation of the Hausa society today, is the problem of drug abuse and thuggery. Abuse of drugs like marijuana and stimulants like amphetamine is becoming rampant in our society. These drug- addicted youth are increasingly been recruited by politicians to cause trouble during political campaigns and rallies. It appears to me that some parents nowadays behave as if they are not the ones entrusted with the responsibility of training and proper upbringing of their children.
My mother used to tell me a story of how formerly a marriage is contracted between a young man and a woman without any of them meeting each other till when the bride is taken to the groom’s house, they will accept to stay as husband and wife just because of the respect they have for their parents and the woman will remain in the man’s house till death will separate them.
What do we have today? Rate of divorce is rising everyday. There is increasing glamour during wedding, only for the woman to be divorced after one month, because, the elders can no longer arbitrate between disputing couple. Their wise words are no longer relevant anymore; the society glorifies only wealth and affluence.
Every body in our society seems to pretend as if nothing is wrong with our society today, certainly we are gradually losing our age-old good values and our society is decaying fast. If we want our society to progress in corporate Nigeria, we must restore our good values like honesty, entrepreneurship, piety, dignity and respect for elders that have once made us proud. The time for action is now, not later
NB The article was published in Daily Trust of 30th April and reproduced on Weekly Trust of May 2nd 2009