The latest instruction by President Mohammadu Buhari through Mallam Nasir el-Rufai that the book “The Islamic Studies for Secondary School” should be reviewed and included in the curriculum for all Federal Colleges in the Federation; has no doubt triggered off a lot of reactions from various quarters. This according to Mr. President should be done as a remedy to the declining moral and religious values in the Country.
To start with, there is nothing wrong with adopting measures to ensure that the moral decadence in our secondary schools is reduced to the barest minimum and that religious values which sometimes serve as avenues of inculcating morals are well appreciated and adhered to by our secondary school students and indeed the larger society. Be that as it may, the Federal Republic of Nigeria is a heterogeneous society with diverse religions and cultures; no one is superior to the other. It therefore follows that any such approach to inculcate moral and religious values in the people is such that should be wholistic so as to capture ALL the cultural and religious values of all Nigerians.
Even though this is not the type of radicalism that is expected of him in the 21st century when the World is trying to free itself from the clutches of the two World institutionalized religions; it also behooves him for equity and fairness and in order to give vent to those critics who perceive him as a fundamentalist to direct that the Christian Religious Studies be included in the curriculum for all Federal Colleges in the Country as well. This is in keeping with his dictum “I belong to everybody and I belong to nobody”. It should also be made clear that none of these religious studies should be mandatory for students as people have it as a fundamental right to choose their own religion. Any attempt to make any or all of these religious studies mandatory would be infringing on the inalienable and most fundamental human rights of the citizenry just as it would only send a signal that a certain religion is now seen and taken as superior to others and that this move is only but a deliberate attempt to lord such a religion over the entire college students in the Federation.
Be that as it may, as it was clearly stated by Karl Marx that religion is the opium of the masses, it is pertinent to note that in the 21st century, Education of morals have been made more scientific and philosophical and as such a more practical approach that will help reduce the moral decadence in our secondary schools (State and Federal) would be the re-introduction and re-packaging of Moral studies/Instruction in our secondary schools. Also a grand scale conscientious reorientation of the masses through a zero tolerance to gross indiscipline among the people would be of immense benefits. Again it is high time a profound National Philosophy be articulated and passed on to the next generation meticulously. This has been found out to be more effective than Religions and their perpetual supremacy conflicts. Is any person in doubt; are the worst forms of inhumanity to the fellow humans not been perpetrated in the name of religion? Again let it be reiterated that the solution to the moral decadence, juvenile delinquencies, recklessness and all behavioural improprieties are nothing but a clear manifestation of the total lack of a unifying grand philosophy or sign of a massive dilapidation of the social, cultural and ethical structure of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. If Mr. President means well as he claims, as a conservative as he is, as a person who has experienced the first and second republics currently in 21st century politics and the President of the most powerful black Nation on earth; then to think beyond the ambience of Religion and Ethnicity should be his modus operandi.
The above stated is the line the President should tow if he is thinking of social-ethical re-engineering, construction of a unifying National philosophy and enthronement of lasting values over and above the devilish antagonistic culture of impudence in the land. If this is done, with teachers conscientiously and religiously inculcating the moral discipline in our students; respected personalities/well distinguished men and women of HONOUR and DIGNITY within the location of such secondary schools visiting the students as often as they can with the view to teaching them the very right things in life as enshrined in the new Bible/Quran of National Philosophy then; there shall be no doubts that we are in a sure way to restoring most of our lost moral values and better modern values of National importance.
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