When I remember yesterday, my heart sinks. It sinks because our sacrosanct values have been eroded. The values that made life easy, simple and progressive have been sacrificed on the altar of today’s vices. Sanity, love, selflessness, contentment, responsibility and hard work were some of the beloved products of yesterday. Today, there is general madness expressing itself in cupidity, unrestrained free life, hatred and a rape of moral rectitude.
An uncontrollably recalcitrant boy was reported to his teacher by his parents. ‘I can’t handle this case. Your son is a terror. I don’t want him to descend on me. Please, count me out,’ the teacher said bitterly. And he was right. The boy later got a hint of it and sternly warned his teacher to steer clear of his family’s affairs if he treasured his life. Yesterday, the trend was remarkably different. At the mention of his teacher, the boy in question would kneel down in tears, begging his parents for forgiveness and promising not to wear such ugly shoes again. The reason for his remorsefulness was that he knew what would befall him if his misdemeanour eventually got to the notice of his teacher.
I have read stories of men who slept with their daughters, from the national dailies. I have heard some people discuss the abominable act. I have also seen two men who confessed to the crime. It is also no longer news that brothers sleep with their sisters and relations sleep with their relations. These are the unholy acts of today which many people indulge in without compunction. Yesterday, it was the highest level of abomination for such to occur. In fact, it was almost impossible to think of such. But this is what many people freely do today and, if caught, blame it on the devil.
When I see how examinations are conducted today, I shed tears. Examinations are fraught with malpractices and this is perpetrated with impunity. It is now the order of the day and it cuts across all segments. Do you know that exam answers are copied for the students or candidates on the chalkboard under the supervision of the supervisors, principals, ministry of education officials and officials of exam bodies? Do you know that today’s students don’t even know the day and time of the subject they will sit for? Yet, they come out with incredibly good grades. The fall-out of these activities is the production of graduates who can’t even identify their names from a list. This system is a direct opposite of what obtained yesterday when exams were conducted devoid of malpractice. The students were studious, committed and responsible. The supervisors also carried out their duties with all manner of responsibility. And the result was the emergence of wise, dedicated, hardworking and responsible citizens. When I wanted to sit for WASCE, I became slimmer not because of starvation but because I studied almost every time—morning, afternoon and late nights. Studying remained my only pastime. I was almost bitten by a snake when I went into an uncompleted building to study at night with my lantern. My efforts paid off as I came out with flying colours. And this spirit helped me in my subsequent academic pursuits.
I attended one wedding in my neighbourhood. It was the talk of the town, featuring a lot to eat and drink. Later that day, I was baffled to hear the enormous amount of money used to organise such revelry. And it was the man who bore the expenses. He even borrowed from some people with the hope of paying back from the money he expected from the invitees. Unfortunately, most people showed up only to enjoy without anything to offer in return. He did not even realise one-third of what he spent. This revelation stupefied me. ‘How can a man dissipate such whopping amount of money on marriage? How can a man incur huge debts which may take a long time to settle because of marriage?’ I meditated. Yesterday’s marriage was simple, sweet and based on mutual love. The man was obliged to pay a token as bride price to his would-be in laws in the presence of some of his relations. This was accompanied by some drinks, kola nuts and alligator pepper which the few people would enjoy. And the ceremony happily came to an end. Then, the woman would be escorted to the man’s house and they began to live as husband and wife. In yesterday’s marriage, there was no provision for pre-marital sex. The couple lived for each other as fidelity and contentment reigned supreme. Is it the same with today’s marriage that is fraught with frequent divorce, infidelity, muscle-flexing, suspicion, insubordination, love for materialism, pre-marital sex and others ?
Ijeoma, a public affairs analyst, wrote from Sapele, Delta State.