Yoruba Must Reestablish Its Values System Earlier To Curb Prodigals

Nigerians have turned into a case study of how money could turn a rich country into abject poverty. The worship of money and greed for more without knowing what to do with it has made Nigerians the laughingstock of fellow Africans. Yet, we glorify ourselves as the most educated, richest and successful Blacks in foreign land.

It is actually authenticated and used against other Blacks by those who never wished Africa well in the first place. What they hide in the success of Nigerians abroad is that to live the same “comfortable” life their colleagues enjoy; they have two or three jobs with little time left for anything else. Even students have full time jobs. Those who die in the struggle, lose their wives and children to the system are unknown and forgotten.

Yoruba must be guided by their Value System from birth like ORIKI. According to the Yoruba values system: The first and most important is Wisdom, understanding and knowledge that grows with age and maturity, in normal circumstances. Known as Lakaye, Ogbon and Oye. This is the reason elders are respected as keepers of their cultural values. The vast knowledge found in IFA are specialities of different subjects from Philosophy, Religion, Mathematics, Astrology, Geography etc., collaborated by vast historiography of the Elders.

The second, no less important, is Character and Integrity, without which, whatever you accumulate is devalued. It is known as Iwa Omoluabi. This is not peculiar to the Yoruba alone as others have virtues in their cultures too. American Warren Buffett claimed he looked for certain qualities in his employees like intelligence and energy but without integrity, he did not bother with the other qualities.

The third in Yoruba values system is Valor, Bravery and Selflessness of those that can lead in case of attack on the culture, land or a war. This is known as Balogum Akinkanju that takes orders from the Oba. People need Generals to lead an Army in the time of war. Cowards are detestable folks among Yoruba. Even if their most respected Oba misbehaved, he is shown the calabash to commit suicide by Oyo Mesi his Cabinet (before the medieval times).

There may be some variations on the other hierarchy ladder in the values system because of different circumstances and environment in villages, towns and cities founded away from home in Ile-Ife as a result of war, competition for titles with industrious sons and daughters. Even a loafer without visible means of livelihood known as Alapamasise, a shame in Yoruba, may feel entitled solely based on birth. But Yoruba cautioned that the way free children are born are born, so is a slave.

It must be noted here that there are important traditional family Crown, Honor or Glory by birth juggling for positions within or after these values. They do not guarantee success if values are not adhered to. It is the reason Yoruba noted that there are commoners that have risen to the position of a king and kings that have been captured in wars: Iwofa to di Oba, oba to di iwofa! This happened in the days of wars and in today’s climate of political economy.

But those who lack integrity are bypassed in favor of astute blood and kin that can bear the worthy weight of the crown, glory or honor. The honor or glory may be reflected in the names like Ade, Oba or Ola and more. It is not unusual for people to assume or reject the names they were born into. It does not make you an incumbent Oba or traditional Chief. Though someone in your lineage could have been so honored.

People desire honors these days and seek awards to crown the achievements that a loafer cannot bear or shoulder. Once you are crowned or honored, known as Ade, Iyii, Ola or Ola pronounced differently in Yoruba and those other values have been accomplished, you do not have to be wealthy or rich to earn respect. There is no need to break your neck on a journey seeking wealth, if you have already been blessed with honor. Indeed, these honors are richer or heavier than wealth. Since they are not for the highest bidder.

Unfortunately, there are those who want some of these Yoruba values system bestowed on them because they possess the last quality in the Values System, which is Money. So, if you already have any of the above values, you do not need money. The reason is, those with money use it to pursue one or more of the Yoruba Values System. The reason wealth in Yoruba Values System is subordinate to more important qualities expected of human beings.

We have to search our conscience and stop denying the fact that any means by which we get rich, justify the end. All the casualties in misery and abject poverty, our reckless journey for money created, will catch up with the next generation. No matter how we try to erase the evil deeds on the way to riches, the poor children would haunt the children of the rich and innocent poor at home and live disdainfully abroad as lower castes.

When General Gowon said money was not Nigeria’s problem but how to spend it. He could have been right if he was referring to money as the last in the Yoruba Values System. Usually, we want to make enough money for basic needs, savings for emergencies, school, retirement or old age. Paying for necessities like food, rent and other monthly bills first. What is left is discretionary income to blow. Nigeria, without discretionary income, blew off its basic needs.

However, Gowon was referring to the avalanche of Oil money that lured the Nigerian Market, into the most liberal market in the world. It was based on the euphoria of foreign income that gave us a false sense of security that we could import any junk we want including pins, pencils, used goods, and garbage from the high seas. Sadly, Nigerians laundered money recklessly outside as if they have discretionary income. By the time Shagari became the President, those who warned them on profligacy were pinpointed as Prophets of Doom.

Money does not have to be the root of all evil if we keep to our commitment to be well grounded within the system of check and balance. Most people use discretionary money to encourage goodwill while it is the temptation for others on how much they can push their power to control others. Problem starts when we accumulate additional money wondering what good or mischievous causes we can spend it on. General Gowon was right on the problem of how to spend unprecedented inflow of Oil Income after the 1972 Arab Oil Embargo.

Indeed, the values of reckless behavior to riches would only earn prodigal sons and daughters, mirrors and pretty printed papers, in exchange for gold and modern slaves. A fool and his money would not only part, they would not know the difference between printed papers and their valuable resources, talents and natural endowment.

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