Modern societies have seen decadence manifesting in various ways not limited to just eroded moral values. Today, traditional and family values have been so compromised that they have thrown up higher levels and worse aspects of decadence.
Most often used to refer to a perceived decay in standards, decadence now manifests in morals, dignity, religious faith, or skill at governing among the members of the elite of a very large social structure, such as a state or a nation like Nigeria.
The politics and economy of any nation, most strategically, underpin the essence, existence and livewire of such a nation in such a way that when they get corrupted and suffer decay, it is not only the society malfunctions, but also growth and development are impaired.
In Nigeria, decadence defines the character and operations of many sectors, whether private or public. But especially in the public sector, entrenched interests have hijacked every system, ensuring that they function only to the extent that such systems work to their advantage.
In the past decade, there have been attempts by successive governments to carry out reforms in some sectors of the economy where corruption and other unethical practices have rendered whole institutions decadent and economically unviable.
Most of the reform efforts are not succeeding and it is easy to see why this is so. The entrenched interests in the system are beneficiaries of the way things are and so constitute themselves into anti-reform agents.
One government after another in Nigeria has tinkered with the idea of reforming the power sector, but electricity supply has remained epileptic, in spite of privatisation of the sector, holding down the whole economy which urgently needs stable power to function properly and optimally.
It is painful to note, as some analysts have observed, that the power problem persists partly because the generator mafia in the country, obviously because of pecuniary interest, has ensured that whatever reform that has been initiated and carried out does not work. Nigeria has spent billions of dollars trying to put life into its power sector and, curiously, the more effort is made, the deeper the decay in the sector such that achieving and stabilising 4,000 megawatts of electricity for 170 million people has remained a pipedream.
Again, for us, nothing could be more discomforting than a situation where a country that produces crude oil exports the crude, turns round to import petrol and goes a step further to subsidise the importation of the product. Corruption and those who profit from the decay in the oil and gas sector have ensured that the country’s oil refineries never work for the benefit of the rest of the citizens.
Both religion and moral rectitude preach against social vices, especially prostitution, yet it has become so widespread in Nigeria that it seems to have become an export trade. Regrettably, in some parts of Nigeria, some parents benefit from this decay by encouraging their daughters to go into prostitution outside the country in order to remit money to them, and this explains why many Nigerian girls are prostitutes in the various European capitals.
Private school proprietors are another clan of beneficiaries from the decadence in the country’s education sector through exploitation of parents who, left with no better alternatives, submit to the whims and caprices of school proprietors who provide education at twice the price and half the value.
It is worrisome that in spite of the deepening impact of decadence on various aspects of our national life, nothing seems to be done to stem the tide, hence our submission that time has come for the country to start dealing with these beneficiaries from our collective woes.
Time to say enough is enough is now because this country must not only grow, but also develop, and the first step is to reawaken and re-orientate all the anti-graft agencies, especially the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), give it more teeth and allow it to bite.
Moreover, as Nigerians are about electing new leaders, there must be that resolve in all of us to elect credible leaders and hold them to account if they fail to do that which they are supposed to do or do that which they are not supposed to do.