The book, Our Collective Contribution To The Decadence In Nigeria, written by Christine Umoekereka, a Nigerian-born professional nurse based in Canada, is a clarion call to rescue our nation Nigeria from the vice grip of corruption, greed, leadership failure, resulting in the socio-political, religious and cultural crisis that are hampering her development, albeit through collective effort. Thus, this book is about hope for Nigeria. As the author notes reassuringly in the opening page with a short poem titled ‘NIGERIA WILL TRIUMPH AGAIN’: “The Nigerian glory can be re- stored if we / collectively think and act accordingly with / morals, love, kind- ness, towards one another, / our country, and towards developing the country. / TOGETHER WE CAN DO IT.” This insightful and analytical 195- page book, divided into 13 chapters, an introduction and conclusion, is without doubt inspired be the author’s desire for a greater Nigeria. It focuses on the Nigerian society, touching on the real issues facing us as a people and pointing at our character and the possible way to navigate out from our collective contribution to the decadence. “Over the years, I have listened to the yearnings of many people for a better Nigeria. I am one of them. While we have much work to do, this publication in varying divine ways our need for God’s intervention in the polity. This piece of literature is a sterling testament to our collective contributions and the thought-provoking, shared guilt that must be felt by all, but that ultimately might lead Nigeria to victory. When people are frustrated about a project or an enterprise, they champion it by applying Lean Methodology. This volume seeks to outline the collective blame – and therefore the collective realisation – that we all can play a part in fixing the rot,” the author notes in the introduction. All it needs is a change of attitude and commitment to doing the right things. The Family Systems is the focus of Chapter 1. And here, the place of the family as a critical part of development is brought to the fore. “There is no doubt that it is around the family and the home that all the greatest virtues… are created, strengthened and maintained.”
The above quote by for Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill, under- scores the significance of the family to the socio-cultural, economic, moral and political development of a nation. Notable American writer and the author of the 1976 book Roots: The Saga of an American Family, Alex Haley, also emphasised the importance of the fam- ily when he averred that, “In every con- ceivable manner, the family is link to our past, bridge to our future.” Thus, in Chapter 1, the author interro- gates the ‘Family Systems’ , noting that within the family unit, the interaction and socialisation patterns determine the mindsets in the process of growth, and stressing that “parental behavior has a strong effect on the social, cultur- al and psychological aspects of child development.” In Chapter 2, the author examines ‘Citizen Attitude Towards National De- velopment’, and posits that it’s time to challenge the status quo. “We can get started by a change in attitude of our inherent, nonchalant character,” she wrote. According to her, one of the major reasons Nigeria has fallen behind is due to the unpatriotic alignment of the citizens to national priority.
“Our fingers are all on government without realizing that we are collectively the government. Everybody is blaming the three tiers of government – the execu- tive, judiciary, and legislative… “Yes, our Nigerian government seems to have failed in terms of ac- countability and failure to provide a level playing field. Nonetheless, we collectively carry most of the blame in our various positions of trust.” Religion as an Influential Factor in Nigeria is the focus of Chapter 3. Reli- gion, according to the author, is basically a means of man’s transcendental union with the super-sensible realms. Thus, re- ligious practices in our society, she avers, “should provide us with worthwhile leg- acies: a mark to follow. Lessons learnt from our religion should encourage us to do well and promote love, tolerance, and the well-being of individuals, families, and the community.” Religion, she further stated, is meant to educate and lead us into doing what is right, noting, however, that preach- ing humanity, love, eternity, moral- ity, honesty, generosity, creativity and salvation is now secondary. She draws attention to religious intolerance and dangers of false religious teachings. Over-Centralisation of Power and Management of Public Funds are the focus of Chapters 4 and 5. Here, the au- thor exposes how the mismanagement of public funds and endemic corrup- tion has contributed to decadence in Nigeria. In Chapters 6, 7, and 8, the author interrogates how the Concept of Politi- cal Structure and Organisation in Nige- ria…’, lack of enabling environment for growth of industry and development, and selfish ambitions have also contrib- uted immensely to the moral decadence pervading the nation. In the succeeding chapters, the author also examines how political violence, ingratitude and discontent- ment, and accountability are also un- dermining national development, not- ing that our democracy won’t grow if political violence continues to happen unchecked.
“Let us all understand that selfish ambitions lead to the teaching of fables instead of truth, dishonest gains and exploitation,” she notes. No doubt, the book ‘Our Collective Contribution to the Decadence in Nige- ria’ is a call for action to save Nigeria collectively. “It is time for Nigerians to be healed, taking one step at a time each and ev- ery day. Eventually, the embezzlement of public funds and corruption will simmer in our nation. We must not al- low the selfish greed of one person or a group of cabals striving for luxuri- ous lifestyles to affect the rest of the nation.” This book connects all these in the light of hope that a new dawn will ap- pear in the fading horizon in Nigeria.