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Igbó!

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Dele Jegede In Conversation With Prince Yemisi Shyllon
Prof. Toyin Falola

By Toyin Falola

Kilode! 

Don’t say you won’t read this fine piece because it is about Igbó, alias Indian Hemp. I sympathize with the Indian, as the one I want to talk about is the original Nigerian hemp. I am not inviting you to smoke but to listen to Igbó songs. There is Igbó shirt, Igbó powder, Igbó babe, Igbó boss, Igbó cake, and orísirísi amugbó. All those for later. Today, it is about Igbó music. Well, you don’t smoke Igbó; you don’t inhale it, but you have probably danced to Igbó song. Play along with me. Plug in headsets to get some inspiration, you know, for something creative, and lyrics roll out until it gets to Burna Boy’s:

…I no holy and I no denge pose

Like Baba Fryo

My eye, oh, don cry, oh (my eye, oh)

(I need igbó and shayo) shayo

I need igbó and shayo (shayo)

I need igbó and shayo (shayo)

I need igbó and shayo (shayo)

     Shayo (shayo) shayo (shayo)                              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=421w1j87fEM

…. and it goes on and on. So, I decided to listen to something older, and 9ice “Ganja Man” rolled in…

Ganja Man

9ice

Give me the lighter, pass me the ganja

Quickly roll up the rizzler, let the smoke pump

Let the smoke pump ina air

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ei2zLQkuXzg

If you do not know, Igbó and Ganja mean the same thing: Cannabis. In one of his classics, the uniquely talented Orlando Owoh called it ewé ọlà—the plant of prosperity. And he saluted his famous dealer, Eléwé Ọlà. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nycp-qc8CI4. I have tried to sing this song unsuccessfully, but God has yet to create another vocalist with this baritone voice. I can do a soprano, but with Orlando, he can move, in verse, from tenor to countertenor. I am glad he has joined the Angels to sing for God—this way, there is no time to ask him about Ganja!

Igbó heats consciousness and captures the social music trends that probably meet the market demands in contemporary Nigeria or, in fact, the world. “I know so”, to use Fela’s phrase. Coming on the heels of advancements in information technology, particularly mass communication, music has been a major cultural export globally. In Nigeria, hip-hop has been a significant export in the last decades. Hip-hop has remained the most consumed music genre in Nigeria and the continent, with the youth being the predominant producers and consumers. So, the demand is increasing, so they try to conform to different market cultures obtainable, especially in Europe and America, including promoting nudity, social vices, and, most particularly, Igbó.

But before music became a commodity of exchange (to be consumed or exported), it was, and still is, first, an integral component and expression of cultures. Like other components of culture, music is flexible and permissive to external influences. In the dead past, promoting deviance was alien to Nigerian music. Seen as an integral part of the culture, the messages contained in music were targeted at social reforms, albeit with some exceptions. Well, the oldies also have their expressions of relaxation and shortfalls, but in what could be regarded as some sort of permissible silliness in those days, there was still some radiation of culture and didactics.

However, foreign music came with its foreign elements, part of which is the promotion of vices mostly found in American rap and trap music. The modern development of Nigerian pop music has been inextricably linked to the intercourse between American trap music and local acceptance. Interestingly, rap black music originates from the harsh socio-economic conditions of southern United States youths in the late 1990s to the early 2000s who slept and woke up in poverty, crime, and drugs. Music was, therefore, for them, a way to reflect and memorialize their street experiences, hustling, substance indulgence, and struggles in the neighbourhood. It is, therefore, unsurprising that the Nigerian variant, Nigerian hip hop, has thoroughly emulated its American influence. So the humble days of Oshodi Underbridge, Agege street lives, and other ghetto exposures have followed the same patterns and are reflected in Nigerian contemporary hip hops.

The glorification of drug abuse, particularly marijuana, and other vices in Nigerian music is a case in point.  Perhaps, a good way to understand the situation is to trace its history (not its development as discussed above) starting from the origination of Afrobeat as birthed by the iconic Fela Anikulapo Kuti. Well, a modern musician, Mr Real, has said, “K’òsí bí o ṣe fẹ́ fagbó, o lè fagbó tó Babá Felá,” meaning there is no way you would smoke marijuana, it cannot be as intensive as Fela did. On my recent visit to Allen in Ikeja, Lagos— the resting place of the Afrobeat legend and social activist — it was hard to imagine that Fela died more than twenty-five years ago.

Unlike the New Afrika Shrine, which bustles with a fusion of highlife, jazz, and Fela’s rebellious music in the evenings, the Allen community offers more calm as every sanctuary should, but one thing is apparent, Fela’s music and radical legacy permeate the length and breadth of the community in various dimensions, even announcing itself with the controversial headless statue of Fela which welcomes visitors into Allen Avenue from the Opebi corridor. No Shrine you reach.

This ubiquitous and enduring legacy is soothing, offering fond reminisces of Fela’s life and times, but we are presented with its ugly dimension—a case in point. Here, just like in the recesses of Agidingbi (home to the New Afrika Shrine), Allen has its fair share of psychedelics, more fashionably referred to as junkies or stoners, who justify their obsession as rebellion. As with most cultures that stay around long enough, marijuana obsession has found its way into Nigerian music, particularly the hip-hop and pop genre, which is the most popular in the country anyway.

While Fela’s lifestyle may have portrayed an addiction to marijuana, his songs were never about that life.  They were strictly socio-political commentaries and songs of rebellion against the status quo. Fela did reference marijuana in one of his songs (in the Expensive Shit album), but even in that instance, he was referring to an encounter with the police which necessitated him to hide the contraband by swallowing it. Yet, contemporary pop artists have decided to carry on the acts of the preacher with little or no attention to the message. Naira Marley rolls in, 

I just wanna marry Juana 

Please let me marry Juana 

Cannabis in the rizla, so high I can’t get higher

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cQ2I0HSWz-I

You will think Juana is a pretty woman!

Having established how the behavior came to be, it might be helpful to look at the motivations behind its continued existence. Here, three hypotheses could help us to understand why there is a growing use of marijuana content in these songs. First, as observed in its history, we see that reference to marijuana and other intoxicating substances furthers an existing culture. Despite being an imported phenomenon, its acceptance has morphed into a tradition—an inextricable component of pop culture. For this reason, artists refer to marijuana and its many other sister substances to keep up with the game’s culture. As more songs continue to romanticize the trend, substance addiction becomes mistaken as a form of radicalism when it is, in fact, nothing but a social vice.

Secondly, we find another motivation for the proliferation of marijuana music in the social organization of the Nigerian pop music industry itself. This reflection reveals that the “high life” nature of the industry promotes a disposition to social vices, particularly philandering, partying, and smoking different kinds of hard drugs. A third hypothesis posits that the continued use of marijuana content in Nigerian music is, in fact, a corollary to popular realities. In other words, pop songs are deliberately written to mirror popular trends. And since popular trends include drugs, deviance, and partying, these artists create space for these contents in their artworks to boost acceptance. Individually or in concert, these factors account for the growing inclusion of marijuana allusions in Nigerian songs. Burna Boy rolls in again …Say, how would you like to smoke some weed…gyal…

Today, Nigerian music is inundated with lyrics that directly and indirectly refer to marijuana. Marijuana has been referenced as an inspiration and a psychedelic tool of liberation from the many struggles that are ever so apparent in society, drawn from testimonies of those that found inspiration in Fela and Bob Marley. So, more than just a muse or a psychedelic drug, marijuana has become a buzzword for musicians and a symbol of deviance among the youth, who are the worst hit by the prevailing socioeconomic difficulties in the country. Fela and Bob Marley are still seen as revolutionaries, and probably some are deluding that marijuana must go with it.

For instance, when the former president of the United States, Barack Obama, shared his favourite songs of 2022, it was good news for Damini Ogulu (Burna Boy), who, for the second time running, had appeared on the ex-president’s music playlist. Burna Boy’s single, Last Last, from his Love, Damini album made the 23-song playlist, opening up many issues for discussion. In Last Last (the first song in the album), Burna Boy wasted no time introducing marijuana to his listeners. His first words, “shayo oh” and “Igbó oh,” both generic street names for marijuana and other intoxicating substances, were the perfect intro for the eventual chorus: “I need Igbó and shayo oh.” In the song, Damini narrates a recent heartbreak experience for which he takes solace in Igbó (marijuana) from the breakfast he was served. In this personal context, Burna Boy hoped to find solace in shayo to forget his pains.

Burna Boy’s Last Last is not a one-off ode to the magical cannabis plant. In 2011, he released a song titled “Rizla,” with lyrics like: “Pass me the rizla/ Make I roll up the ginger/ Cause them no get e liver.” Afeez Fashola (Naira Marley) was even more direct with his marijuana connotation in his song “Marry Juana.” The song opens with a hook: “I just wanna marry Juana/ Please let me marry Juana/ Cannabis in the rizla/ so high I can’t get higher.” In Party No Dey Stop, Adekunle Kosoko (Adekunle Gold) and Azez Oniyide (Zinoleesky) offer the most subtle reference to marijuana with the expression “Olúwé máwé.”

Apart from the undeniable influences of foreign music, marijuana as a theme in Nigerian music is not recent. Marijuana allusions could be found in oldies like Dr Orlando Owoh’s Iye Mi Mabinu. In this song, the late musical genius apologizes to his mother for indulging in marijuana smoking using his native Owo dialect with the lyrics: “Iyemi má bìnú pé mo sáìgbó.”

Marijuana songs in Nigeria indicate more than an obsession with the cannabis plant; it presents a bigger problem, including the abuse of drugs of different kinds. In the dark world of hard drugs in Nigeria, drugs like cocaine, coke, and heroin have been joined by Crystal meth, Ecstasy, and Codeine. I must not forget what is trending now: Colos. 

The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency is unable to win its war, as the drug market continues to grow, further deepening existing addictions and inducting new addicts. At the crescendo of the drug abuse crisis, popular hip hop artiste Olamide Adedeji (Olamide) dropped a single titled “Science Student,” where he glamorized the use of different drugs by referring to it as a scientific process of mixing chemicals to concoct a solution. For instance, the chorus starts with “Wọ́n ti po omi gutter pọ̀/ Ojú ti dirty/ Wọ́n ti po chemical pọ̀/ Àwọn ọmọ science students.” In a more direct reference, he says, “Tramadol lò ńmu bí tonic water yí.” 

Interestingly, the over-the-counter sale of Tramadol has been banned by regulatory agencies following the excessive abuse of the opiate analgesic. The sales and access to marijuana for recreational use or abuse are under supposed strong control and ban. What remains uncertain, however, is whether the enforcement efforts of the regulatory agencies are matched by music censorship boards, considering the degree of unfettered obscenities in contemporary music. Increasingly, substance use is being glamorized and has gotten to the point where the consumption of these drugs has become normalized as the “vogue.”

The impact of music in shaping social behaviour is well-founded. It is not surprising that cannabis has remained the most consumed hard drug in Nigeria. As more songs join the fray in glamorizing substance abuse, these teeming listeners try to emulate the artists and characters in these music videos. And like most vices, marijuana abuse does not exist in a vacuum but in association with other vices. Hence, the need to address the menace before it becomes a bane.

As you smoke up this piece, do not take me for character judge. In understanding the comfort people get from smoking, one must draw the line based on illegality, health, and addiction. However, the efforts of the regulatory agency are like pouring water into the ocean if social characters are excessively fueling what they intend to regulate. Daddy GO, Igbó and the songs around it are here to stay. I heard one of them at the Camp!

Lobatan!

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Opinion

Sabelo Ndlovu-Gatsheni: A Relentless Intellectual Warrior

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Dele Jegede In Conversation With Prince Yemisi Shyllon
Prof. Toyin Falola

By Toyin Falola

Anthropological insights into human activities in this jungle called the world have illuminated our understanding that the act of bravery, at some point in time, is demonstrated in an individual’s (or animal’s) ability to exert a destructive influence on the other forms of life that threaten their life and existence. This concept of bravery, coupled with knowledge, is particularly significant in the context of African intellectual history. From foraging in the wild to get maximum consumables and remain at the top of the food chain to facing daring ecological conditions that demand adaptive and coping strategies for survival, acts of bravery are demonstrated in different capacities based on the realities of the time.

Today, humans have successfully confronted these challenges, thanks to the emergence of strong individuals when the world needed them the most. Interestingly, in periods preceding “the age of reason,” these knowledgeable individuals were also considered brave, although they often received less recognition than their physically strong counterparts. However, every phase of the human journey requires the intelligence of such individuals to overcome its inherent challenges. In the current age, not only has it become an incredible mark of bravery to be knowledgeable, but it has also become a sole indicator of serious and uncompromising individuals.

While some people possess knowledge that could potentially save the world, it takes a special kind of courage to share this knowledge, especially when doing so might put one’s safety at risk. Fela Kuti’s poignant observation that many Africans shy away from confronting oppressive forces due to fear of death rings true. To be knowledgeable and to boldly speak the truth, regardless of the circumstances, is a mark of true bravery. It is a height that Fela believed was difficult for the average African to reach. Sabelo Ndlovu-Gatsheni, however, exemplifies this kind of bravery, inspiring others to follow suit.

Due to their adjacent position to the global power economy, academic institutions have become laboratories for intellectual experiments where ideas are manufactured and configured to satisfy preconceived desires. The African individual comes into such institutions, which are genealogically linked to Western epistemic foundations, and becomes Westernized or Europeanized to the extent that they lose their cultural identity as a matter of rational thought generation and self-awareness. The profound impact of these Western epistemic foundations on African identity is undeniable. Consequently, their thinking appears anti-African because the resources or their thinking are not extracted from their indigenous epistemic foundations. This leads to a civilization identity that alienates them completely from global calculations and misleads them to believe atrocious things about themselves.

As such, the average African who argues for the appropriation of most Western ideas in advancing their collective aspirations believes erroneously that these contributions are the best things to happen to the continent, not realizing they are merely expressing Western ideas and ideals through an African lens. Sabelo Ndlovu-Gatsheni recognized this early enough and deployed his intellectual arsenal to challenge the establishment, earning him the reputation of an intellectual warrior who is relentless and bold. His consistent efforts to reclaim the African mind from the encampment of its usurpers demonstrate his commitment to the collective emancipation of Black people. While he is not the first to undertake such a mission, it is reassuring to find such an illuminating mind in an age when the tendency to show confidence in this fight has continued to dwindle.

Before launching his intellectual crusade against the political complexities that have long dominated African leadership, Ndlovu-Gatsheni made remarkable efforts to confront African educational institutions, which have become leviathans that everyone is afraid of. Remarkably, his efforts are yielding incredible results. Ndlovu-Gatsheni launched himself into decades-long research engagements and has discovered that any true emancipation of Africans and Africa must begin by repositioning their epistemic values and traditions. He believes that repudiating the knowledge methods inscribed by Western ideologues is necessary and pivotal for delinking the African thought system from Western programming.

To become that vocal against a system inherited from racist imperialists can make an individual a target for attacks that will undermine their relevance, especially economic relevance. Historians would agree that individuals who verbally challenge institutions and establishments that exploit people’s resources–intellectual, social, political, economic and philosophical–often face the wrath of these establishments. Despite these risks, Sabelo remains unwavering in his determination to liberate the continent from the unseen hands holding Africa’s epistemic inheritance hostage, earning him the admiration of those committed to this emancipatory assignment.

When examining African universities, one might wonder if there are inferior intellectual resources there that have made it impossible to disengage the students’ thoughts from Westernized imaginations that make them perpetually loaded with self-hate. This intellectual of inestimable value has consistently argued that capitalists’ aspirations extend far beyond the commercialization of material resources. He predicted early on that capitalists are afflicted by insidious diseases that are difficult to cure. Their understanding that they could extend their corporate reach into people’s educational systems reveals their deep commitment to commercializing everything, including knowledge. The infiltration of capitalist ideology into the continent’s knowledge system has brought the people to a level where they cannot compete with others for several reasons.

Primarily, the commercialization of education has created a division among its consumers, where one group can afford it because of their better economic conditions, and others cannot, owing to poverty and indigence. Meanwhile, the privileged few who have access to education are themselves beneficiaries of the skewed systems that have operated on the continent for ages. To reach this level, it is apparent that the future of the continent is perpetually challenged by contemporary capitalist greed. Therefore, it is reassuring to see someone like Ndlovu-Gatsheni dedicating his energy and zeal to addressing this problem with the hope of genuinely bringing about true change for the African people.

Africa desperately needs the liberation that Sabelo advocates for, as that would eventually bring about the structuration of their political, social, economic, epistemic and philosophical identities in ways that are beneficial to the people. One remarkable aspect of his bravery is that he minces no words when addressing issues that he believes need immediate intervention. He is adept at connecting the dots that might seem obscure to others, an ingenious ability that highlights his intelligent mind. The fact that he articulates these connections without hesitation underscores his compelling qualities.

Global right-wing ideologues are critical of anything that obstructs their hegemonic politicking and will stop at nothing to achieve their goals. The proliferation of wars and the relentless pursuit of capitalist aspirations at the detriment of global peace and stability reveal how irredeemable their conscience is in the scheme of things. Their desperation is evident in their willingness to pursue their devious ambition, regardless of the detrimental impact on global peace. Meanwhile, they continue to enjoy tremendous support because many people are unaware of the connections between them and the numerous attacks occurring in different parts of the world. Ndlovu-Gatsheni serves as the conscience and the consciousness for a large population of the subalterns–those who are unassuming and unaware of the hegemon’s eroding power and its destructive escapades in the human world.

From real-life events to various unpopular places, these conservative groups have consistently challenged the fact that others can muster the confidence to call them out or stand up against their exploitative aspirations. They vehemently oppose anything that comes in the colour of freedom, to the extent that they demonized Negritude, attacked decolonization, and challenged any effort that could threaten their overlordship position. Nothing further proves the emancipatory potential of these movements, marked for destruction and despoliation, than the restless efforts of the hegemons to destroy them. They believe that global power dynamics should always favour them, to the detriment of numerous innocent people across the globe. They are quick to denounce others, attributing all manner of inconceivable and demeaning atrocities to them. Without confronting this mammoth of a monster through epistemic reorientation and reinvention, it will remain ultimately difficult, if not impossible, to achieve the emancipation of the African people.

In his academic trajectory, Ndlovu-Gatsheni has established himself as a tireless leader who continues to anchor the academic safety and political wellness of the continent through his mind-blowing engagements. He demonstrated the necessity of combating these problems starting from the university, the central power point where Africans can reclaim maximum intellectual resources to elevate themselves after liberation and freedom.

PS: This piece was composed at UNISA. I thank Stevens Mohapi for his care and affection.

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Opinion

Modelling Success: Dr Adedeji Adeleke And Adeleke University

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Dele Jegede In Conversation With Prince Yemisi Shyllon
Prof. Toyin Falola

By Toyin Falola

Success is a broad concept that has been widely researched and discussed for many years. While there is no specific formula for achieving success, certain principles are commonly observed among individuals deemed to be successful. Success transcends mere material wealth or professional achievements; it is a phenomenon shaped by intrinsic belief, goal setting, dignity, and respect for divine will. Dr. Adedeji Adeleke, a Nigerian businessman and philanthropist, exemplifies the principles of success through his life and impact on individual and societal growth and development, serving as a beacon of inspiration to many and reflecting these values through his accomplishments.

Success is believing in one’s capabilities and potential. Successful people have an innate sense of self-efficacy, confidently believing in their ability to take actions that will lead to the attainment of set goals. Such a belief is a powerful source of motivation, as it pushes one to remain consistent even in the face of adversity and to approach tasks proactively and with a positive outlook. Successful people also understand the significance of setting clear, specific, and attainable goals.

It is worth noting that while the path to success is often super-frustrating and challenging, it is achievable with well-defined goals and persistent efforts. As such, one must continually aim forward, transition step by step, and ultimately weave together a remarkable success story through various engagements by preparing detailed actions that translate into bigger ambitions. The journey to success begins with unwavering self-belief, which is not merely about confidence; rather, it is a deep-rooted conviction in one’s ability to achieve their dreams. This resilience is required to face life’s ups and downs with a positive mindset, seeing opportunities where others see obstacles.

Success is not only due to human will and actions but is also influenced by environmental factors that can pose significant challenges. These factors can become potential stumbling blocks if the individual does not believe in the power of their dreams. Dr. Adeleke’s story is indeed one of belief in self and in the guiding influence of divine will. Despite the numerous challenges he encountered on his way to achieving his set goals, he believed in himself and his immense potential, also trusting in the divine purpose for his life. This propelled him forward, enabling him to build a legacy that cuts across different areas, including education, business, and philanthropy.

Accepting divine will means a careful, responsible acceptance without succumbing to extraneous rules or laws that rob us of our confidence and authenticity. This perspective fosters humility and gratitude and an acknowledgement that our achievements are not solely ours but are also gifts and opportunities that come from a higher source. Dr. Adeleke exemplifies humility and a powerful sense of purpose. Despite his immense success, he remains grounded and attributes his accomplishments to divine guidance.

His philanthropic efforts include huge contributions to education and community development, demonstrating his commitment to giving back and serving the greater good. Dr. Adeleke’s story indicates that true success is a harmonious blend of self-belief, goal setting, and submission to a higher purpose. It is about striving for excellence while remaining humble and purposeful.

From Dr. Adeleke, we learn that the idea of success is personal and varies from individual to individual. It is not defined by societal standards or criteria but by one’s own goals and values. Through inspired actions, individuals can realise that success is achievable for anyone who believes in themselves, sets clear goals, and respects divine will. Modelling success requires more than ambition and hard work; it involves an inherent belief in oneself, discipline in setting and pursuing goals, and a humble recognition of the divine influences in our lives. Dr. Adeleke’s life is a testimony to this whole process of success, demonstrating that success is both an internal and external journey.

Dr. Adeleke exemplifies that success is achieved through belief, goal-setting goals, and respect for divine will. He has shown that his achievements stem not merely from external factors but from nurtured internal qualities. For everyone to be successful, they must follow these prescripts and approach their goals with belief, intention, and reverence toward the divine. Belief provides the motivation, while goal setting charts the course. Goals, when clear and well-defined, act as a blueprint and a guiding light, directing actions and decisions and making the path to success easier. Goals break down the seemingly insurmountable journey into manageable steps, making the path to success more navigable.

Remarkably, Dr. Adeleke’s success in business and life is proof of his strategic mindset and commitment to setting goals. His achievements with Adeleke University and other ventures illustrate how his endeavours have successfully evolved through effective planning. Milestones play a crucial role in goal planning and maintaining focus, and Dr. Adeleke’s invaluable achievements in different spheres of life epitomise that setting realistic goals and pursuing them with dedication and hard work yields significant rewards.

 

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Opinion

Sogolo’s Moral Values And Social Change In Nigeria (5)

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Readers’ Showers Of Encouragement
Prof. Tony Afejuku

By Tony Afejuku

Our reading of Professor Godwin Sogolo’s mature opinions on our moral values and human situation in general terminates today.

Read it!

Moral Imperatives of the 4TH Industrial Revolution (4IR)

The 4th Industrial Revolution is already transforming the way we live, work, and interact. One of the key areas in which moral values will have a significant impact is in the development and implementation of emerging technologies – artificial intelligence, automation, big data analytics, genetic engineering, etc. These technologies have the potential to revolutionise industries and societies, for good! But, they also raise complex ethical dilemmas and challenges. For example, the fear is that the widespread use of artificial intelligence and automation in the workplace would lead to job displacement and economic inequality. While these technologies have the potential to increase productivity and efficiency, they also have implications for workers’ rights, fair distribution of wealth, and human dignity. Moral considerations for justice, equality, and respect for human rights must be the guiding principles in the development and deployment of the new technologies. 

Furthermore, the collection and analysis of massive amounts of personal data raise concerns about privacy, consent, and the potential for surveillance and manipulation. Moral values such as privacy, autonomy, and informed consent are essential in ensuring the protection of individuals’ rights and freedoms in the digital age. As technologies continue to advance, it is important to consider the implications they have for our value systems, and to address potential ethical dilemmas before they become widespread. That assessment falls within the purview of the humanities in general, and philosophy in particular.

Another important function of moral values in the 4th Industrial Revolution is to address the socio-economic implications of the new technologies on employment, income inequality and social cohesion. Moral values such as compassion, solidarity, social justice, etc., are essential in ensuring that the benefits of the emerging technological progress are shared equitably, and that vulnerable populations are not left behind.

The 4th Industrial Revolution has the potential of either exacerbating or mitigating the ecological challenges that we currently face, depending on the strength of our moral values and the decisions and actions of individuals, groups, businesses, governments, etc., in connection with the issues of environmental sustainability. Technologies relating to renewable energy, smart grids and circular economic models offer promising solutions. But, they require a commitment to moral values such as environmental stewardship, intergenerational responsibility and sustainability. It is important to prioritise these values so as to minimize the negative environmental impact of the new technological advancements in furtherance of sustainable development.

In adapting to the new technologies, we must bear in mind that moral values also guide issues relating to personal ethics and the well-being of the individual. The constant connectivity, information overload, and digital distractions that come with the 4th Industrial Revolution pose serious challenges to the issue of personal identity and mental health of the individuals in matters of inter-personal relationships and group interactions. We need to develop faith and confidence that the human ingenuity that created the new technologies is also able to devise means of controlling its negative consequences. For instance, if you ask ChatGPT to provide information on how to prepare a nuclear bomb, the response will be that it cannot help because it is dangerous and illegal. That is how values can assist in controlling the negative and disastrous effects of the new technologies. What the people need are moral values such as empathy, compassion, mindfulness and digital responsibility, essential for cultivating a healthy and balanced digital life that puts premium on the collective interest.

Finally, although I have emphasized the role of Philosophy in this discussion, I must add that other disciplines in the humanities also have their unique roles to play in the 4th Industrial Revolution: the classical studies and history can provide models of  personalities, social institutions and historical events that have propelled human civilisations in the past: linguistics and the languages perform communicative functions that give the individual an understanding of human relations and the working of social institutions, while the creative, visual and performing arts recreate human models, personalities and events, both real or unreal, thereby informing and inspiring the people. And, of course, the discipline of religious studies helps the individual in coping with the vicissitudes of our confusing world, further complicated by the flux of unending changes.  Together, the humanities are designed to prepare the individual to understand, control and adapt to the new changes. Already, Western nations, led by the United States of America and some European nations, have shown the moral and political will by working together on ways of controlling and adjusting to the changes that will accompany the 4th Industrial Revolution. Very recently, the American President, Joe Biden, announced a joint project with Microsoft to setup an AI control Centre in the US. Africa, especially Nigeria, cannot afford to miss out, again, on the journey of moving to the next level.

Conclusion

Historical antecedents, years of bad governance, misplaced values and ill-conceived education system, have led to a state of moral crisis in Nigeria. The social ills have had the most severe impact on Nigerian youths who, today, lack the moral foundation needed to transform the animal (Aristotle’s tabula rasa) into a human person. Not only is a large proportion of our youths denied access to basic education, the few that are lucky to have access, have been taught nothing but techniques that are bereft of positive moral values and integrity. It is obvious that Nigerian youths are ill-prepared for the arduous and compelling demands of a changing world. Surely, there is an urgent need for  retooling  our educational curricula, with emphasis on the inculcation of moral values in our youths, to save the nation from descending into the Hobbesian state of nature, anarchy  and more importantly, to enable our society to  keep pace with the changes that are coming with the 4th Industrial Revolution.

Concluded.

Afejuku can be reached on 

08055213059.

 

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