National Ethics: Meaning And Reasons For Ethical Orientation In Nigeria

Ethics involves the law of morality and rules of rightness and wrongness of man’s conduct and “the ideals towards which man is working”. Appadorai (1978) posited that Ethics generally concerns itself with the questions like:

1. What is the basis of moral obligation?
2. What do we mean by right action?
3. How are we to distinguish a right action from a wrong one.

Morals as a component of ethics relates particularly to private conducts and personal habits. While morality within the context of ethics concerns the general scheme of conduct which suggests that which is good for all.

In other words, morality can be said to consist of principles and conceptions of what is right and good for every one within a particular society in which human beings live together and engage in social relations.

Morality is a general value related scheme of operation.

Ibanga (In 1996) assert that private good conduct and morality do pursue certain values like peace, security and happiness.

Following the above explanations of morals and morality as component of ethics, National ethics in a broad perspective can be said to be the law of morality and rules of conducts which are generally observed by members of a particular nation-state like Nigeria which do pursue certain values like peace, security and happiness as it plays its complementary role to law in regulating social relations.

It is within this understanding that section 23 of the 1999 constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria provided that National ethics shall include; discipline, integrity, dignity of labour, social justice, religious tolerance, self-reliance and patriotism.

Also, Loyalty, honesty, cleanliness, obedience and respect for elders and frugality are associated with National Ethics. When an individual violates the above values, it could be describe as unethical.

Reasons For Ethical Orientation In Nigeria

The National ethical orientation is aimed at cultivation and practice of:

1. Discipline

What we mean by discipline here is not to punish, chastise, chasten, indoctrination, enforcement of rules and rigour rather we used it to denote the very essence of civilized behaviour and characterizing a style of living which distinguish human society from the life of the jungle.

Within this context discipline is shown in the habit of self-control, moderation, modesty and respect for legitimate authority.

2. Honesty

This involves being fair and just, not cheating or stealing, free from deceit and untruthfulness, sincere.

3. Regard And Concern For The Interest Of Others

This involves not being selfish, being tolerant, humane, courtesy, good neighbourliness and showing the spirit of sportsmanship in every context.

4. Justice

This implies that justice must be done in every case, like cases should be treated alike, there should be fairness in one’s personal dealings with others and equitable distribution of social amenities, goods and services.

Settlement of disputes in and outside the law courts should be done in such as way that, there is justice for the accused, justice for the victim, and justice for the society.

5. Right Attitude To Work

This according to Eluwa and Ogunna (In 1986) include: punctuality and regularity to work, devotion to duty, co-operation (getting along with others) service and dignity of labour.

6. Courage

This involves ability to disregard fear, being brave and it include physical courage, moral courage and spiritual courage.

7. National Consciousness

This manifest itself in consolidating the unity of our people and to live in harmony as one indivisible and indissoluble sovereign Nation under God; having a sense of belonging and spirit of patriotism to our fatherland, being loyal to the constituted authority.

Unethical Practices In Nigeria

1. Lack Of Sincerity Among Our Leaders

They do not follow the line of good leadership that would enhance National development, rather they have continuously engaged themselves in wild and unpatriotic adventure of looting and plundering of the Nations economic resources.

They arrogantly involve themselves in waste, squandermania, and indiscipline, life of flamboyance and ostentation, and neglect of the suffering masses. There is inept, purposeless and insensitive leadership in Nigeria.

2. Corruption

Corruption at all levels of our National life has been a bane to National development. Corruption manifest itself in the habit of mismanagement of resources, bribery, election rigging, lack of fair play, injustice among others.

3. Indiscipline

This involves lack of civilized behaviour, violence, riot, unrest, lack of self-control, modesty and disrespect to constituted authorities.

4. Ethnicity/Tribalism

Since the various sections of the Nigerian society are culturally differentiated consensus is a remote possibility, the subordinate sections do not accord equal value and legitimacy to the preservation of the hierarchic pattern.

Different ethic groups that make up Nigeria do emphasize the consciousness of unity among its ethnic people, rather than consciousness of unity among the people of Nigeria as a whole without prejudice to ethnic groups.

5. Lack Of Patriotism

Many Citizens are not devoted and ready to defend the country, while some go for brain drain in Europe, America and Asia continent, some sabotage the economy by printing fake currencies, blow pipeline and cause oil spillage, peddle hard drugs being truant at work and cause production to be at low capacity, evade taxes, engage in smuggling through the Air and Sea ports, produce and trade on fake drugs among other crimes against the state. Hence, Nigerian economy is in a collapsed state.

6. Lack Of Sense Of Loyalty To The Father Land

There are many cases of disrespect for constituted authorities, National flag and symbols. Worst still is that people do not obey the law and there is abuse of power by those in authority.

There is lack of respect for culture, religion in tolerance between the Christians and Muslim faith has led to disorderliness, riots and unwanted destruction of lives and property among many other acts of disobedience to the law, and rule of morality in our society.