‘’The downfall of the family unit in society is one of the most tragic things facing mankind. ‘’The destruction of the family unit all begins with the destruction of what starts a family – the marriage of a man and a woman.’’ Why?  This is evidently because the institution of marriage and family is generally not held in the esteem that God meant for it to be!’’ — Jonathan L. Perz (2008)

 THE FIRST CREATION: The family was God’s first institution. Over the years, modernization has drawn family values and virtues towards precipice. It is feared that if the situation persists with the reckless pattern of its rapid desecration of values and virtues, the whole world may not too long from now witness crises in unimaginable proportions. The Declaration by God that instituted marriage relationship designed the family unit. According to Jonathan L. Perz  (2008) the downfall of the family unit in society is one of the most tragic things facing mankind. ‘’The destruction of the family unit all begins with the destruction of what starts a family – the marriage of a man and a woman.’’ Why?  ‘’This is evidently because the institution of marriage and family is generally not held in the esteem that God meant for it to be!’’

 There is hardly an observer of global developments, who is not worried about security situations. Africa is noted as an arena of some of the most senseless and vicious conflicts. It is such a worrisome development that experts in security and development matters have cautioned that there can be no development in societies enveloped by crises. We are quick to point accusing fingers at government and law enforcement agencies for the social and criminal ills that have become monumental concerns globally. But we have failed to look inwards to examine ourselves individually and collectively to see our naked complicity – all of us in and out of government.

One of the mandates of TERRIFIC HEADLINES and its associate channels is the promotion of peace and peaceful conduct, even beyond the shores of Nigeria. We have always preached against all forms of violence, particularly those that form the bedrock of man’s inhumanity to man. Even the Holy Books talk about violence and spiritual wickedness in high places. Largely, the society breeds what it inputs into the society by way of bringing up the young ones which is why we have constantly advocated huge attention to family values and virtues. It is easier to destroy than to build. Those security breaches recorded all over the world are the results of several issues including parental and institutional failures, as well as societal influences. We are quick to argue that the level of insecurity is negligible in the developed world without necessarily considering how we have individually been disastrous failures in our contributions to nation-building by fulfilling our obligations to our societies.

Perpetrators of criminal acts are no principalities, and are, therefore, not unknown to the citizenry where they reside. They reside among the sane ones. Security agencies might have their inadequacies. But how many people have assisted security agencies to invite attention to strange developments around them before the devil strikes? Abroad, your neighbour reports you if he/she suspects any strange behaviour.  Not many people know that Family Values forms part of the Sustainable Development Goals. A publication of the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs states that: ‘’Across the 2030 Development Agenda, only family planning and family farming are explicitly mentioned. However, there are also a number of indirect references to families, family members and family policymaking throughout the Agenda, for instance in formulations like: ensuring healthy lives and promoting of well-being for all at all ages or promoting of shared responsibility within the household and the family as nationally appropriate. It is then clear that the very achievement of many sustainable development goals and targets would benefit from a number of explicit and implicit family policies and programmes.’’

PROMOTING PARENTING EDUCATION A summary of proceedings on Family Values published by the UN Department of Economic & Social Affairs (2016) points out that: Promoting parenting education can also help but it is often difficult to further it as it is often presented as preventing negative outcomes. Although from a behind the scenes policy perspective we can recognize the need for violence prevention, it may not be advisable to put that as a public face of the actual prevention programmes. Framing parenting education as positive parenting has a good potential. Paternal involvement Involved fatherhood has undisputed benefits for children, mothers and fathers in families. Children who are involved with their fathers benefit psychologically, socially, behaviorally, economically. They have better IQs and better school-readiness outcomes. The benefits extend later in life, with lower school truancy and incarceration rates.

It continues:  Women also benefit from involved partners, as they are able to participate more in labour force and are helped in the household work. Involved fathers themselves report higher levels of happiness; display less risky behavior and are more involved in community life. Some research also indicates that highly involved fathers are more productive and even live longer. However, around the world, there are some barriers to involved fatherhood. Gender roles and cultural norms may impede men’s participation in family life. For instance, limiting the role of men to breadwinning only maybe one of them. Being able to provide financially may be seen as a requirement to access the children, which, in turn, maybe a barrier for low-income, non-custodial fathers.

OUR PROGENITORS: Our progenitors nurtured high moral standards that they developed and passed on to their children and wards. They brought us up with the hope that those salient values and virtues imparted to us would be passed on to even generations yet unborn. It is true that Government has a key role to play with regard to moderating the polity. But it is not only government that should be held responsible. Many parents are irresponsible and cannot manage their homes. There is also the problem of foreign influence. For major events happening in Africa, many people prefer to rely on foreign news organizations as the credible sources. It is important that we discuss our changing social, economic and political circumstances in order to reconcile all opposing interests and assuage our various feelings.  And it seems to me that we could commence this process from our individual homes.  And as highlighted by a great proponent of family values, Elder Felix Ohiwerei,  it is never too late for any parent, no matter how old, to get closer to the children or even grandchildren. Ohiwerei asserts that: ‘’What we are saying is that we cannot be too busy to take care of our families.  We must pay attention to our families, to our children. ‘’Any nation that neglects its children is destroying its future.’’

EFFECTS OF WESTERN CIVILIZATION: It is a matter for regrets that the very rich cultural heritage of the black race has over the years been eroded by foreign norms and cultures through the invasion of our airwaves by the foreign media which transmit programmes that negate our values and customs. The influence of Western media on the Third World is dangerously making our young people lose their virtues, values and societal norms; only to be replaced by the cultural scenes they view on incursive programmes shown on foreign media. The impact on youth in Africa by foreign media values is evident in dress styles with implications of changes in behaviour, morals and aspirations.  Even adults are getting caught in the web of civilization. The family is a microcosm of an organized setting. Family units are responsible for the advancements of all societies.

A Nigerian expert in Mass Communications, late Prof. Alfred Opubor argued that: “Africa has been the victim of other peoples’ information domination. ‘’Historically, Africa’s image in the world has been largely managed by non-African interests and institutions. ‘’Those who had the means to create powerful channels to disseminate information widely, had pre-empted the definition of what was good, what was right, what was important, and what was civilized. In general, even the achievements in science, in art and culture that were African in origin or inspiration, were often attributed to others, because their provenance was obscured in Africa’s inability to proclaim its stake. ‘’Through literature, visual arts, the mass media, and popular culture, the agenda of world discourse has been hijacked by other cultures and peoples for a long time.’’ 

PROACTIVE & REACTIVE STRATEGIES AS SECONDARY OPTION: There is hardly any observer who is not worried about the social environment and negativities on the upbringing of our youth; and corrosive influence on adults too, these days of Globalization, which makes social and criminal vices to borderless. In large measures, the society shares the faults of the collective rot in the social systems. Parents no longer pay the desirable/adequate attention to the development of the child. Organizations that exist to build and shape character/personalities appear to be helpless; and are, in many cases, involved in messy situations and are guilty of dereliction of duty. In truth, the task of monitoring youth and societal development is the responsibility of all, including organizations and people charged with parental responsibilities. Government alone cannot salvage the situation. Available statistics reveal that 61 percent of websites on the Internet are pornographic sites, which make them easily available to anyone.

MORAL RECTITUDE – PREVENTIVE ABOVE REACTIVE STRATEGIES: The foregoing shows conclusively that there is widespread moral decadence that has eaten into the very fabrics of the society. All over the world, Governments, parents and organizations with parental responsibilities have not lived up to expectations. The global community is in bad shape. The solutions warrant and command greater attention if humanity is not to be wiped out as a result of these dangerous developments. We must return to the basics to reform our society. It is to be noted that: The impact of indecent conducts on youths has implications of changes in behaviour, morals and aspirations are worrisome.  Those ways of like that now make our young male children weave and braid their hair and wear ear-rings are alien to our culture. Where did they imbibe the idea? Unless adequate attention is accorded the need to halt or curtail indecent acts, the global community may soon witness an unmanageable upsurge in social vices, as well as the erosion of our common virtues handed down by our progenitors.

HOW TO DESTROY A CHILD’S FUTURE:  Dr. DK Olukoya, General Overseer of the Mountain of Fire & Miracles Ministries in one of his sermons alerted that: What many of us are doing is unconsciously breeding a generation that is left in the hands of houseboys and house girls most of the time, in the hands of teachers part of the time and in the hands of their parents very little of the time. Who is best placed to bring up a child, if not the parents? So, we have to go back to basics. Parents must have time for their family and bring up the children the way they should go. But do parents, these days actually know which way they should go or the right things? If they are taught the way they should go, the way and fear of the Lord, right from childhood, then we will produce a good society and good leaders, who would work according to the principle of God. You either leave your children in the hands of nannies and cooks and they develop nanny and cook mentality, or you spend time with them and bring them up the way they should go. The problem with man is that man tries to do things his own way; man likes to strive, to put in efforts. But God has always given man a simple and better way. He says we should first seek his kingdom and righteousness and every other thing will be added unto us.

COUPLES AS THE MOST CRITICAL FACTOR:   Couples are the most important factor in the drive to arresting all condemnable practices. A United States-based preacher and writer, Jonathan L. Perz attributes the erosion of values to: selfishness, which he says is ‘’the biggest destroyer of marriages. ‘’In turn, the family unit has for the most part come to mean nothing. Children in turmoil and confusion are the consequences of such thinking. ‘’They get wrapped up in a vicious cycle of broken homes that only they can choose to break. That is, the average child of a divorced couple will inevitably divorce unless they consciously and determinably, choose not to fall prey to the same thing their parents did.’’ This is shameful!  God desired these things for the family. ‘’Because the LORD has been witness between you and the wife of your youth, with whom you have dealt treacherously; yet she is your companion and your wife by covenant.  But did He not make them one, having a remnant of the Spirit? And why one?   He seeks godly offspring. Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously with the wife of his youth.’’

 MENTORING SILENT HEROINES: Liberia made history by electing as President the immediate past president of the Republic of Liberia, Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. The 81-year-old woman has evidently stamped her name in the pages of history, having won the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize as a champion for women’s rights. I checked through her records and discovered that Johnson Sirleaf has been a real political activist who has paid her dues, Another personality and silent heroine around is retd Rear Admiral Itunu Hotonu, the first female regular combatant Officer in Africa, who in her active service years in the Nigerian Navy distinguished herself on account of her high buoyancy, courage, and ability to ride on storms alongside her male counterparts in the military. She probably could have successfully headed the Nigerian Navy, if it was her turn by promotion/appointment; and the Commander-in-Chief so wished. The success story of Hotonu and her impressive credentials is worth reading. She was advanced to the position of Rear Admiral and emerged the first woman in West Africa to attain this position. She also is the first female officer to attend the National Defence College, where she won best overall graduating student and the Commander-in-Chief’s prize; and the Commandant’s prize for the best research.

.INFORMATION ETHICS & VIOLENT EXTREMISM: A UNESCO commissioned Report on Information for All Programme reveals that the UN system believes in the principles of information ethics that derive from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Violent extremism is an affront to the principles of the United Nations, embodied in universal human rights and fundamental freedoms. UNESCO’s document that recommends cooperation and solidarity through communication and information, noted that there is a growing body of knowledge about how terrorists use cyberspace’’   UNESCO Experts’ study highlights the prevalence of ‘’violent extremists that use characteristics of social media to attract younger audiences, to disseminate extremist, violent and criminal content, to identify potential participants, and foster one-on-one dialogue with young people’’ A major output of the study is a 16-point recommendation list for the Member States, the private sector, Internet intermediaries, social media, civil society, and Internet users. It recommends for instance that those actors could consider encouraging the participation of youth in decision-making processes, deepen engagement between Member States, civil society organizations and local communities.’’

THE NEW WORLD INFORMATION ORDER – RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE LOCAL MEDIA: Our media has a lot of work to do to protect our cherished values. Late Prof. Alfred Opubor, reemphasized an urgent need for the reconfiguration of the world Information and Communication Order. In his Paper presented at the Tenth Anniversary Lecture of African Independent Television, Abuja, the UNESCO Expert argued that: ’This trans-national information monopoly in developing countries manipulate hundreds of millions of people in Africa, in Asia, in Latin America and in the Caribbean. ‘’As at the Year 2006, The United Press, the Associated Press, the Agence France Press, and Reuters between them monopolize the information flow to and from the developing countries’’

According to Alfred Opubor, ‘’these different information agencies send out 33.9 million words every day and they employ over 2,100 foreign correspondents in 304 offices in almost every country in the world. ‘’The 20 largest Latin American daily newspapers are completely controlled by these four agencies with 79% of all their news coming only from these sources. Naturally, to this situation one of the major struggle that countries like ours (Nigeria) have to join in fighting is the struggle to establish a New International Information Order. We have to see this struggle for the New International Information Order as being very much linked up with the other struggle – the struggle or our New International Economic Order which our country has been involved in fighting.’’

Last linWOMEN AS PIVOTS & TOOLS FOR PREVENTING & CURTAILING INSECURITY:  It is believed that women, as pivots of family units are better placed to lead the campaign against social vices and security breaches; and how to arrest the trend.  The evolving era of joint partnerships in the management of homes and businesses by spouses is worthy of being celebrated. Couples, who by dint of hard work, and mutual encouragement have reached the pinnacles of their careers, jointly building their homes and businesses; as well and men who have exceptionally supported their wives and female children to excel should ideally be commended and recommended to the growing ones who are suffering from the negative effects of cultural and information explosion. We must celebrate stories of the lives and struggles of personalities whose lives are worthy of emulation.

GETTING OUR WOMEN INVOLVED – : Now that the political struggle in Ondo and Edo States is getting increasingly fierce, is it possible to bring all the contestants together for a LIVE DEBATE to stress the importance of peace and peaceful conduct before the elections? Then, a novelty. Let us bring together the wives of all contestants angling to occupy the Government HouseSin Benin-City and Akure to appeal to all prospective voters, thugs, politicians, children, and everybody that will be involved NOT to disturb the peace of the society? As daughters, mothers, sisters, wives, grandmothers, sisters-in-law and all they truly are, it is not impossible that daily broadcast of these messages will at least have some effect. Let them cry out: ”Don’t destroy society because of our husbands. We have our names to protect and we shall be answerable to God for any bloodshed in the course of promoting the interests of our husbands/wives.

May the Good Lord bless Nigeria


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