There is a sense in which the recent murder of Miss Khadijat Adenike Oluboyo, the daughter of the immediate past deputy governor of Ondo State, Alhaji Lasisi Oluboyo, allegedly at the hands of her lover of eight years, represents a sad commentary on the abyss into which national values have sunk in Nigeria. Not only does the narrative of Khadijat’s killing drip with the increasingly loose, lewd and base direction of youth life, it also poignantly shows how futile the attempt to affect their cognition and thought processes through education has been. A university graduate, Khadihat’s lover had, without qualms, told the police how he was recruited into the gang of dupes called yahoo boys, thus confirming the claim of the bereaved father that his daughter was murdered for purposes of money-making rituals.
Khadijat was killed in the bid for voodoo money which social commentators affirm is the latest fad in town among “the big boys.” The big boys are the noveaux riches who have little or no means of livelihood but cultivate extravagant lifestyles through fraud and various wild schemes and scams. Max Weber, the famous 19th century social scientist, once posited that one of the “functions of science was to disenchant the universe,” by which he meant the suspension of myths and superstitions. But in Nigeria, young people are returning to the medieval age and resurrecting myths and superstitions in their quest for the means with which to cope with modern-day challenges.
Their peers in the West, people like Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, have created immense wealth for themselves using their ingenuity and intellect. They created universal platforms for social communication through digital technology. Sadly, however, Nigerian youths would prefer the bizarre method of gory and gruesome murder to, in their wild imagination, attract wealth through voodoo. Often, people are propelled into action by their knowledge and persuasions and it is tragic that the country’s youths seem to have been persuaded, ensnared and obviously propelled into these bizarre actions by atavism. They must have watched their fathers in politics and the bureaucracy visiting shrines and thought it fit and proper to replicate such means for immediate social prominence. This is certainly a development for which a disoriented society like Nigeria must take the rap.
The youths pick their models from their immediate environment in politics and business and, to be frank, there aren’t many in these sectors to provide any positive inspiration. Many of these youths are more disoriented than the society that has produced them. They want immediate gratification in their quest for sudden wealth. The gap of inequality between the rich and the poor has also increased the desperation among the people. They seek immediate wealth with scant regard for the legitimacy or otherwise of the means for doing so. There is also the influence of peer groups on these youths. Truth be told, the older generation is not quite exemplary in form and content, and is offering no help to the incoming generations.
It is unfortunate and regrettable that these youths are already too immersed in living on the fast lane to have any sense of moral rectitude and retrace their steps. To a great extent, parents and guardians have been negligent in giving them a positive direction during their socialisation processes. For the youths, for whom experts insist that examples are better than precepts, it is little wonder that they have eventually turned up the way they have. The Nigerian society, in particular government at all levels, must urgently contemplate redeeming these disoriented youths for the sake of the country’s future.
The National Orientation Agency (NOA) and other information agencies have a great responsibility to offer a moral compass through the available platforms to influence the thinking of the youths and hopefully their eventual actions. It is dangerous to have the young generation hooked to an obviously redundant belief system in a world gravitating towards science, technology and artificial intelligence. In that world, they will be savages long overdue for extinction. We commiserate with the Oluboyos and wish them the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss. Needless to say, the killer must get his just deserts.