According to Albert Camus, “A man without ethics is a wild beast loosed upon the world.” Moral values are the guidelines that assist a person in deciding between right and wrong. A society with decline in moral values is said to be morally decayed. Moral decadence is referred to as a gross reduction in the moral values of individuals or society at large. It could be as a result of ignorance, lack of moral values or poverty. It has been a pressing issue in societies of the world from time immemorial that at every point in global history, communities discussed the problem of moral decadence which Nigeria is not an exemption. Hence, the need to discuss the roles of actors such as family, society, government, school, religious institution and public figures in the growth of moral decadence and the ways out.
It is from the home that a child is expected to learn values of love, character, confidence, contentment, respect and honesty through words and actions of the parents or guardian, but many families neglect some attitudes of the children that call for corrections. In some cases, parents enroll their children into boarding schools at very tender ages which might result in the children being unable to differentiate between right and wrong. For instance, In a news report on 8th July, 2023, a Nigerian pilgrim from Zamfara state was reported to have returned a sum of $80,000 she found in Saudi Arabia to the owner which starred reactions online. Majority of comments on newspapers and blogs’ online posts were against her action while few expressed their pleasure in her action. Some were of the opinion that it was God’s way of blessing her. This makes one wonder how families were able to nurture such children who grow into adults and parents someday. The solution is for the family to be conscious of the children as they grow up and inculcate moral values through their actions and words, as well as ensure that the child gets the needed attention while growing up.
The society is the product of man and man a product of the society. Both influence each other either positively or negatively. Through members that constitute the society, a child identifies himself, and when majority of people that dominates a society engage in amoral activities like drugs, violence and robbery, the child could pick it up from them by imitation, even when the parents do not do such.Theorists of social learning like Albert Bandura (1973), assumed that all these behaviours are learned through stimulus–response and imitation. Parents are therefore advised to be conscious of the environment inwhich they nurture their children.
In schools, cultism, examination malpractice, student prostitution, drug misuse, and other examples of moral decadence were listed by Afuye (2015). It is projected that students who achieve well academically are less likely to participate in moral decadence than those who perform poorly, Henggeler (1989). However, these students influence one another. It appears that emphasizing moral education in the school curriculum is a way of reducing moral decadence among students.
The government’s responsibility is not the preservation of morality except for controlling crimes and maintaining law and order, Yet, one could say that the inability of the government to ease the life of it’s subjects through making essential policies and programmes also contributes to the growth of moral decadence in the country. If the government could make more efforts on making the lives of it’s citizens better, there will be decrease in crime and other morally decayed acts.
It is expected of religious leaders to preach values and also lead by example by leading impeccable moral lives. Sadly, moral decadence in the form of corruption, sexual exploitation and even violence has deeply set in among these spiritual leaders. The spiritual leaders are advised to live upon the doctrine they preach.
Public figures such as film makers and artistes contribute to moral decadence through their contents and lyrics. They should serve as good models for youths through their contents and lifestyles.
If all mentioned actors can take responsibilities, the child will be shaped, and the society will be a better place.