How Societal Framework negatively Influences the Nigerian Society

Photo by Muhammad Taha Ibrahim Ma’aji on Unsplash

Society is a network of relationships of people who share common institutions and cultures. It is the web of companionship and interactions among human beings that involve sharing common economic, social, and cultural values and undertakings among others. 
Given these definitions, it is justifiable to refer to Nigeria as a society. Furthermore, in every society, there exist social institutions. A social institution is an established and organized system of social behavior with a recognized purpose. It is an organizational system that functions to satisfy basic social needs, by providing an ordered framework linking the individual to the larger culture. It is a group of social positions connected by social relations, performing social roles. A social institution can take many forms depending on the social context, the term institution has been used very loosely, as hospitals, churches, mosques, jails, markets, etc. are regarded as institutions. But to sociologists, the term is often used to describe normative systems that operate in five basic areas of life which may be designated as the primary institutions, that is:

In determining kingship (family)

In providing for the legitimate use of power (government)

In relation to the supernatural force (religion)

Regulating and production of goods and services (business/economy)

And finally, transmitting societal knowledge from one generation to another (education/academia).

I would like to focus on these five institutions in the Nigerian society
1. Family
Family as a social institution is an institution where people are related through marriage, birth, or adoption, reside together in officially sanctioned relationships, and engage in economic cooperation, socially approved sexual relations, reproduction, and child-rearing. The role of the family is to ensure responsible citizens, preserve society, and balance the desires of individual liberty. Family is the first institution a child learns to make personal sacrifices for the good of the whole, it’s the first place a child feels safe enough to explore his individuality. In Nigeria today, many family institutions are increasingly producing citizens with questionable characters. In other words, citizens that are not conscious of their responsibility toward maintaining and preserving our society. Unfortunately, these are citizens who will take charge of our country someday, either in government or other social institutions.
Family as an institution must be responsible for instilling societal discipline, morality, ethics, values, and norms in our younger ones at an early age even before  Western education. Our families need to be restructured and rethought in order to ensure that we have responsible citizens with the right mindset. Today we have failed family institutions and broken homes. And the problems are so endemic that they cause systemic spread of immorality to other institutions. Broken homes are a major challenge to our society, most boys from broken homes find armed robbery, stealing, and criminal activities as the only way of sustaining themselves as their parents will more often than not abandon their responsibilities. The individual problem according to sociologists inevitably becomes a societal problem. Failed family institution constitutes a major threat to other social institutions and poses a likely chain reaction to all other institutions.
2. Religion
Religion is an institutionalized system of belief, symbols, values, and practices, by which a group of people interprets and responds to what they feel is sacred to them and provides answers to questions of ultimate meaning. The role of religion is to teach religious morality and values, and remind citizens of their duties to and reliance upon God. Religion in essence Teaches virtuousness, provides solutions for unexplained natural phenomena, and supplies the means of controlling the natural world. It also serves as an instrument of socialization and may both reduce and encourage conflicts in society.
Religion plays a pivotal role in maintaining society. In Nigeria, although religion has played a pivotal role, religious extremism has also played a negative role and encouraged conflicts. We have had several religious clashes or crises that occurred in Nigeria. Ideally, religion does not teach violence, crises, or riots, but some religious extremists use religion to create and encourage religious conflicts. It has become part of our problem as a country, it has been part of our politics, our academia, our economy, etc. Religious extremism has affected and still affects our collective unity, progress, and development as a country.
It has remained a core, largely divisive part of the politics of regions and ethnicity in Nigeria. It’s part of the staple of playing the divide and conquer strategy in the geopolitics of the country of almost 210 million largely boisterous citizens.
3. Education / Academia
Education in society depicts an institution responsible for the systematic transmission of society’s knowledge. It involves teachings in reading, writing, and arithmetic, conveying morality values, and ethics. Educational institutions involve schools of different types where teaching and learning take place. The role of education in a society is to advance culture through knowledge, help societies avoid repeating historical mistakes, prevent socioeconomic inequities, and break through boundaries of human ignorance. Social new members as well as equip them with occupational training.
The standards of our educational institutions have deteriorated over the years, and the available institutions are not fully equipped to train our students. For those educated, some are ‘half-baked’ students. For those uneducated you would have to agree with me we have two typologies. The voluntary and involuntary uneducated citizens. The former are those who decisively refuse to get an education of any type, and the latter are those who tried their best to get an education but were not able to for one reason or the other. Some tried their best to gain admission into institutions but were not admitted due to the chaos of the system, poverty is also a major challenge. Some could truly not afford to pay school fees and other expenses of getting an education which led to an Involuntary lack of education.
There’s also a breakdown of the link between education and what education used to bring, In the past one could see that when you got an education there’s a job waiting for you. Today millions of graduates are unemployed, no jobs in the private sector, and the public sector cannot absorb all the graduates. It is seldom to say an economy would develop in a country without a substantial quantum of investment in the education sector. Lack of education has led to many problems, Boko haram, militancy, etc.
4. Business/ Economy
Business/ economy is the system in which goods and services are produced, distributed, and consumed. It involves the activities of organizations or enterprising institutions that carry out economic or business functions in the society such as production, distribution, marketing, etc. The role of business is to provide exchange, commerce, and ultimately widespread prosperity. And also Provides goods to satisfy citizens and export excess. Increasing the productive capacity of the economy, GDP, GNP, and NNP, bolster economic growth and development. Business also provides employment opportunities for both educated and non-educated citizens. Nigeria is currently experiencing economic hardship, an inflation-ridden economy, and this is mainly because we rely heavily on imported products, leading to a decline in our income. We’ve been a ‘banana republic’ over the years, we export mainly oil. The country’s major income generator which represents 80 percent of our exports is oil and its value has over the past years fallen significantly. It’s high time we look away from oil and devise diversification measures. There is no enabling environment for private businesses to flow without infrastructural advancement and Industrialization, these two are at a low ebb in the present day Nigeria. By and large, all these complaints will eventually be channeled to our government institutions. Therefore what Nigeria needs at this moment is better governance and responsible leaders.
5. Government
Government is an agency, or institution through which the will of the state is formulated, expressed, and realized. The government as a social institution is responsible for regulating the conduct of individuals, groups, and institutions within its state. The government serves as a ‘watchdog’ for other social institutions in the society. A balanced government will have these powers shared among three organs, that is the legislature, which is responsible for making, and repealing the laws, the executive which is vested with powers of implementing the law and finally the judiciary vested with interpretation functions. Therefore, a government provides the whole gamut of services and manages the entirety of the affairs of a jurisdiction. Surely to say, a government is seen as the party responsible for all. It has constituted a bigger problem for our dear country, during the first republic, second republic, and until date. There has been chaos in politics, insecurity in politics, frustration among the citizens, and endemic corruption, though worse than it was before. You would agree with me as I have mentioned earlier that families have relationships with all other social institutions. It’s apparently not possible for us and it’s going to be crazy for us to get an expatriate to govern our country after having gotten independence. But it baffles me sometimes and I do wonder if we are really running a country or a casino.
The citizens we have produced in our families will definitely be the ones to govern us, but are they legitimate, bold enough to rule our country, this is a function of how our family institution performs its obligations and other social institutions. Almost all our problems and complaints today are centered on bad leadership. But what is more irksome is having seen the set of leaders we have got in the past and how we have suffered with bad leadership, yet I do not think we are making any concerted effort to produce better future leaders.
I am afraid we are training a generation of even worse leaders, as my school ‘school father’ and mentor do say “Nigerians must be responsible for Nigeria” Whenever I saw the phrase I got tickled, are we really responsible for our country? Regardless, I believe we still have some Nigerians, precisely some youths who still care about Nigeria, who want Nigeria to be better, and working towards actualizing it. I have seen a few. We have got to be optimistic and responsible for Nigeria to achieve the Nigeria of our dreams, and for our children to have a secure Nigeria. I can conclude by saying almost all our problems in Nigeria could be recapitulated in these five primary institutions.

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