Format of Original
Igbo Studies Association
9th Annual Conference, Association of Igbo Studies, Washington, D.C.
Most people of Igbo extraction are worried at the alarming rate of social ills bedevilling the Igbo nation. These social evils which debauch authentic Igbo socio-cultural communal ethos include violent crimes like kidnapping of fellow Igbo brothers and sisters for ransom, hired assassinations, armed robbery, political thuggery etc. These socio-cultural eddies not only pose security risks to people but also paralyse socio-political, religious and economic activities in Igboland. These crimes are dialectically opposed to the authentic cultural values of Ndigbo who traditionally are known for their rich cultural values and high morality with regard to the sanctity of life and the primacy of the common good arising from Igbo republican spirit. One is left wondering why and what has changed to bring about these various cycles of moral decay which have battered our social system and our noble cultural values.
This paper will first identify these social evils which afflict Igbo Land. It will further trace the problem to the breakdown of authentic cultural values of the people. I will establish a theoretical framework for analysis by locating the causes of this breakdown with a cultural dis-valuation arising from distortion in the dialectic of Igbo communities as a result of lack of integration with the forces of secularization. These unleashed greed and various forms of self-interest to the detriment of the common good. The way forward, I will argue, lies in attending to the integrity of cultural values that inform the everyday life of the people. This will be the task of those creative minority who by paying attention to the superstructural cultural values responsible for arts, science, philosophy and the human sciences will re-create cultural values responsive to the malaise of modernity in the various forms it is influencing the Igbo nation. This, in itself, will demand moral integrity rooted in authentic cultural value and greater responsibility on the part of the superstructure of culture.