Page 62

heteronomy and especially egocentrism. People obey the law to avoid being punished or being embarrassed and break the law when they are sure they would not be caught. With the permission of the university authorities, I was privileged to look at disciplinary cases involving members of the senior staff (academic and non-academic) in this university from 2002 to date. Out of 78 cases, there were 28 cases of pursuit of self interest at the expense of institutional interest under different guises (finances, sharp practices, and misrepresenttation). This reflects egocentrism/egoism. Moreover, 38 cases had to do with disregard for procedure in one way or the other. Yet, the Kohlbergian studies show that the conventional level of obedience to rules is just preparatory to true moral development. This means that if only we all operate at this latter level of morality, we would have been spared 66 out of the 78 cases which were brought before the committee during the period. If we think of the investment of time, human and financial resources to hold committee meetings all these years, or alternative ways in which committee members could have invested their time to benefit the community, we would appreciate the high negative cost of being learned without being educated. Many times, people do their duties, especially what they are paid to do with the question “what’s in it for me?” as their motive for work. Therefore, in government offices, officials tell you they are carrying out their duties “just to help you”. The implication is that when they “have helped you”, you should thank them i.e., give them some gratification. Moreover, the few people who stand up for their moral convictions are either labelled “radicals” by their opponents or they are called names by even the people who stand to benefit from their moral position. Many Nigerians would rather operate from the comfort zone when faced with a moral dilemma. The fear of becoming a byword for daring to be different on moral principles have bred many moral cowards. In our educational system, from colonial times, the tendency has been to equate moral education with religious knowledge.

62

Professor Oluremi Aina Bamisaiye University Lecture  

University LEcture

Professor Oluremi Aina Bamisaiye University Lecture  

University LEcture

Advertisement