Getting it right as a nation by Adewale Kupoluyi

Many things are wrong with our dear country, Nigeria. The truth is that there is no nation under the sun that does not have its peculiar problems, which could be social, political, economic, or classified under other headings or even a combination of all. The issues bordering on values, morals, and ethos deserve utmost consideration in the sense that they centre around the people. That is why the challenges facing us as Nigerians are not only social, political, and economic in nature, they also cut across the cherished ideals of values, morals, and ethos.

Hard work, integrity and reward system of cherished ideals are hardly recognised here unlike what is obtainable in other climes where people are honoured, compensated, and adored for what they have been able to contribute to societal uplift. A manifestation of this was seen a few days ago when it was announced that a national essay competition would be taking place among undergraduates in Nigerian universities. According to the organisers, the first prize winner would get a laptop computer while other lower categories of winners would get android telephones and other prizes. It should be placed on record that the organisers deserve commendation for encouraging scholarship, creative thinking, and promoting writing skills. This is the kind of intervention that the nation needs to engage the young ones productively.

After all, they have the option not to promote something that can add value to the people and society. The organisers would most likely be running the programme based on passion and available budget to uplift the reading and writing culture. Mental empowerment is so critical to the emancipation of man by nurturing the mind in such a way that the citizenry becomes informed and stimulating purposeful leadership through sound education. We may ask that what does it take to successfully partake in a national essay competition? Apart from adhering to the strict rules and regulations, applicants are expected to be well-read, devote quality time, be disciplined, versatile, meticulous, and possess the ability to embark on research.

Hence, the efforts involved before winning any standard essay competition or academic exercise are enormous and should, therefore, be well compensated, not only to appreciate such participants but to celebrate mental tasks and encourage others to have the proper mindset that hard work pays. Today, many youngsters are too impatient and do not want to work, but they want to get rich quickly and live in affluence. Unfortunately, our society encourages the worshiping of ill-gotten wealth. The bone of my argument is that every work, vocation, and profession should be appropriately compensated and rewarded without giving the erroneous impression that one is either better or more important than the others. Teachers, farmers, scientists, medical workers, legal practitioners, judicial officers, artists, musicians, public servants, journalists, sportsmen and women, engineers, and other professions should be accorded due respect and reward in their own rights.

This is the thrust of the Adams Equity Theory of motivation, which was developed by John Stacey Adams, an American behavioural psychologist. It argues that the level of reward, when compared with sense the level of contributions, affect motivation. Adams reveals that individuals want a fair relationship between inputs and outputs for they want the benefits or rewards that they receive from their work to the contributions or inputs that they provide. The inputs could be in the form of time, education, prior experience, loyalty, adaptability, resilience, flexibility, and determination, among others. What is seen as a fair reward is shaped by the cherished ideals that are anchored on societal and social norms. Adams then recommends that leaders should ensure the establishment of a culture of fairness to bring about the desired motivation.

For the nation to do well, unnecessary attention should no longer be accorded activities that spin money at the expense of our cherished ideals, otherwise, we would continue to send the wrong message that real hard work, decency, and creativity do not pay.

How much does a professor earn? How much is the monthly salary of a school teacher, lawyer, or public servant including members of the armed forces and the police? What they get as salaries are nothing, but peanuts. This is the dilemma of working hard and the reward system in Nigeria. This is the imbalance that should be corrected. No wonder that many graduates abandon their disciplines and become fashion designers, make-up artists, and hairstylists overnight where they can make quick money without much mental stress and dumping what they learned in schools. We need to start getting it right before it becomes too late. We should learn from the experience of other nations that are making progress in terms of human capital, productivity, and the upholding of cherished ideals.

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