Saturday, February 3, 2024 8:11 pm
In my reality, Nigerian Gen Zs often feel like strangers in our homes. While I avoid generalizations, the unique challenges faced by this generation warrant exceptions.
As a typical Nigerian parent, I take pride in my Gen Z child. Despite providing guidance, she possesses a distinct mentality, different from the envisioned Nigerian upbringing. With a keen eye on this generation, it’s evident that they significantly differ from previous ones, such as the boomers and Gen X.
Their perception of life varies, and what matters to us in terms of relationships and culture holds different significance for them. The inclination to please their peer group on social issues often leads to a collective mindset, resembling a mob action, a particularly unsettling aspect for me.
Although they exhibit acceptance of their skin colour and hair, a positive departure from older generations, I, like many parents, question the presence of a strong Nigerian mentality in my child and other Nigerian Gen Zs.
This lingering concern found answers in a lecture by the Director General of the National Orientation Agency, Mallam Lanre Issa Onilu. He highlighted that foreign content, devoid of Nigerian culture, shapes children’s perspectives from infancy. This revelation, though bitter to swallow, unveiled the truth about the influence of what we watch and read.
Parents inadvertently contribute to this cultural shift by exposing their children to foreign content during crucial developmental stages. From infancy to the teenage years, choices in entertainment become integral. In the past I remember feeling uneasy about a specific comedy series depicting role reversals between parents and kids, fostering a perception of children as wiser than their parents and I was warned my kid never to try such behaviours portrayed by those kids (actors) with me.
Mallam Onilu’s discussion on the negative impact of the internet and foreign cultures on youth behaviour resonates, acknowledging that many Nigerian parents are unintentionally raising strangers in their homes. The plea for collaboration within creative industry associations to produce content reflecting Nigerian values, including heroes in cartoons, becomes a crucial call to action. Take, for instance, Albert Ogunde a superhero in a cartoon.
Mallam Issa Onilu charged the creative industry to produce Nigerian entertainment to create content with Nigerian values, appealing to the youth, align with the urgent need for a cultural resurgence. I would like to emphasize the collective responsibility to shape content that not only entertains but also preserves and promotes Nigeria’s rich cultural heritage for the next generation and raise model citizens.
The Director General’s insight serves as a wake-up call, revealing the harsh reality of the struggle many parents face. Conversations with fellow parents confirm a shared challenge – the dilemma of “raising in their home.” Even well-behaved kids occasionally exhibit moments of acting like strangers due to a lack of cultural inclination.
NOA introduces innovative solutions, utilizing themes like the National Values Charter and CLHEEAN, which, pronounced as clean, aims to sanitize the country from crime, lawlessness, health, environmental, and educational issues, alongside abuse and narcotics. The DG emphasizes the need for attitudinal change.
As a patriotic Nigerian deeply rooted in the true values of Nigeria, I am thrilled to be part of the positive shift and transformative attitudinal change that is underway.
*Tolu Meduna , Public Engagement Officer, National Orientation Agency, Office Of The Director General