How To Promote National Consciousness and Integrity: A nation is merely a geographical location. What defines the capacity and integrity of a nation is the attributes of the individuals it houses. It follows that there are means through which the integrity of a nation can be promoted. It flows also from the same end that where there is national consciousness, there is national integrity and unity, for these factors go together.
The question for determination therefore is: how can national consciousness and integrity be promoted? This article is geared towards distilling facts in attempts to answer this question.
What Is National Consciousness?
Simply put, national consciousness is the degree of the collective awareness and observance of people to the points of value of the nation. It is otherwise known as national awareness. National consciousness translates to respect for the values of the nation, motivated by understanding, sense of patriotism and attachment to one’s nation which preponderates over every other interests and consideration
Thus, one would be said to have national consciousness when he makes effort to conform to those values that guarantee the welfare and development of the state. Put in a simpler form, national consciousness is summarized by one’s love, loyalty and commitment to his country. It is the acts and commitments of individuals that develop the state. Therefore, where there is no such commitment and love, states’ development and welfare is not guaranteed. At most, the development would be slow and inconsistent.
Factors That Impede the Promotion of National Consciousness and Integrity
In proffering solutions, it is best to first identify the problems, for it is a very close step to the solutions. Here are some of the factors:
1. Tribalism: tribalism is a feeling of identity and loyalty to one’s tribe. There cannot be national consciousness, unity and integrity where tribalism is domineering. In fact, tribalism operates directly to obstruct any possibility of national consciousness. Of course, it is a normal phenomenon for one to be loyal to his tribe.
However, the extent at which it is allowed to overpower one’s sense of reasoning, moral and justice is where the line must be drawn. Tribalism translates to national disintegration, absence of peace, and conservativeness which restricts societal welfare and development.
2. Bad Constitution: A constitution must at all times be the constitution of the people. It must speak legitimacy and balance of power. The constitution is the ultimate law regulating the affairs of the state. To this extent, any problem with the constitution constitutes threat to the promotion of national consciousness and integrity.
3. Religious Extremism: Religious fanatism is a great menace to the nation. It is a setting where people place their religion above humanity and the objectives of the state. It must at all times be borne in mind that religion is under the state and as such, must always bow to the state. No religious interest should be domineering.
There should be objectivity and secularism in practice. Religious extremism has never caused any good. It places the states in shambles. This problem exists in many states today.
4. Illiteracy: Lack of information is a menace. It is a threat to national consciousness and integrity. States with low level of literacy are doomed, for there cannot be development and there will always be conflict at any little provocation.
5. Bad governance: This is another hallway of national disintegration. Where there is bad governance, there is no point being patriotic for it seems to be a waste of time, energy and risk.
How To Promote National Consciousness And Integrity
1. PUBLIC ENLIGHTENMENT: The national values and discipline should be propagated through public enlightenment. Television and radio broadcasting stations are very instrumental to this purpose. Sensitization programs should be organized on the need to be a patriotic citizen, the power of the electorates, the need to pay tax, the need for national unity and so on. It is through public enlightenment that every other factor that aid in the promotion of national consciousness and integrity is brought to life.
This can be achieved through individual efforts of the people as well as the collective effort of Nongovernmental Organisations (NGOs). Another is enlightenment through courses of study in school such as Civic Education. Such courses which afford an opportunity for the propagation of national consciousness and integrity should at some levels of study be made compulsory for all students.
2. PROPAGATION OF TOLERANCE: All religions must be placed in their rightful position which is under the state. From there, religious beliefs must be permissive of other people’s beliefs. Line must be drawn between religion and other people’s right. Again, there should be tolerance of political and cultural views. To promote national consciousness, tribalistic movements must stop. Where there is intolerance, there is conflict.
3. FEDERAL CHARACTER IMPLIMENTATION: The state constitution must be one that guarantees federal character treatment. There must also be an institution that sees to the implementation of the federal character in all sectors of the economy and governance. By this, there is equitable representation of people and distribution of wealth regardless of region or tribe.
4. SELFLESSNESS AND HOSPITALITY: This is an individual and collective responsibility sanction for people to be selfless and show hospitality regardless of the receiver’s religion, race or tribe.
5. CULTURAL FESTIVALS AND EXPOSITIONS: Cultural festivals and expositions is another sure way of promoting national consciousness and integrity. Culture is the entirety of the people’s way of life. It is an activity that promotes attachment to one’s nation. Inasmuch as modernization has mixed up with ancient values, culture is foundational and cannot be swept off the trend.
Culture promotes unity and love, and its commemoration also gives room for the development of the nation through amplification.
6. CELEBRATION OF THE PAST HEROES AND HEROINES: Celebration of the past heroes and heroines of a nation is as much efficacious as cultural celebrations. It reminds the people of their history and past events, thereby building and sustaining the awareness of their nation. It is a generally accepted fact that in the development of the society, reference and study must be made to the past for the best result.
7. THE NATIONAL ANTHEM: The national anthem represents people’s love and patriotism towards the state. It serves as a reaffirmation of the love for the state, and its meaningful recital creates a sense of obligation on the people. There should be respect for the national anthem, the pledge, shared values and the flag and other symbols of the state.
8. EFFECTIVE DEMOCRACY: Democracy is considered the best form of governance. National consciousness and development is guaranteed where democracy is substantially practiced. In a democratic state, everyone is willing to be committed and be patriotic because to a reasonable extent, things work as they should.
The object of democracy entails a whole lot and includes the prevalence of the rule of law, respect for human rights, independence of the judiciary, equity and fairness, balance of power, provision of social amenities, and so on.
9. INTER-TRIBAL MARRIAGE: Inter-tribal marriage is not a usual occurrence. While some set of people are against it, some views favours it. Inter-tribal marriage has benefits which includes cultural integration and promotion amongst many others. Invariably, it contributes to the promotion of national consciousness and integrity.
10. NATIONAL INTEGRATION PROGRAMS AND POLICIES: Policies should be made having in mind its possible effect on the national consciousness of the people and the integrity of the state. For instance, political parties must be national as properly called, and not tribalistically or religiously based. In other words, no political party shall be valid if it entertains only a particular tribe or religion.
There are also certain programs which tend to promote national integration such as the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC). Programs such as national award also plays an instrumental role, for such rewards tend to motivate the citizens to remain on the right track of patriotism.
National consciousness is the spirit of the people towards the state which plays an instrumental role in the development, ent of the state. It is an individual as well as a collective sanction on the people to be at their best on the promotion of unity and integrity of the state. The promotion of national consciousness and integrity is a continuing sanction. It never gets completely fulfilled but the state certainly gets better.