Anomie and political disalienation of the youth population in Nigeria
From the brutal and wicked state of the Dark Ages, societies have evolved and experienced growth and development based on the strength of their institutions. To achieve social order and peace, societies set cultural goals and rewards and create institutions through which people must progress to achieve those goals. The medical profession is an example of a cultural goal since it has economic advantages and social prestige, but to join this vocation, one must undergo rigorous training and be certified competent by a medical school or related institutions.
However, when people fail to achieve cultural goals despite institutionalized means, illegitimate means invariably develop from a forceful configuration of people’s survival instincts which leads to social crisis and structural breakdown. regulator of society. It is anomie, a state of chaos, or the recalibration of society to its brutal, wicked state.
In 1897, Emile Durkheim, a classical French sociologist, first used the concept of anomie in his book (Suicide) to describe the prevalence of suicide in Europe due to the breakdown of collective values that led to a feeling of hopelessness and hopelessness in the world. people. However, in 1954, Robert K. Merton, an American sociologist, developed the concept into a model that analyzes the five personality types that respond to the anomic conditions of society, including; conformists, innovators, ritualists, retirees and revolutionaries.
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According to Robert Merton’s deformation theory, the conformists follow social rules and consistently seek politically correct ways to achieve cultural goals. The innovators identify blind spots in the social system and develop unconventional ways to achieve cultural goals. The Ritualists giving up hope of achieving cultural goals because of repeated experience of failure, but always adopting the institutionalized means. The Retired disregarding both cultural objectives and institutionalized means; they often present themselves as sociopaths withdrawn from drugs, alcohol, and suicidal thoughts. And the Revolutionary seek to disrupt the existing system and replace it with a system perceived as better.
In Nigeria, several conditions of anomie have turned into a social crisis that makes daily headlines and social media. The incidences of rising inflation, poverty and youth unemployment contribute daily to an increase in crime and the absence of peace in the country. So, from banditry to kidnapping, cyber fraud to drug trafficking and social media intimidation to ritual killings, Nigeria has been included in the league of dangerous countries to live in the world, with the country ranking 146th out of 163 countries in the 2021 Global Peace Index, according to the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP).
Consequently, there is a growing number of social innovators in the country who are leveraging technology and new media to develop alternative means of economic survival. These emerging innovators are largely settled in the youth population and are mostly tech-savvy with deep knowledge of the dark web. Cyber criminals such as Yahoo Boys, Benefit Boys, hackers, etc. belong to this disruptive cohort. Recently, a significant portion of the cohort has developed political awareness through an alliance with the revolutionary to influence a major upheaval in the country.
This unfolded during the End SARS campaign against police brutality and youth oppression in October 2020. During the campaign, restless Nigerian youths were able to massively mobilize and fund intellectual resources and foot soldiers through the platforms social media, especially Twitter. , and the decentralized financial market blockchain system. Thus, the innovators showed the cunning of the fox and the revolutionary engaged the bravery of the Lion to execute one of the most successful campaigns in the history of the social movement in the world.
The 11the October 2020, the Nigerian government disbanded the Special Anti-Robbery Squad. However, this was soon followed by a nationwide ban on cryptocurrencies which the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, said were used to sponsor illegal activities in the country. More so, on June 5, 2021, Twitter was banned in Nigeria due to a deleted tweet from the country’s president of the platform, but on January 12, 2022, the ban was lifted after Twitter reached an agreement with the Nigerian government. However, many believe the Twitter ban was government retaliation for the #endsars movement.
There are also indications that #endsars memories will continue to shape the political consciousness of Nigerian youth. A real example is the #PVC campaign which is currently flooding the internet and social media platforms to urge large numbers of young people to get their permanent voter cards for the 2023 general elections in the country. Never before in the history of Nigerian politics have young Nigerians displayed such political awareness and social will for power, analysts have noted.
There are many ways to conceptualize the myriad problems with Nigeria. But for analysts of the theory of duress, two conditions are obviously insidious to social progress in the country – one is the absence of accountability and the other is a twisted system of reward and punishment which, over time , supplanted the moral fabric of the nation. These conditions are mainly due to the failure of the governmental institution which determines and applies the system of collective values. Other social institutions such as religion, education and the family can only struggle to fulfill their function of promoting collective values where the governmental institution has failed to uphold these values. Thus, social reintegration must be approached from the top down, that is to say from the governmental institution to the family institution.
Contrary to the belief of many people that social and behavioral change must be approached from the bottom up or from the micro to the macro level, constraint theorists consider such an approach to be utopian due to the effect of the law of social gravity. Therefore, it must be said that the Nigerian government must get rid of corruption and promote common sense in its agencies to build a society where accountability and fairness in reward and punishment determine political and socio-economic relations. Only then can the bottom-up approach yield meaningful results.