*Fr George Adimike*
The inordinate lust for wealth, fame and power, which is driving the youth crazy nowadays, has reached an alarming stage that silence has become complicity. That the get-rich-quick syndrome is corrupting the youth and dealing a death blow to the noble values on which society is constructed, is no longer news. It is observable that the importance attached to material wealth is one of the major factors. This exaggerated value induces the youth into despicable acts such as gruesome killings, swindling, bizarre lifestyles and fetishistic rituals. It also robs the people of the consciousness of the proper dignity of labour. The hitherto respect for education and drive for knowledge suffer in result. The people caught in this malaise throw money with callous abandon and spend it as if ‘tomorrow no dey’. Quick money through fraudulent means is so widespread that it challenges genuine growth and progress. Mahatma Gandhi was right when he enlisted wealth without work as one of the seven social sins. It corrupts and attacks society at its foundation.
The situation bespeaks surrender to the allurement of the goddess of mammon, by which a sector of society idolises money as a measure of success and greatness. Sadly, the effect of this celebration of noonday robbery and daylight fetishism is already telling on society. Without a doubt, the current nightmarish situation is difficult to abate because wealth and power are gripping. Their pursuit is bankrupting the residue of the noble values on which our society stands. Since many parents accept, and some pastors bless, and numerous chieftains of towns and villages celebrate the ill-gotten wealth, the end is not in sight. It is a dawning of a new regime of money worship; people are silenced or bought off with money. So, many people resort to the principle of ‘if you cannot beat them, you join them’.
The effect of this Yahoo misadventure is that these bloodletting young people gruesomely and heartlessly sacrifice young ladies and sometimes their parents to pursue wealth. They engage in other bizarre acts and rituals like cannibalism, drug abuse, and sex with blood relations. They feast on people’s faeces, offer their relations in ritual sacrifices, strip themselves naked in public, and throw and spray money on people for ritual purposes. But the list is not yet exhaustive. Stories of the victims abound and they are narratives of mysterious and premature deaths of casualties and their perpetrators alike. Nothing gotten through fundamentally evil means endures. The devil helps no one; he can only bet to get one into his fold. The signs that this delinquency is inflicting grave harm on society are the unimaginable atrocities committed in the name of Yahoo business and their consequences.
The dastardly evil of the Yahoo culture and its attendant criminal fetishistic practices and ritual killings is one more pointer to parents’ complicity and the failure of families and social institutions. The fake lifestyle it represents and feeds wrongly presents itself as human flourishing, which it is not. It is a nemesis to everyone who will not stand up to the government to provide jobs, teach morals to our children, and desist from celebrating materialism and luxury. The whole society suffers when its young engage in evil practices. No one is free. Everyone is in trouble. They recruit young people and brainwash them that education is a scam, without practical positive value. The ostentatious flaunting of ill-gotten wealth attacks society’s basic moral foundations. Many look helplessly while these unconscionable youth prowl around, looking for people and values to destroy.
The reality of Yahoo boys is symptomatic of the malaise in society. It advertises the total breakdown of the institutions that protect and promote society’s mores and ethos. It is a failure of families and cultural and religious organisations to invest adequate energy, creativity and commitment in the formation of the youth. Unfortunately, our society is eagerly bent on bequeathing to the future an array of malformed, crooked and dangerous criminals and social misfits.
The path to solution includes knowledge and awareness of the nature and magnitude of the problem and mobilisation and deployment of social and spiritual resources against the bad situation. It entails solidarity of action by all institutions of society, and respecting the principle of subsidiarity, by which each institution operates in its sphere of influence without intimidation, disruption or domination. With the above position, families will be galvanised as the most fundamental factor in rescuing society. If families had adequately acted as the basic education and character formation centres, this crisis would not have reached this alarming stage. Parents need to re-envision parenting beyond the provision of the material and mundane needs of their children. They should realise that engaging in child-bearing contains an intimate responsibility of child-rearing, the ramifications of which include character formation and humanisation. Families focusing only on academic training most likely produce sophisticated evil geniuses and intelligent criminals. Such efforts that exclude adequate human, moral and spiritual formation distort the education of children. At best, it produces malformed and badly educated graduates whose consciences and consciousnesses are focused on satisfying appetites for power, pleasure and possession.
As a matter of urgency, social institutions must declare a state of emergency for youth formation. Families must wake up to their responsibilities, ditto cultural and religious organizations. The Church, for instance, is invited to reflect on her contribution to the formation of families to discharge their responsibilities, realising the peculiarities of these millennial and Gen Z youth. It is still possible to change the tide, but it requires creative engagement and total commitment to the crisis.
This piece is a silent scream to the entire society to wake up to her responsibility of salvaging society from the youth-turned-Internet fraudsters. It is an invitation to condemn the fraudulent practices and be intentional about rejecting the proceeds of such lifestyles. Suppose society fails to divest honour and recognition from people of such evil character; in that case, the affirmation will be a compliment, and an encouragement and approbation. Through our actions and inactions, we have to withdraw the fuel that feeds this dangerous fire and make a bold statement that our society cannot bless fraud, approve of fetishistic lifestyles and beatify sin. We must stop the rampage and transform the evil Yahoo boys into good Google men.
Fr George Adimike