Alaafin in UNIMAID, urges FG to make character education major focus of education reform agenda

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Abraham Lincoln wrote, in his first political announcement on March 9,1832, “I desire to see a time when education, and by its means, morality, sobriety, enterprise and industry, shall become much more
general than at present.”
 Similarly, Horace Mann, the 19th-century champion of the common schools, strongly advocated for moral education, as his followers were worried by the widespread drunkenness, crime, and poverty during
across the globe.
This formed the fulcrum of His Imperial Majesty, the Alaafin of Oyo,
Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi’s thought-provoking speech during his
investiture as CHANCELLOR of the University of Maiduguri (UNIMAID).
The colorful ceremony held at the main auditorium of the Federal Government-owned institution in Maiduguri, capital of Borno State was
attended by eminent personalities, and top class traditional rulers.
BODE DUROJAIYE reports
The Alaafin like most thinkers, educational practitioners, and parents
acknowledge that children are born helpless and need the care and
guidance of adults into their teens and often beyond.
More specifically, he noted that children need to learn how to live
harmoniously in society. Historically, the mission of schools has been
to develop in the young both the intellectual and the moral virtues.
To him, this concern for the moral virtues, such as honesty,
responsibility, and respect for others, is the domain of moral
education.
‘’Moral education, then, refers to helping children acquire those
virtues or moral habits that will help them individually live good
lives and at the same time become productive, contributing members of
their communities. In this view, moral education should contribute not
only to the students as individuals, but also to the social cohesion
of a community and country. The word moral comes from a Latin root
(mos, moris) and means the code or customs of a people, the social
glue that defines how individuals should live together’’.
He stated that character formation is recognized as something that
parents begin early, but the work is hardly completed when a child
goes to school.
‘’Implicit in the concept of character is the recognition that adults
begin the engraving process of habituation to consideration of others,
self-control, and responsibility, then teachers and others contribute
to the work, but eventually the young person takes over the engraving
or formation of his own character. Clearly, though, with their
learning demands and taxing events, children’s school years are a
prime opportunity for positive and negative (i.e., virtues and vices)
character formation’’.
The impetus and energy behind the return of character education to
American schools, Alaafin pointed out, did not come from within the
educational community, but fueled, first, by parental desire for
orderly schools where standards of behavior and good habits are
stressed, and, second, by state and national politicians who responded
to these anxious concerns of parents.
‘’One of the politically appealing aspects of character education, as
opposed to moral education with its religious overtones, is that
character education speaks more to the formation of a good citizen. A
widely repeated definition (i.e., character education is helping a
child to know the good, to desire the good, and to do the good)
straddles this issue. For some people the internal focus of character
education comfortably can be both religious and civic and for others
the focus can be strictly civic, dealing exclusively on the formation
of the good citizen’’.
Oba Adeyemi went further, ‘’selfless service puts the welfare of the
Nation and the accomplishment of the assigned mission before
individual welfare. All who serve the Nation must resist the
temptation to pursue self-gain, personal advantage, and self-interest
ahead of the collective good. Values are what we, as an elite, judge
to be right. They are more than words-they are the moral, ethical, and
professional attributes of character. These are not the only values
that should determine our character, but they are ones that are
central to our profession and should guide our lives as we serve our
Nation’’.
 ‘’Honesty and loyalty are values that are the ingredients of
integrity. When values are shared by all citizens of a country, they
are extraordinarily important tools for making judgments, assessing
probable outcomes of contemplated actions, and choosing among
alternatives. Integrity is the basis for trust and confidence that
must exist between the leaders and the led. Furthermore, integrity is
demonstrated by propriety in one’s personal life’’.
    The Alaafin who is also Chancellor of Crescent University,
Abeokuta, postulated that public officials are given the trust of the
public to develop and carry out policies that are in the public’s best
interest. He added that living up to this trust has a significant
impact on the national will, as public confidence is essential to the
exercise of national power.
‘’Public officials have a moral duty to act in a trustworthy manner’’.
Alaafin stressed the need for  stakeholders to holistically address
character education as a major focus of the country’s educational
reform agenda.
He averred, ‘’the overwhelming percentage of efforts within public
education to address the moral domain currently march under the flag
of character education. Further, since these conscious efforts at
addressing issues of character formation are relatively recent, they
are often called character education programme. The term programme
suggests, however, discrete initiatives that replace an activity or
that are added to the school’s curriculum (e.g., a new reading program
or mathematics program). Although there are character education
programmess available, commercially and otherwise, most advocates urge
the public schools to take an infusion approach to educating for
character’’.

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