UDEKE CHARLES NDUBUISI
POPE JOHNPAUL 11 MAJOR SEMINARY, AWKA
Nigeria as a nation is ravaged by many internal problems. It is no longer news even to the blind that things are not the way they should be in our society. Nigeria problem is hydra-headed. Many scholars have viewed it from the different perspective as corruption, problem of leadership, indiscipline, greediness, consumerism, et cetera. Squander mania mentality is not out of the list. The rate at which people spread dollars at occasions is quite embarrassing. The history of Nigerians is that of a people in search of naira and the ostentatious show of wealth. Some people construe squandeermaniarism as a means of ascertaining themselves in the society. So, the more ostentatious you are, the more you are socially recognized and canonized. The root cause of social evil in our society is nothing but consumer consciousness. In bid to have more in order to spend extravagantly people often indulge in all kinds of ills like: kidnapping, bribery, drug addict, money laundry, stealing, armed robbery, gangsterism, corruption and embezzlement. Squandermania consciousness has turned some of our leaders into caterpillars’ of common wealth. In fact the evil malice in us has been exalted to the point of genius in some of us. Moreover, in January 1987, the Anambra State government under the governorship of Captain Emeka Omeruah organized a crusade against squandermania. They so accurately deciphered the basis of indiscipline and underdevelopment in our nation as squandermania mentality. In this work we shall be looking at squandermania mentality as the root cause of our social evil and the possible remedy. In order to better appreciate this topic, let us explicate the basic concept. CONCEPTUALIZATION OF TERMS.
Squandermania mentality literally means conscious wasteful or useless spending on daily basis. According to Okolo (1994:9) it is that disposition in a people by which they conceive and judge things by their consumable value. On the whole the society becomes one dominated largely by acquisitive rather than productive instincts.’ Thus, for him it is materialistic consumable outlook on things. Then, Prof. P.N. Ejiofor (1986:3) viewed the term conspicuous consumption as ‘living above one’s resources and for the overall standard of living of the society for one’s inordinate self aggrandizement.’ For him, it is spending unnecessarily. Here, squandermania mentality may be used interchangeably with consumer consciousness or conspicuous consumption. Based on this based backdrop, let us know to what extent squandermania mentality is the root cause of our social evil. SQUANDERMANIA MENTALITY IN NIGERIA: THE STORY SO FAR.
Today, in our towns and villages, people both rich and poor, indulge in consumer consciousness such as charging astronomically high bride prices, engaging in costly wedding ceremonies, pompous burial ceremonies, expensive chieftaincy title-taking, excessive feasting, excessive eating and drinking, and useless spending in luxurious cars and colossal village mansions. Prof. Ejiofor (1984:90) attempted to paint a picture of an aspect of conspicuous consumption as it pertains to our burial ceremonies. “First the corpse may be embalmed, and left in the mortuary for a period ranging from three days to two or three months. During this time, a new building is set up, if the dead did not build one in his life time, but if he did, the house and the walls are renovated.” In the same vein, pomp and pageantry go with weddings, birthday celebrations, title taking, chieftaincy installations, graduations, ordinations, and house warming ceremonies, etc. In fact, Nigerians are drunk with life of ostentation. We place undue emphasis in material social values as a way of life of a people. Thus material success and possession are highly valued in the social and cultural...