The fabric of society is held together by the standards of morality that we maintain and practice. These standards are what we refer to as Values.
Values can be defined as a set of enduring beliefs or ideals shared by the members of a culture about what is good or desirable and what is not. It is a set of principles or beliefs concerning the things of ultimate importance.
Values are the things we consider or regard as having ultimate importance, significance or worth.
The online Wikipedia defines values as “broad preferences concerning appropriate courses of action or outcomes”. As such, values reflects a person’s sense of right or wrong or what ought to be.
Values are our personal set of beliefs about what is important, unimportant, right, wrong, good and bad. In other words, values are a kind of map within our minds of how things are or should be. Values are basically our perception of the principles of nature that govern our lives or the universe, not the principles themselves.
Our values epitomises who we are and what we do. It determines our actions and inaction. We cannot act contrary to our values because our values define our personality.
You do not need to ask a person what value he or she holds dear, by simply taking a sneak peep into their lives, you will be able to tell. Our goals, dreams, ambitions, actions, reactions and so on all give a bird’s eye-view into our personal values.
In similar vein, one of the ways to understand the value of a nation is to look into the nation’s budget. What takes center stage in the budget? What are the things of utmost priority? What sectors get what allocations?
In the words of Barrack Obama, “The budget is more than just a series of numbers on a page; it is an embodiment of our values.”
The UN recommends that governments spend at least six percent of their GDP on education. If truly a government values education, how much of the budget is being located to education? We cannot claim to value education and then pay lip service to it in the budget. How much do we allocate to capital expenditure as against recurrent expenditure?
We should always remember that the content of our budgets reflects the values of the whole nation. How we spend our resources indicate in real terms what really are important to us as a people.
Recently, we gathered that the Nigerian Senate has started taking delivery of 108 Toyota Land Cruiser Sports Utility Vehicles (SUV) it ordered for members at the cost of N3.8 billion- with allegations rife that the vehicles where purchased at double the original price (N35.1 million as against N17 million). All this at a time when there are allegations and counter allegations regarding the inclusion and exclusion of the Lagos -Calabar rail project in the 2016 budget.
Values can never be hidden and often times, our actions are so loud, people cannot hear what we are saying.
The question then is : What really are our national Values?
If our nation must change, our values must change first.
Let’s remember that “change will not happen if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for; we are the change that we seek.”
Featured image source: dailytrust.com.ng