Postcards From Africa | Fundamentals of Human Dignity by Pius Adesanmi


An old post by Pius Adesanmi, I posted it a few years ago and based on recent events in Nigeria, I think it’s worth re-posting again. All the salient issues he raised then are still very relevant today. Enjoy!

[Culled from his Facebook Page on December 16, 2013, and re-posted here]

Fundamentals of Human Dignity. A multilevel compulsory subject to be taught from Primary One to Primary Six, from JSS One to SSS Three, from One Hundred Level to Four Hundred Level.

APC Ogas if you are interested in building this into your vision, call me. You have my number. I wanted folks to know that I suggested this to you so we don’t turn it into behind-the-scenes backpatting talks (brilliant idea, Prof, we shall do it and it is not done); so that you don’t say that nobody drew your attention to the matter.

This is different from my regular calls for the reintroduction of civics into our school curriculum. Fundamentals of Human Dignity shall be an independent compulsory subject to be developed for all levels of education by a multidisciplinary team of experts.

Our self-inflicted postcolonial tragedies have turned our people to strangers to human dignity. Our people no longer require the leadership to humiliate them and undermine their dignity. They do a far better job of self humiliation and self-abasement than any leader could do.

We are on an autopilot of follower on follower humiliation and brutality. As a political party selling alternatives to the PDP’s abomination of desolation, you must understand that none of the programmes in your manifesto is even remotely feasible unless the people take baby steps toward unlearning brutalization; unless the people take baby steps toward re-learning human dignity. Take the epidemic of stripping women naked in our streets on the flimsiest of excuses.

You are still wondering whether to propose the death penalty for the growing tribe of male perpetrators of this national shame when news breaks that the latest pair of naked boobs and a vagina being paraded in our streets are the handiwork of an aggrieved woman.

Her husband is cheating on her. She proceeds to strip his female partner naked, helped of course by the usual cast of voyeuristic male suspects. So, male and female followers are stripping female followers naked in a national orgy of human indignity.

This spectacle of the disoriented naked female, hounded down the street by a club-wielding mob, cannot be divorced from the broader problem of the loss of the most rudimentary notions of human dignity in our society. What development can you propose in the absence of human dignity?

The people have to relearn it in the school system, aided by parents at home, pastors in the church, and imams in the mosque. Undermining human dignity is piece of cake; it’s a very easy instinct to acquire. The toughest cut, the hardest nut, is learning to uphold, respect, and value human dignity. That’s why we need to start yesterday.


Postcards From Africa is a WWN Feature focused on creating a new, positive and empowering narrative of Africa by Africans. This is a movement about igniting an empowered citizenry to make a difference by bridging the integrity gap.

It is about changing the status quo, from waiting passively for ‘leaders’, to us embracing a new paradigm that ‘WE’ are the leaders we seek. We are committed to empowering and celebrating a new generation of Transformational, Ethical and Creative African leaders, who are actively engaged in nation-buiding, one idea, one person, one project and one community at a time!

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