Meaning of Citizenship Education
A citizen is a person who is born in a particular country. It also suggests a person or someone who lives in a particular country or state and has rights and responsibilities in that country.
Therefore, citizenship education is defined as an education given to a person who has the legal right of belonging to a particular country. It is also an education given to a person who owns loyalty or allegiance to a government and is entitled to its protection. It is used to express the status of an individual who possesses full political right. Such individuals are meant to perform certain duties and obligation to the state in order to enjoy or have access to privileges and benefits accrued to their citizenship status.
Citizenship education implies that citizens be aware of laid down laws i.e. the constitution of their country. The constitution is the basic guide stating what is expected of citizens and what they are forbidden to do.
These laid down rules are conditions given to citizens to keep and abide by. Anyone who breaks these laid down rules is punishable under the same law. All citizens are to be treated equal under the law.
Duties and Obligation of Citizens to their Community and Country
Duties of Citizens
Duties can be referred to those things a citizen should do because they are legally and morally right. It is the responsibility of a citizen to do what is legally right in the country or community where he/she resides. A citizen has to accept certain duties such as:
- Obedience to rules and regulations: It is the duty of every citizen to obey the rules and regulations guiding the community where he or she belongs to. A good citizen must not break the rules and regulations guiding his community. For example, a citizen must not steal any government property or misuse any government property. He must obey those in authority.
- Hardwork: A good citizen must work hard for the progress of his or her community. A fast growing economy or developing country portrays a hard working populace. It is in the interest of every citizen to work and invest in development of their country. In a situation where there are lazy citizens or people in a community, there will be minimal development and low standard of living. A good citizen must work hard in order to raise the standard of development in his/her community.
- Payment of Taxes: It is compulsory for every citizen to pay his / her taxes. Taxes are the amount of money that must be paid to the government according to your income, business, property, goods etc. Obedience to the law of paying the taxes will help government to raise more funds for the development of other projects in a country. There are penalties in place for citizens who evade or refuse to pay their taxes.
- Environmental Sanitation: Environmental sanitation is the act or consciousness of maintaining a clean and conducive environment or surrounding in a community or country. Sanitation of an environment brings out the beauty of a country or state. For a country to look attractive it must be kept clean by the citizens. The refuse dump must be in appropriate place meant for it and the refuse must be disposed properly. Keeping the environment of the community clean ensures good health for the people and prevents the spread of infections. Proper disposal/recycling nylon wastes will ensure proper flow in drainages; improper disposal of nylon waste often leads blockage and eventual flooding of that environment. For instance, a good citizen must not drop any refuse on the main road or drop sachet of water anyhow on the road.
Obligations of citizens to their communities and country
Obligation is defined as a legal right expected of a citizen at all cost, whether it is convenient to do or not. When something is obligatory you have no option but to do that thing. For example, parents are under obligation to provide all the necessities of life for their children. Basic necessities such as: shelter, food, clothes, protection etc. As a student, you are to study hard so as to contribute your own quota to the development of your nation’s economy. This is an obligation for all citizens. Therefore, a citizen has the following obligations to his country:
- Promotion of Peace: Peace is a situation in which there is no war and when harmonious relationship exist in a country. Peace is also being free from violence and confusion. In a place where there is calmness and orderliness, peace will reign. In a place where there is fighting, destruction, lawlessness, disorderliness, violence etc ., such place is said to be in a state of war. The resultant effect of such state is loss of lives and properties of the people. Peace allows for progress and development in a community. Effective conflict mechanism should be put in place for peace to reign in the country.
- Security: This is the protection of lives and properties of the citizens within a country by guiding them against internal or external attack. The law enforcement agents like the army, air force, navy, police, customs, immigration etc, should be performing their duties to ensure protection of lives and property. It is the main duty of the security agents to protect lives and properties of citizens.
- Proper Use of Amenities: A good citizen should make proper use of amenities provided by the government. Once government provides any amenities with the tax payers’ money, everybody should see those amenities as their own personal property and make proper use of them. The mentality some people have is that, it is not their own hence the abuse of those amenities. For example, public toilets, pipe borne water, drainage, roads, parks etc. should be maintained and used properly.
Preservation of Our Traditions, Customs and Beliefs in Nigeria
A belief is defined as the feeling that something is definitely true and exist. For example, a religious belief teaches that God Almighty exists and He is the Creator of heaven and earth. Whosoever believes in God will not be ashamed.
Customs are the things that are done by people in a particular society because it is traditional. That means it is their way of life. Even if the family is from Igbo, Hausa and Yoruba land, family life education should not neglect the customs and traditions of people while training their children.
Tradition is defined as the beliefs, customs or way of doing something that have existed for a long time. Tradition is also, the customary pattern or thought or action. It is also, said to be handing down of beliefs and customs by word of mouth or without written instruction.
Therefore, the skills necessary for preservation of our traditions, customs, beliefs are as follows:
- Marriage custom.
- Language: This is one of the skills used for preservation of our traditions, customs, and beliefs. Citizens should learn their native language first before any other language. Learn to speak your language fluently and be proud of it in order to preserve the tradition, customs and beliefs.
- Dressing: People should not neglect their traditional attire or dressing. Citizen of a particular area should be very proud of dressing in their traditional attire. A good citizen should be very happy whenever he dressed in a traditional way. It is an exhibition of one’s custom and tradition.
- Food: A good citizen must learn how to prepare his native food and should be proud of eating his native food. In order to preserve the tradition, custom and beliefs, a citizen must not feel shy of eating his native food within and outside his / her domain.
- Greetings: A good citizen must learn the traditional way of greeting. For example, in Yoruba land, a male child has to prostrate and greet the elderly person. A citizen must be proud of his traditional greeting. It is one of the strong skills that help to preserve the traditions, customs and belief.
- Marriage Customs: A good citizen has to marry according to the traditional custom and norms. This is the union of couple in a traditional way. A citizen should be proud of marrying in a traditional way, in order to preserve the traditions, customs and beliefs. The traditional marriage custom of a particular place should be maintained.
- Festival: Festival is one of the strongest factors necessary to preserve our traditions, customs and beliefs. It refers to a time of celebration marked by special observance of rites or activities, especially an occasion marked with traditional ceremonies. It is also, a periodic season or program of cultural events or entertainment. Festival helps a citizen or individuals of a particular area to enjoy his traditions, customs and beliefs. For example, The Igbo’s celebrate New Yam Festival every year. Traditional festivals are also celebrated among other ethnic groups in Nigeria.
How to Promote National Consciousness, National Integrity and Unity
A nation is defined as the race of people controlled by a central government of that country. For example: Nigeria, Ghana, Cameroun, USA etc.
National Consciousness could be described as a form of awareness that one is a citizen of a particular nation. The Consciousness helps one to put the nation first in whatever one wants to do. It means to be patriotic, loyal and committed to things that would move the nation forward i.e. to contribute one’s quota to programmes and activities of the nation; to be a good ambassador of the nation. For instance, as a Nigerian who has the opportunity to represent the country at a social or sporting event either within or outside, one should not involve in any action that will put the nation in a state of disrepute.
National integrity is defined as having sound mind to completely value, cherish and uphold one’s nation. Citizens of a particular nation have to value what they have in their nation in order to bring progress or development to the nation. If every citizen should reason together with a sound mind about developing their nation, there would be existence of unity. Unity is a situation by which a group of people or individuals work together for a particular purpose.
National unity is the act of persuading people to believe and work together to make the idea of nation consciousness and integrity to be registered in the mind of individuals. In order to promote national unity, there should be constant practice and conscious effort in correcting those that flout the honour that the nation deserves. Examples of activities that promote national unity are: football competition, dancing competition, athletics competition etc.
Therefore how to promote national consciousness, national integrity and unity are as follows:
- Non discrimination among others.
- Tolerance: Tolerance is referred to as willingness or a way of allowing people to do what they want or say what they want without criticizing or punishing them. When you tolerate the bad aspect of a person, you will also learn the good part of such an individual. Tolerance promotes national consciousness, national integrity and unity in a country.
- Harmony: Harmony helps in the promotion of national consciousness, national integrity and unity in the sense that in a nation where citizens understand themselves, they will live and work together in a perfect harmony. In a nation where there is harmony there will be no fighting or disagreement, hence the promotion of social, economic and political development of that nation.
- Patriotism: This refers to one’s love toward one’s country or nation. In a nation where people have the spirit of patriotism, things will be moving smoothly in such a nation. For instance, if you love your nation or country, you will always think good of that nation and one would be committed towards the development of that nation. “Patriotic citizens would not contribute to insecurity but would report any suspicious element or act of violence.”
- Hospitality: This is a situation whereby a citizen exhibit friendly relationship towards visitors in the nation or country. Therefore, being friendly help to promote national consciousness, national integrity and unity.
- Inter-Marriage: Inter-marriage among different ethnic groups in country promotes the national consciousness, national integrity and unity. For example; In Nigeria, efforts should be made to encourage inter-marriage.
- Non-discrimination: In a nation where there is no discrimination, things will be progressing, because everybody sees themselves as one and as brother or sister. It is better not to discriminate in order to promote national consciousness, national integrity and unity.