ETHICAL VALUES: FOUNDATION OF FUNCTIONAL SOCIETY
In the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, it is stated in Section 23 that the national ethics (values) shall be Discipline, Integrity, Dignity of Labour, Social Justice, Religious Tolerance, Self-Reliance and Patriotism.
The lack of these ethical values in our society has resulted into various forms of crimes committed on a daily basis; ranging from armed robbery, kidnapping, rape, domestic violence, child abuse, murder, burglary, financial crimes, cybercrimes, fraud, terrorism.
Ethical Values are a set of established principle governing virtuous behavior in a society. It is important that every society develops and promotes a set of suitable ethical values for citizens within the community to keep in mind when relating with others. Values which serve to distinguish between good and bad, right and wrong, moral and immoral. Ethical values frequently form a basis of what is permitted and what is prohibited within a society.
Universal or Core Ethical Values are trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring, and citizenship. These can be used as the basis for ethical thinking and to determine behaviours that uphold our values.
Trustworthiness concerns a variety of behavioral qualities — honesty, integrity, reliability and loyalty.
Respect is about honouring the essential worth and dignity of all people, including oneself. We are morally obligated to treat everyone with respect, regardless of who they are, and be the best we can be in all situations, even when dealing with unpleasant people.
Life is full of choices. Being responsible means being in charge of our choices and therefore our lives. It means being accountable for what we do and who we are. It also means recognizing that what we do, and what we don’t do, matters.
Fairness is impartial and just treatment or behaviour without favouritism or discrimination. It usually refers to a range of morally justifiable outcomes.
Caring is the heart of ethics. It is scarcely possible to be truly ethical and not genuinely be concerned with the welfare others. That is because ethics is ultimately about our responsibilities toward other people.