Oladele Ogunsola – Ibadan
An educationist and former Chairman of Oyo State Universal Basic Education Board (OYO SUBEB), Prof. Soji Adejumo has told Nigerian youths agitating for leadership position to, first of all, be grounded in whatever they choose as professions so as to be able to do well in office if and when they get leadership positions.
He quickly added, however, that to attain this, the youths would have to drastically scale down their love for frivolities, stressing that the valuable time they spend watching African Magic, tweeting, whatsapping, face-booking and other social media menace should be devoted to seeking for knowledge.
The Professor of Animal Science made this remark in his contribution at ‘The First Awolowo Legacy Lecture’ organized by the Obafemi Awolowo Foundation for the Obafemi Awolowo Hall of residence, the University of Ibadan at the Trenchard Hall of the university on Tuesday.
Recalling that his generation was not subjected to the kind of distraction today”s youths face, which he said informed the attainment of their goals, he charged that the present day youths would have to be highly self-disciplined for them to wean themselves off the distractions that come with technology.
The educationist, who cited the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) Prof. Adeyinka Aderinto (the representative of the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Abel Idowu Olayinka as an example of a focused youth disclosed that the DVC was at a time his student and could not have attained the position if he had allowed distraction to take his time.
“I obtained my Ph.D.at the age of 26 from this university and without being immodest, it was possible for me because I did not subject myself to frivolities and unnecessary distractions as some of our today’s youths do. Thus, to attain position of leadership, give yourselves to serious studies, because that was why the personality we are here celebrating today, the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo could make his mark and still maintains relevance decades after his demise”, Prof. Adejumo asserted.
In addition to serious studies, he also counselled the youths to demand from the government the overhauling of the current educational curriculum in the country, which he said lacks the capacity to propel the youths to the enviable height their counterparts elsewhere attain.
He maintained that unless the curriculum is overhauled and made technologically compliant, the country would continue to turn out unemployable graduates year-in-year-out and not only that, their ability to compete favourably with their colleagues globally will be greatly impaired.
In her opening remark, the Executive Director of the Awolowo Foundation, Amb. Dr. Olatokunbo Awolowo-Dosumu disclosed that the programme was the first the Foundation would hold in Ibadan despite the significant position of Ibadan in the political career of the late sage and expressed happiness that the jinx was broken at last.
She used the opportunity to borrow a leaf from the life and times of the late Chief Awolowo, whom she said was committed to selfless service in his political career and this she said earned him a place of pride in the nation’s history.
To achieve his goal, Dr. Awolowo-Dosumu recalled that her father loathed indolence and called on today’s youths to embrace hard work, which she described as the only antidote to poverty and deprivation.
She also counselled them to exhibit courage and determination to lead, the attributes she said paved way for her late father to show his leadership potentials, which today had become reference point, noting that the youths must organize themselves and make serious and concerted demand for leadership positions.
In his paper titled ‘The Nigerian Youth and Leadership Challenge’, Bashorun Dayo Israel, he pointedly told the youths that they would eternally wait for leadership positions if they are expecting the current leaders to yield the positions for them.
Quoting Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu who said “power is not served ‘a la carte’, the young mam said the youths had to shake off every barrier of limitations placed on their ways by religion, culture and even social in some instances.
Recalling that he was raised by a single parent as from age 11, when he lost his father in a single room where eight of them were living in Ebute-Meta, Lagos, Israel said he did not allow his condition and background to hinder him from attaining his goal of becoming somebody in life.
Stating that he had interacted with over hundred head of countries across the globe, including Queen Elizabeth 11 of England and late Nelson Mandela, former President of South Africa among others, Israel said it was his personal efforts with the grace of God upon him to be what he has become.
The young man disclosed that he had made up his mind to challenge his political leaders in his constituency to contest in the 2019 election, asking Nigerian youths to brace up and ready to challenge the political status-quo in their various constituencies and by doing so, the elders would be gradually yielding positions to them.
He also called on the parents to always inculcate in their children those values that would always propell their children to strive for greatness, recalling how his mother used to drum it into his hearing at his formative years that three generations must not be poverty stricken (iran meta o gbodo tosi), an admonition he said became his ‘ringing tone’.
Emeritus Professor of Literature, Prof. Niyi Osundare in his remark enjoined the youths to stop negative confession about the country, stressing that any youth that makes negative comment about the country and still goes ahead to marry and bring forth children to the same country he had spoken ill of should be charged to court by such children.
Insisting that there’s nothing wrong with the country, he posited that individuals should check themselves and consciously determine that they want a decent society and it shall surely be.