What I Owe My Country | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Comment, Opinion

What I Owe My Country

Posted: May 18, 2015 at 12:45 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

The Presidential, National Assembly and gubernatorial elections might have come and gone, the lessons embedded in them will remain with us for some time to come. One of such lessons which has refused to leave the headlines is the spirit of statesmanship, and if you like, sportsmanship exhibited by President Goodluck Jonathan, through the ‘early concession’ of defeat even while results were yet to be fully collated. The courage and maturity of Mr. President was well commendable just like that of Professor Attahiru Jega, the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

More of this Jega should be looked for in the service to their fatherland. Looking for more Jegas will indeed save the souls of our dear country as President-elect, General Muhammadu Buhari and the Vice-President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo (SAN), comb the country for capable hands that will in turn help to bring about the desired change in the security situation, power, economic doldrums, disturbing youth unemployment, pervasive corruption and the bigger-than-institutions mentality of a few privileged Nigerians.  What I owe my beloved country is join in the search to scout, seek and suggest names of men and women who have proven to put country above self.

In defining success, Warren Buffet, world third wealthiest man writes: “True success comes from working for a purpose greater than your own well-being”. The list of men and women who, in my measured opinion, consider nation before self can never be exhaustive, but rather advisory.

Other Nigerians that should make the Buhari cabinet include Senator Adegbenga Sefiu Kaka; Professor Oluwafemi Balogun; Professor Oladapo Afolabi; Mr. Rotimi Adebari; Chief Lawrence Osayemi; Mr. Edward Balogun and Dr. SAJ Ibikunle, among others. Rotimi Adebari,  first black Mayor of Portlaoise,  Republic of Ireland is not just of Africa descent like President Barrack Obama of the United States,  he is a Nigerian genuinely concerned about the goings on in his fatherland, even to a fault. What did he do to get elected from the crowd in the UK: selfless community service?

After Adebari is a President Buhari-like character, I mean Senator Kaka, who currently represents Ogun East in the National Assembly. “I do not know why people should mill around your House if you had done the needful by way of needs-aligned empowerment, “was how he responded to a poser about the “serenity of his Ijebu-Igbo home, despite being a politician of note”. But how did this farmer, University of Ibadan alumnus gets to become, first, a Commissioner for Agriculture, then a Deputy Governor and now a Senator?  The answer lies in cheer providence, but providence to the extent that he takes the challenges of others first,  for calculated solutions;  he believes he should be concerned about not only the present, but the future of others, by building classrooms, teachers common room, health centers, embarking on youths and women empowerment facilities.

This patriotic Nigerian keeps buying into the future of the generations unborn by impacting across the nine local government areas in his constituency of Ogun East. He keeps buildings institutions and naming them after people who had contributed in one way or the other to benefiting communities. Professor Oluwafemi Balogun was for four years steering the ship of the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB), as its 4th substantive Vice-Chancellor (2007-2011). A man of very rough beginning, he identifies people in that same bracket of life to impact on their lives.

He could sometimes appear to be rough in handling thorny issues as VC, but often times, he was tough and thorough, thereby bringing the University to World reckoning by being ranked 2nd in Africa under his watch. His administrative and financial engineering prowess once caught the attention of the Tertiary Education Trust  Fund (TETF), which gave his institution extra revenue for several projects.

As the former Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Governing Council of the institution, Chief Lawrence Osayemi, also could help in salvaging the country. The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN), Fellow and Lawyer, his sense of patriotism and humility are exemplary.

I also owe this nation, even amid my many worries about this change, that this octogenarian could be handy for genuine national service. A British trained Dental Surgeon and sports enthusiast, Otunba Olu of Ilaro, Dr. SAJ Ibikunle, has taken it upon himself to variously source technological equipment from all over America for onward distribution to primary, secondary and tertiary institutions here in Nigeria.

Again, coming into my mind in no particular order is the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Council of the Oyo State Technical University,  Professor Oladapo Afolabi, who is using his second hand to overseer the prestigious “The Polytechnic, Ibadan”, also as Chairman of Council. Professors abound, but his kind is in short supply when you consider everything: holistic-duty, dedication, efficiency, integrity, willingness to offer oneself and wait for it.

Finally, I humbly submit that while it is not morally safe to deny a dog a bone-meat snatched in a contest, it is expedient to think that the remaining bone-meat be jealously guided by the owner. Therefore, a fifty-fifty composition of the recovery team to steer Nigeria to safety is being advised, to be filed by the political class and the technocrats. This is the best time to get the best to serve their country. This I owe my country. God has blessed Nigeria; let’s bless her by our contributions.


 • Adeleyem, wrote in from the FCT.