...Stress Need for Ethical Standards
...Harp on Citizens Rights, Accountable Governance
The Presidential Candidate of the Labour Party (LP) in the February 25th, 2023 elections, Mr. Peter Obi; the immediate past President, Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Mr. Olumide Akpata, Social Critic, Mr Dele Farotimi, have counseled Edo State youths on the need to imbibe the culture of self reliance, remain steadfast on ethical standards and also cultivate the spirit of production, as a means to better society.
The trio and others who spoke, including the former Edo State Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr. Anselm Ojezua and the Vice Chancellor, University of Benin, Prof. Lilian Salami; also harped on citizens rights and obligations, and the need to always hold government accountable by seeking justice where necessary.
They all spoke during the symposium and launch of three hand books: “Citizens Rights and Obligations,” “Ethics, Values and Youth Re-orientation, and “Cottage Industry for Agro and Mineral Raw Materials Processing in Edo State,” organised by Unuedo Renaissance in Benin City, capital of Edo State at the weekend.
While Obi, Akpata, Farotimi and Ojezua spoke as guest speakers, Prof. Salami who served as chairperson of the event also gave the Keynote Address.
Addressing participants who were majorly youths drawn from secondary and tertiary institutions in Edo, Obi, a former Anambra State Governor who spoke virtually, asked them to imbibe the spirit of production as a means to progress like other countries of the western world.
Obi said because he understood the importance of production, he had to ensure it becomes one of his mantras during the presidential campaign to emphasise that he would make the country shift away from consumption to production.
He also noted that the country attained its present state because of scarcity of role models including political leadership to drive the necessary change.
Obi who commended organisers of the event, Unuedo Renaissance, enjoined all and sundry to be steadfast on ethical standards to immediate community and state, pursue and seek justice when necessary, noting that these are some of the vital issues that will ensure brighter future for the youth in Edo State.
On his part, Akpata, the former NBA president, enjoined the youths to always strive to enthrone good leadership which is deficient in Nigeria.
He said "because we are poor in leadership and management, Nigeria as a country has remained the way it is."
According to him, "In Nigeria democracy, citizens don't matter and out of the equation", adding however, that if the people know the enormous power they have and utilise it, there is no way the country will not enthrone the right leadership that will drive the country to prosperity."
Speaking also on one of the thematic areas, 'Cottage Industries for Agro and Mineral Raw Materials Processing in Edo', Akpata quipped: "Industries cannot work without ethics and values because you cannot place something on nothing."
He said the best way to move forward is by making ethics, values an essential ingredients in whatever we do either at home, in school, church and workplace.
To Farotimi, how to get Nigeria working again based on the three thematic areas can only be achieved through good governance, right ethics and values; where the rule of law works; that is where there is equal rights and justice; and citizens are allowed to determine how they are governed.
He said the central point of getting the cottage industries running is by fixing power generation in a more decentralised manner like off grid, renewable energy and tapping other sources of energy.
In his contribution, the former chairman of APC and now chieftain of the PDP in Edo', Anselm Ojezua, lamented that while Nigeria as a country has so much, it has nothing paradoxically.
He said while it's is on record that there is no state and even local government area in Nigeria among all the countries in the world that does not have one mineral deposit or the other, yet it cannot create jobs.
He said the failure to do so is because the country export the jobs it should have created along with the exported raw material sold at peanuts.
Ojezua while praising the organizers, said the time has come for government at all levels to stand tall and agree that rather than exporting raw materials, we should produce those raw materials to finished products which would in turn guarantee jobs for the employed youths and others in the society.
In her keynote Address, Prof Salami, chairman of the occasion and Vice Chancellor, University of Benin, thanked Unuedo Renaissance for organising such a symposium to equip the youths with the necessary tools as citizens.
She said while citizens have right to life, liberty, fair hearing, quality educate as enshrined in the constitution, they should also know they have certain obligations to the state in form of respect to constituted authority, payment of taxes and levies.
On ethics and values, the UNIBEN VC, noted the need to abide by prescribed moral standards, noting that the major inhibitors to all these are week family upbringing, deficient leadership and widespread impunity in public places, illegitimate resource accumulation, corruption of political and public office holders etc.
The vice chancellor who was represented by the deputy Vice Chancellor (Administration), Prof. Kate Ogbomwan, advised youths to shun corruption both in public and in private, engage in civic education, pursue ethical revolution, hold leaders accountable at all times and organise orientation programmes rather than being mere critics, as well as create unity to enhance the state natural base for the benefit of all.
Earlier, President of Unuedo Renaissance, Nuhu Yakubu in his welcome address, said the objectives behind the programme was to empower the youths by introducing three remarkable handbooks namely; "Citizens Rights and Obligations", "Ethics, Values and Youth Re-orientation", and "Cottage Industries for Agro and Raw Materials Processing in Edo", adding that a combination of the books is the organisation's collective efforts to empower the youths of Edo State.
According to Yakubu, "The unveiling of these handbooks is a combination of our collective efforts to empower our young ones, instill unwavering values, prepare them for encouraging role of self sufficiency within our state and by so doing Nigeria at large."
He also pointed out that the gathering signified more than a book launch but an investment in the future of Edo State and nuturing of the potentials inherent in the youths who are the architects of tomorrow.
Yakubu further stated, "It is a manifesto to arming the youths with the tools and wisdom needed for the prosperous destination of of our dear state."
High point of the ceremony was the unveiling of the handbooks, powered by Unuedo Renaissance, an association of professionals resident within and outside Edo State in Nigeria and in the diaspora with the common objective to improve the socio-economic well being of the Edo people and the state, and a mission to be a rallying platform for professionals of Edo extraction with diverse fields of endeavour, common objective regardless of tribe, ethnicity and religions background.
It also possess the vision to continue to play a key role of connecting generations of Edo indigenes and bringing good governance to the people of the state.
Former President, Nigerian Bar Association, Mr Olumide Akpata (right), former Edo State Chairman of the All Progressive Congress (APC) and other guests at the event.
From left: Mr. Dele Farotimi; Labour Party chieftain, Prof. Kate Ukponwman, DVC, Administration, University of Benin; Mrs. Sarah Ajose-Adeogun, VP, Unuedo Renaissance; Mr. Nuhu Yakubu, President; and Mr. Olumide Akpata, fmr NBA President.