Dr Christopher Kolade
By James Sowole
Former Nigerian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Dr Christopher Kolade, Saturday tasked Nigerians to utilise their energies and potentials towards making the country great nation, saying every citizens of the country have roles to play in the task of lifting the country.
Kolade spoke in Akure, Ondo State capital, where he chaired a lecture delivered by the former Minister of External Affairs, Prof. Bolaji Akinyemi, as part of the activities for the inauguration of Dr. Olusegun Mimiko for second term in office.
The reaction of Kolade came when Nigeria’s defender in the just concluded African Cup of Nations, Godfrey Oboabona, of the Sunshine Football Club, Akure was introduced to the gathering at the lecture and was given a loud ovation by all, including top dignitaries.
The former high commissioner, who said he noticed the standing ovation that greeted the introduction of the Sunshine Stars Football Club captain, said the performance of the player and that of his colleagues had brought glory to Nigeria and which must serve as a challenge to all.
Oboabona, was a product of the Ondo State Football Development Agency before he joined the state-sponsored football club from where he was invited to the national team, Super Eagles, that won the African Cup of Nations won last by Nigeria in 1994.
Buttressing the comment of Kolade, the guest lecturer urged the people to learn from the high level of patriotism demonstrated by another skillful member of the victorious Super Eagles, Victor Moses, who despite the calamity that befell his family during a riot in Kaduna, which made him to leave Nigeria with his uncle for the United Kingdom.
Akinyemi said despite the harrowing experience of losing his father and mother in most cruel manner, he still came back to feature for the Nigerian team despite an offer for him to play in the English national team even after he played for the England junior national side.
He said the level of patriotism demonstrated by Moses showed that there is hope for Nigeria.
Reacting to a comment lamenting the level of poverty in the country despite the report that Nigeria produces about eight out of 16 billionaires in Africa, Akinyemi said no one can be a billionaire in Nigeria without been corrupt.
Akinyemi said for somebody to become a billionaire in Nigeria, “he or she must have involved one way or the other, in corrupt practices which include : tax evasion, using government money for personal business, going through illegal means to win contracts from the government and host of other corrupt practices.”
The lecturer lamented that Nigeria’s judicial system encourages corruption as lawyers collaborate with corrupt people to circumvent the law while judges use their discretionary powers to grant bail in favour of those being prosecuted for charges of corruption.
In the lecture proper, Akinyemi who expressed satisfaction about the performance of Mimiko in his first term in office, urged him to maintain the tempo of developmental projects put up by his administration in the next four years.
Stating that Mimiko would be under intense pressure to do more for the people, Akinyemi urged the governor not to rest on his oars.
“I commiserate and feel sorry for him because having set such high standards of achievements, he is going to be under considerable pressure to maintain that high level of achievements for second term.
“Now that Governor Mimiko has scored a distinction in the first term, I am also expecting another Grade A performance during this term.
“I know what Ondo State looked like in the 50s at least as seen through the eyes of a young adult. I have seen what it looked like in the 1990s and what it looks like now.
“I am impressed by what I see. It has been a long journey and you should be proud of how much things have changed within such a time frame.
“We are celebrating a democracy-driven development icon. I concede that in Ondo, Lagos, Rivers and Edo States, I can see evidence of dividends of governance, in this case democratic governance system of government,” he said.