The former Vice-Chancellor, Ondo State University of Science and Technology (OSUSTECH), Prof. Tolu Odugbemi, has stressed the need for the country to have a proud and cohesive people where appropriate values and attention are placed on key sectors such as education, human rights and security by government.
He said investment in the key areas especially the education sector wouldbring a future and hope for this generation and future generations.
Odugbemi, who said this recently at a reception held in his honour tagged, ‘An Hour with the Doyen’ by the management of University of Lagos (UNILAG), stressed that honesty, hard work and expression of all good values that were honoured in the old days and even taught as civics should be brought back as attributes of good citizens, rather than the acquisition of wealth by any means.
“There is unbridled and reckless display of wealth, which should have been directed to productive ventures in health, education and agriculture. There should also be a workable code of conduct amongst various professional groups; teachers, judges, doctors, civil servants etc. Monies are recklessly spent in public places to show off.
“This behaviour is not good for the country as it sends wrong signals to our youths. Our administration has pivotal role to get us out of the ‘hopelessness’ and ignorance/misconceptions.”
Odugbemi said attention must be paid to the implementation of good ideas if they are to be useful for positive change in the country, adding that character building must accompany any form of learning for graduates to be relevant in the society. “We Nigerians must re-assure ourselves that we can rebuild our societies by refocusing our values on positive and virtuous traits.”
The don expressed concern about the country’s education sector, saying that instead of thecurrent education system helping to propel the country forward, the country faces a gloomy state of decay because of wrong ideas and teachings that made ‘self’ instead of the ‘society’ the centre of development.
“The over-development of “self” in positive ways would not have harmed the nation but the greed attached to ‘self-development’ has. There are supervisory bodies set up to monitor development of education in our schools and higher institutions. Some members of such supervisory bodies are generally uninformed about their duties, and responsibilities attached to their offices.
“While some work very hard for excellence others see membership of such bodies as opportunities to ‘make it’. Projects to be supervised by supervisory bodies become personal ‘projects’ of self-aggrandisementthey execute with nothing to show at the end of the day. Even the funds for execution of necessary projects are usually taken to be ‘for sharing’.
“Deceit, insincerity and abuse of office are rampant. Harassment of ‘those not playing ball’ is the order of the day. Manipulation of admission, promotion and appointments processes is reaching unacceptable and intolerable level. As university administrators, we must lead the way and have the courage and integrity to get ourselves out of this state of ‘hopelessness’,” the don said.