Uchechukwu Nnaike

A former Minister of Education Dr. Oby Ezekwesili has stressed that the country can only make progress when the right kind of people with the selflessness and the sense of sacrifice and service become leaders.

Ezekwesili, who was the guest speaker at the graduation ceremony of the class of 2018 of Greensprings Secondary School, Lekki, Lagos, said “society has a way of losing its moral compass, when it loses its moral compass, the leaders must arise from among us and mobilise everybody towards a new direction, meaning a new normal because a society that normalises aberrant behaviour as its code of conduct will be a society in crisis.”

The former Vice-President of the World Bank, who described institution as values that underpin the building of the way a society runs, said: “If we do our things through vices, we won’t have institutions; if we do our things through values, we will have institutions and the gap between where we are and where we need to be is available to be filled by quality leadership and that quality leadership will be leaders who have character, leaders that are competent, and leaders who have made an effort to use knowledge as a basis to know how to solve different problems that are around them.”

As the election year approaches, she advised Nigerians to say no to status quo leaders, who are so obsessed about themselves that they have no time for what the rest of society needs.

“We need leaders who are inclusive, who are able to manage our diversity well, we need leaders who are selfless; they do not care about what benefits them, but what benefits the rest of society. We need leaders who have character, who are competent and who have capacity. Leaders with character are incorruptible, leaders with competence are 21st century leaders; they know everything that the world of technology is saying to nations and people.

“Leaders of capacity will not be daunted by the sheer scale of problems that they have to fix. So we need leaders with character, value-based leaders, who live their values, not the ones who speak it alone and they will take us to a new normal and remove us from this normalised sense that vices are rewarding.”

To the graduands, Ezekwesili said the world they belong to is not a small or local world, but a global world and that they are global citizens to the extent that they can see that their skills and competences must be global in nature and that they can hold their own when put side by side their contemporaries from other countries.

She also reminded them that today’s world of technology gives them a totally different dimension of problem-solving than that of their parents.

The Executive Director of the school, Mrs. Lai Koiki said the graduands have been well prepared as the school gave them holistic education, adding that the future is bright for them.

She stressed the importance of thinking skills, among other social skills that the school instils in its students because “because the world is just changing and we don’t have the blueprint of what they will be experiencing and so the best thing to give them is skills to cope with anything that they come across and that is what we have done and I am confident.”

Koiki advised the graduands to continue to trust in God and hold on to all the values they were taught “because out there, so many choices will be staring them in the face and the only way to take a decision is to ask themselves if the choices align with their values and it is only when they align that such decisions can be taken.”