Kolade Canvasses Youth Empowerment for Nigeria’s Growth

Chris Kolade

Funmi Ogundare

Nigeria’s former High Commissioner to the UK, Dr. Christopher Kolade has stressed the need for the youths to be given the capacity to learn effectively; this he said is a proviso to bringing up successful leaders and ensuring a better society.

Kolade, who said this at the silver jubilee lecture of Olashore International School, Osun State with the theme ‘Leadership and Social Change: Developing 21st Century Leaders for Africa’, in Lagos, bemoaned a situation where the country keeps doing the same time year after year and expecting a change.

He said “unless we apply the things that we learn, we may not be able to change our society the way it ought to be.

“One of our problems in this country is leadership. We lack the capacity to learn effectively and we keep doing the same thing year after year with an expectation that things would change. Our role is to see what we can do to solve the existing problem through a capacity to learn.”

Kolade, who was chairman at the occasion, described the founder of the school, Oba Olashore as a man who practiced noble values and maintained a high level of discipline during his life time, adding that one of the driving forces of the school is to make Nigeria a better place.

In his keynote address, the founder, African Leadership Academy, Mr. Fred Swaniker said he believes that every society needs good leaders and that the difference they will make will go a long way.

He regretted that Africa does not have strong institution as a result of bad leadership, adding that Rwanda has gone ahead of other African countries despite its genocide issue and was able to surmount its challenges in 25 years because of good leadership.
“In this continent, we must not lose hope despite all the challenges that we see. We need a sense of urgency in Nigeria which has taken over from India that has the highest number of people in extreme poverty in the world.

He said a nation could create conditions for young people to grow as leaders and drive change rather than wait for institutions to do so.
“The role of an institution like Olashore to develop good leadership cannot be overestimated, it is a necessity. Our perspective is that leadership is not something you can teach, but can be learnt. We need to instill in the youths the confidence and sense of service that will make them to serve others rather than enriching themselves,” Swaniker stressed.

He highlightred some traits that make a good leader to include having passion to solve problems; having an imagination and inspiring people; being guided by values, as well as having courage and resilience.

“Transforming Africa cannot be achieved overnight, it starts by transforming the youths. We cannot continue to do things in the conventional way, but through innovation. Leaders need to be put in challenging circumstance so that they can be relevant.”

The guest lecturer and former Vice-Chancellor, University of Lagos, Professor Oye Ibidapo-Obe, who spoke on ‘Role of Education in Philanthropy and Community Development’, affirmed that the country has the responsibility to change the narrative through reorientation of the youths.

This move he said will bring about a class of leaders that have imbibed the spirit of philanthropy“Community development is very important. We need to create confidence in the minds of young people, give our time and share knowledge with them so that they can support philanthropic gesture.”

He described the 25th anniversary as a call to total restoration of values, while stressing the need to teach young people to be innovative by using humanities to transform the society.

In her remarks, the Chairperson of the foundation, Princess Olapeju Sofowora recalled the school’s achievements in the last 25 years, saying that it has been able to produce a dynamic group of leaders who are transforming the country.

“We have been able to achieve this through vision, passion and a commitment from the whole school community that we can truly transform our country and continent by raising a generation of leaders imbued with honesty, service and honour. Since 1994, Olashore International School has been committed to two key things; traditional values and preparing students for the future.

The programme witnessed the unveiling of Olashore’s 25th anniversary book and Olashore International School Association (OISA) Foundation.