Ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has described the displacement of the values of honesty and hard work by the love for money and other material things as one of the causes of the problems before Nigeria.
Obasanjo said this on Friday in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, at the inauguration of the Prof Abayomi Oluwatosin Jiboku Building and Entrepreneurship Centre at the Lariken International College.
He said the amount of money and number of cars, as well as houses built by individuals, should not be taken to determine their level of success but their positive contributions to the society and the number of lives they affected.
The ex-president said it was unfortunate that Nigerians had jettisoned the values of integrity, truthfulness and love for one’s neighbours with the strong desire to get rich quickly and by all means.
He, however, said nobody could buy his conscience, no matter the amount of money offered.
Obasanjo said, “One of the ways we have problems in our society today is the values we cherish. Money-making is the value now pervasive.
“In Yorubaland, money-making is not one of the values that we take to. Omoluabi, truthfulness, integrity, truth, industry and hard work were our values. Where have they gone? Why have we put them aside and all we are striving for is money? Where is honour in our values?
“Nowadays, anyone who has money can buy anything but not with me. If you have money, you cannot buy my conscience and support for anything. In any case, if you have all the money in the world, of what purpose will it be?
“How do you describe success? I define success as you making a place better than you met it. It is not the amount of money you have, not the number of houses built, not the number of cars you have. It is how much you have contributed to making a place better than you find it.”
He lauded the standards of the college while stressing that there was a need for school curriculum to be designed for the training of both the mind and the hands.
Obasanjo said, “If we are going to get out of insecurity, banditry, Boko Haram, kidnapping and other criminalities, we will have a long gestation period of training and educating all Nigerian children.
“Education is the beginning of the life well-lived. God has given each and every one of us innate abilities. It is when those innate abilities are developed that we can be the best in our own self-service, in the service of our nuclear and extended families, in the service of our community and in the service of our nation and the world.”
The Director of Lariken International College, Mr Idowu Jiboku, said education would continue to evolve in line with the needs of society.
He said the school was laying emphasis on entrepreneurship because of the role this could play in addressing the unemployment problem in the country and by extension reducing poverty and insecurity.