A Cleric, Rt. Revd (Prof.) Adedapo Asaju, says the values of the late Political sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, are needed to develop Africa, entrench good governance and build the continent’s wealth for posterity.
Asaju, also a former Vice-Chancellor, Ajayi Crowther University (ACU) in Oyo Town, spoke as the Guest Speaker at a virtual lecture on Sunday night to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Obafemi Awolowo Foundation (OAF) and the posthumous birthday of Awolowo.
Asaju, while enumerating some of the values of Awolowo, said that politicians in Nigeria and Africa by extension, should imbibe those values to ensure good governance and address challenges facing the continent.
According to him, his values include: courage to do the right things at the right time for the good of the people. The fear of God and righteous living and a life dependent on God.
“Others are contentment, humility and endurance, the rule of law, justice and fairness.
“These are the values that we need to be able to develop Africa today,” he said.
Asaju said that the contributions of Awolowoto the nation’s development of the country and the continent were numerous, especially its impact on health, agriculture and education, to say the least.
He referred to Awolowo as “a prophet, whose prophecy about the future of Nigeria has come to pass as the country struggles through political and social quagmire of all imaginable proportions till date”.
In his address, a former President of Ghana, Mr John Mahama, congratulated the foundation on its 30th anniversary, which he said, coincided with his country’s independence celebration.
Mahama, who spoke as the Chairman of the event, described Awolowo as “a strong fighter against colonisation”, saying that the role he played was important in the early years of Nigeria’s independence.
“The world is changing very fast and we have to keep track of what is happening and that is why this lecture is very important in respect of the values we need,” he said.
Also, a former Military Head of State in Nigeria, Retired Gen. Yakubu Gowon, said that March 6 was historical in the history of Nigeria.
Gowon, who is also the Chairman Board of Trustees of the Foundation, said this was
“because it was the birthday of the late elder, sage and statesman, Chief Jeremiah Obafemi Awolowo.
“That this meeting is virtual, forced on us by the protocol of COVID-19, is a tribute to the ‘never say die’ spirit of Awolowo, who thrived best in the most difficult circumstances,” he said.
Gowon said that the foundation since its inception, had kept faith with the vision of Awolowo and had continued to impact in the continuous search for Nigeria’s transformational leaders.
“The foundation has continued to make quality engagement on good governance and has established a well-regarded leadership prize to encourage excellence and distinction in service to society,” he said.
Earlier, Dr Tokunbo Awolowo-Dosumu, said the foundation had taken up responsibility to encourage contemporary leaders and citizens to make a considerable body of ideas that Awolowo left for posterity a constant reference point.
Awolowo-Dosumu said that the foundation sought to sustain the core essence of Awo’s legacy and hopefully protect it from vagaries of partisan politics, hence the various lectures organised in his memory.
In their separate goodwill messages, eminent personalities, including the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar, Chairman Nigeria Governors’ Forum and Gov. Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti, among others, eulogies the late Awolowo and extolled his virtues and contributions to the development of Nigeria.