REPOSITIONING NIGERIA: TODAY’S LEADERS OR TOMORROW’S YOUTHS?
Delivered at the Obafemi Awolowo Hall Inter-Hall Rookies Oratory Contest, 2019
Rookies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Did you know that it is possible to have both Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo in the same team and still get beaten? Just put Ronaldo in the defence and Messi on the goalpost and BOOM! you are on your way to glorious losses. This proves that no matter the talents or resources present in a person or team if they are not well-positioned, victory is far.
In the same vein, no matter the level of abundance of natural and human resources present in a nation, if they are not properly harnessed or positioned, development will be no more than a dazzling mirage. There’s no better example to prove this than the case of our own dear country, Nigeria. Like a team with Ronaldo and Messi, our country is filled with an abundance of resources and people. According to the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, Nigeria is the highest exporter of crude oil in Africa. According to the Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), Nigeria has the potential of being the food basket of Africa because of our fertile land. Should we even start talking of our solid mineral resources, our tourist centers or even our human resources?
However, because we have made Ronaldo a defender and Messi a goalkeeper by not harnessing our resources to the fullest potential, we score no goals and we lose, back to back!
In the context of the topic before us, to reposition Nigeria is to change the negative image of the nation and balance her on the path towards sustainable development. And to achieve this, we’re considering the effectiveness of two distinct factors;
Number one: Today’s leaders.
Today’s leaders are perhaps the very reason we are discussing repositioning Nigeria. As an educated citizen, I find it very embarrassing that in over 60 years, we’ve “recycled” the same kind of leaders. Some of whom answer youth-related questions with prepared speeches on climate change. It is unacceptable.
To reposition Nigeria, we must have leaders who represent Nigeria. Leaders who represent our intellectual strength and who embody the vibe of our young population.
The second distinct factor: Youths tomorrow.
One major thing we have wrongly positioned in this nation is our vibrant youth population. Youth all over the world are known to be at the forefront of designing and building the future. Young people are very likely to challenge the status quo than any other category of the population. We need them on the attack against poverty; against corruption, on the defense – protecting our national image. Not on the sidelines, picking balls.
In conclusion, just as a team of the greatest sportsmen in the world has to be properly positioned for them to score goals, we have to properly position our resources and blessings as a nation for us to achieve our goals.