Speech/presentation by Dr. Chidi Okpaluba, Founder/President, Center for African Renaissance, Reformation and Development at the 8th Annual Center for Values in Leadership Lecture
I think it is obvious to every Nigerian that we need change in almost every aspect of our life. We need a total reorientation in our values as a nation, we need change in our approach to leadership, we need change in how we engage our leaders, we need change in our educational system that produces educated men and women that cannot use their education to either help themselves or the society. We need a radical change on how we demand performance from our leaders. We need a radical departure from our current cash and carry politics; where politics is seen as financial investment that must yield profits in terms of naira and kobo.
Further more, we need a change in the way we see and fight corruption. We need to know that corruption more than any other thing discourages innovation, creativity and the spirit of originality and excellence.
It creates the syndrome of why work hard, why think innovatively, why bother create, why go to school, why get more knowledge, when any one that is willing to play ball will get it.
In other climes, people perish for lack of knowledge, but in Nigeria, people suffer for knowledge, the ignorant is celebrated.
The change we need is to make a total break with our past, we need a drastic and fundamental departure from our historical past, a profound change in every aspect of our life. We need to make a total and complete new start. A sort of revolution, not violent or bloody as some would suggest but change, that is spontaneous, sweeping, deep and completely new. This change does not require any experience in our current system to run.
In fact the primary driver for this change will be lack of experience in the old system.
Who will drive the change?
The change will be driven by the impoverished masses, pauperized masses, the unemployed masses, the hungry and the innocent masses that have been rendered destitute by our collective failure: either failure on our part as leaders or failure as failed followers who knew the truth but chose to keep quite.
These people are made up of the YOUTHS. The people we deceive by calling the leaders of tomorrow.
The Youth: The Bridge to a new Nigeria
The Youth, the immobilized energy of this nation,
The Youth, the inert creative force of the nation,
The Youth the unemployed workforce of this nation,
The Youth; the misdirected passion of the nation,
The Youth the weakened strength of this nation, and
The Youth, the weakened bridge to our most desired new nation, must be awakened out of their unconscious slumber induced by the innocent conspiracy of the elders through ethnic, cultural and religious hypnosis.
How do we spark of the journey to a new nation?
We can only do this through a new form of education. Education that will reinvigorate our youths, awaken the giant within them, inspire them, motivate them, build up their bastardized self-esteem, energize them, give them back their power, and help channel their creative energies towards meaningful purposes.
We need a mass mobilization of this vital force of the nation, and inspire them to rise above money for votes, money for killing and all such association.
We need them to get back their true identity – which is the strength, back bone and wealth of the nation.
With this new identity, we can conveniently move into the next election. Once there is a collective resolve of the youths of this nation, to vote, and defend their votes, we can not have imposition of unpopular candidates.
Once the youths refuse to take money for votes or be used as assassins/thugs because now their self-worth has changed, we will not have our elections rigged.
We would be able to chase out the few greedy lots and despots that have bled this country to development anaemia and economic coma.
YOSFONN: This is an acronym for “Youth Stand For New Nigeria”.
Why would any youth stand for a new Nigeria?
This is because they have more at stake in Nigeria than any one else!
Most of the elders and the current band of leaders have lived out most of their lives and have little or nothing to loose if we do not get it right: after all they have secured their children’s future through good western education and some good deposits in western banks.
My plea to Elders
To ensure that your kids and wards can come back to a great new nation, and live in a safe comfortable environment, you need to support YOSFONN, in mobilizing, educating, motivating, and galvanizing the youths to truly stand and defend our journey to a new nation.
NOW I AM A VOICE
I WILL LEAD AND NOT FOLLOW
I WILL CREATE AND NOT DESTROY
I AM A FORCE FOR GOOD
I WILL DEFY THE ODDS AGAINST THE EMERGENCE OF A NEW NATION
I WILL SET NEW STANDARD FOR MYSELF AND OTHERS
I WILL STEP UP AND EMBRACE THE RACE FOR A NEW NIGERIA
And may we all rise and say…
THE TIME FOR CHANGE IS NOW!
THE PLACE TO START THE CHANGE IS RIGHT WHERE YOU ARE.
THE PERSON TO INITIATE THE CHANGE IS YOU.
WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR, BECOME PART OF THE MOVEMENT FOR A NEW NIGERIA.
LIVE THE CHANGE YOU WANT TO SEE IN NIGERIA.