Abeokuta—Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has warned that Nigeria will “fail completely” if the leaders fail to “accept and implement” what he called an “ethical revolution”.
Osinbajo said government must not only lead the ethical revolution to bring about the needed change in the country but also reward good conducts to encourage emulation and promptly punish misconduct to deter citizens from misconducts.
The Vice President said this while delivering a lecture, titled: Values: The Difference Between Success and Failure, at the 100th anniversary of the Old Boys’ Association of the Baptist Boys’ High School (BBHS) yesterday in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, according to the Nation newspaper.
He urged Nigerians to change the perception that corruption is only associated with the country, stressing that no modern society is free of it.
Osinbajo advised those in charge of the nation’s Education sector to impart the values of honesty, diligence, hard work, respect, trustworthiness, discipline and integrity in their students in order to raise youths with the right attitudes and mindset.
He said: “There is a need for a national consensus or, at least, an elite consensus. The political elites, the religious elites and the business elites must agree that our country will fail completely if we do not accept and implement an ethical revolution; one where we establish a national work ethics of honesty, of hard work.
“It is what is taught and learnt that shapes the character of individuals and nations. But it is not just teachings. Government must also lead this ethical revolution by rewarding ethical behaviours and ensuring speedy punishment for misconducts.
“Every modern society has had to deal with corruption. Corruption is not a Nigerian thing; sometimes, we deceive ourselves it is Nigerian. No.
“Many countries, in fact most countries of the world, had been more corrupt than us. But their elites sat down and decided they had to deal with it because if they did not deal with it, it would deal with them.
“There is no modern society today that has not had to deal with corruption and they dealt with it by their elites sitting down and saying we have to agree this is the way forward. We cannot continue to repeat the same thing; we must enthrone minimum ethical standard to succeed.”
Osinbajo also called for knowledge and skill-driven economy, saying the wealth of a nation is no longer in natural and mineral resources endowments alone.
The Vice President explained that modernity has made it clear that a nation’s wealth is in the knowledge and skills its people possess.
He added that those who have knowledge and skills will rule over those with undeveloped talents and resources.
Osinbajo cited Venezuela, a country richly endowed with natural resources yet poor due to knowledge and skills deficit of the people.
According to him, most developed and wealthy economies in Asia and other parts of the world are countries least endowed in natural resources.
Recapping his lecture on BBHS, the Vice President identified the quartet of the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo; winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential election, Bashorun Moshood Kashimawo Olawale (M.K.O) Abiola; former President Olusegun Obasanjo and ex-Justice Minister, Chief Bola Ajibola – all old students of the school – as exceptional Nigerians who recorded great achievements in public service as a result of the training and values BBHS inculcated in them.
The National President of the school’s Old Boys’ Association, Prof. Kayode Oyesiku, said the body would continue to support the school with infrastructure and create an environment conducive for students to learn.