Osun State Governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola has challenged corps members to deploy the qualities of their liberal education to develop capacity for tolerance of opposing social, political and religious views during their service period and beyond.
In a speech he delivered at the closing ceremony of Batch B Orientation Course of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) at the NYSC Permanent Orientation Camp, Ede, on Tuesday, Governor Aregbesola further urged the corps members to ensure that their education should reflect in their conduct during and after the service.
He told the corps members further that “you are all products of liberal education; this liberalism should reflect in your conduct, philosophy, social outlook and relationship with others. You must cultivate a habit of tolerance of opposing views as expressed in religious, political ideology and social outlook. One of the problems of our world is the tendency for an individual or a group to assume the superiority of his or their group’s view and then seek to impose it on society”.
Identifying intolerance as a major problem confronting the world community, Aregbesola posited that individuals and groups have been trying to impose their views on society thereby leading to conflicts.
These developments, the governor noted, have led to the two World Wars, Cold War and other conflicts around the world including fascism.
Decrying the ravages of wars, he contended that “the only war worth fighting is the development of man and his upliftment from the morass of ignorance, poverty and diseases, and the only weapon needed is the intellect. This is the essence of the education you have received”.
Nigeria, he observed, was facing challenges of development including inability to feed citizens, inadequate energy to power homes and machinery, bad roads, lack of health care while urban dwellers lacked decent homes.
“Until recently, we cannot govern ourselves because our elections are a complete sham. As you go to your places of primary assignment, these are the national challenges placed before you, of which you must be part of their solution”, he counselled further.
Challenging the corps members to be part of solution to the problems of society, Aregbesola called on them to reject the appellation of being called “Leaders of tomorrow” but see themselves as “Leaders of Today” by holding their destinies and that of their country in their hands.
He described the “Leaders of Tomorrow” appellation as wrong classification saying “too often, you have been referred to as ‘youth’ with the underlying notion that you are children. This is further reinforced by the cliché that you are the ‘leaders of tomorrow’. This is a wrong classification”.
He described youth as full, mature and self accounting adults calling them leaders of today who must take not only their destiny, but the destiny of the nation into their hands.
“You must think, act and talk like adult and refuse to let anyone marginalise you in the scheme of things. You are the today and the future of the country. What you do today is the seed you have planted for your tomorrow and the today of the coming generation”, Aregbesola stressed.
Around the world, the governor observed further that youthful people like “Bill Gates, the co-founder of Microsoft, Mark Zukerberg who invented Facebook, Jerry Yang who created Yahoo, David Cameron, the Prime Minister of Britain and several others who as young men in their twenties and thirties have taken direction of the world in business and politics”.
In Nigeria, Governor Aregbesola recalled that people like Anthony Enahoro who was elected into the federal House of Representatives in his early 20s, Adeyemi Lawson, who at 24 became the chairman of Lagos Island Local Government, Chief Obafemi Awolowo and Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe who as young men became political colossus.
He assured them of government and people’s support and urged them to respect the customs of people in their places of primary assignment while also enjoying the rich tourist potentials that abound in Osun State.