Estimated reading time: 12 minute(s)
Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo has called for a deliberate effort to create unity, with equity, justice, rule of law, and accountability as components to build a successful society and nation.
Osinbajo said this development lies on the elites of society, who must be prepared to make the sacrifices for the benefit of the people.
He said this at the ‘Nigeria at 62 Independence Day Anniversary Public Lecture’ at the State House Banquet Hall, Abuja, where he was Special Guest of Honour, on Thursday.
According to a statement issued on Thursday by his spokesman, Laolu Akande, the Vice President noted that “the story of successful societies is quite simple. It is usually the story of how the society’s elite – its best educated, its political, religious class, influence, direct and lead their societies to progress.
“Put differently, every successful society is the product of a conscious, elite consensus: the implicit and explicit agreements of the elite to change their societies for good. But the elite must be prepared to make the sacrifices for the benefit of everyone,” he said.
According to Osinbajo, even though elitism confers privilege, that privilege also comes with responsibility.
He added: “We who are the elites are a privileged class. But privilege comes with responsibility. It is the French who describe it as ‘Noblesse Oblige’, the responsibility of privilege.
“There is a responsibility that comes with who we are as the elite. The first responsibility of the elite is sacrifice, the ability to make sacrifices on behalf of the communities that you represent.
“As Prof. (Afolabi) describes it from the original etymology of leadership, it means, ‘go forth to die.’ People who are prepared to make sacrifices, even if it is the ultimate sacrifice, people who are prepared to sacrifice on behalf of their communities. That readiness to sacrifice is so important,” Osinbajo stated.
Using as an example, the N-Power jobs programme under the administration’s Social Investments Programme, which has engaged over 500,000 young Nigerians, the VP noted that young Nigerians successfully applied wherever they are in this country with a fair chance of being selected for the programme.
He said the other alternative way to administer the programme “is for the elite, those in government, either in the Executive, Legislature, or perhaps even the Judiciary, to say, ‘let us give ourselves slots’.
“When we give ourselves slots, it is because we are not prepared to make the sacrifice that will enable these young people to say, I belong to a country where there is equal opportunity. But we want these young people to believe in the country.
“We want them to believe that they belong to a country. We want a united country, but we are not prepared to make the sacrifice that is required,” the Vice President said.
According to Osinbajo, because of the urge to maximise so-called elites’ rights and privileges by some, the basis of national unity and equal opportunity is jeopardised.
Recalling an encounter with President Muhammadu Buhari on the success of the N-Power, Osinbajo recalled that “when we started the N-Power programme, one day, the President, President Muhammadu Buhari called me, and he said: ‘I was listening to the Hausa BBC service, and two young men called from Bauchi State. They said we applied for the N-Power programme, and we didn’t know anybody, and we were taken. And we have started receiving our salaries. Thank you, Baba Buhari!”
Continuing he said the President “told me this story…And he said, look, if this is possible, then all these young people can truly begin to believe in this country…
“So, the truth of the matter is that these things are possible, but they are only possible if the elite is prepared to make the sacrifice.
“Every step of the way, in human civilisation, the bringing together of societies, have been by the sacrifices that the elites have made. They’ve sacrificed their privileges and because they have sacrificed their privileges, their societies have moved forward. Where the elite fails in its responsibilities, the society itself eventually fails.”
The event also featured remarks by former Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Prof. Oladapo Afolabi; the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed; and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha
Also at the event were members of the Federal Executive Council; Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Dr. Folasade Yemi-Esan, Permanent Secretaries; heads of government agencies and parastatals; and members of the diplomatic corps, among others.
Estimated reading time: 1 minute(s)
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