The personalities named above – Pastor Enoch Adeboye, Prof. Olu Aina, Chief Inaolaji Aboaba and Pastor Matthew Asimolowo have a common denominator – acute poverty potent enough to drown the dreams and ambitions of a willing soul. But the lessons of their journeys through life so far, are convincing proofs of the fact that a committed and dedicated soul could blast formidable mountains on the paths of people who demonstrate extraordinary resolve not to be deterred by any obstacle. This posture of recognizing excellence has a way of not only boosting morale, but also the feelings of empathy through an open demonstration of appreciation to 28 distinguished and prominent citizens of the state adjudged by Governor Gboyega Oyetola and his team as demonstrating exceptional productivity and significant contributions to the social and economic development of Osun state and humanity in general.
Virtually all reasonable personalities strive to leave indelible marks on the sands of time. This goal calls for rising to challenges of reaching goals, dedication, selflessness and effectiveness. People of both genders who succeed know that the path to recognition and greatness in usually rough and entails much sacrifice. They toiled and laboured while others rested. This is the type of feeling that made Nnamdi Azikiwe, Nigeria’s Governor-General at independence on 1st October, 1960 assert that: ‘’My stiffest earthly assignment is ended and my major life’s work is done. ‘’My country is now free and I have been honoured to be its first indigenous head of state. What more could one desire in life?’’
YOUNG ONES —ONLY YOU CAN STOP YOURSELF This piece is intended to prove to the younger generation angling to take over leadership positions that they are the only ones who could stop themselves from attaining their set goals in life. Abraham Lincoln it was who asserted that: ” I am not bound to succeed, but I am bound to live up to what light I have.” That some achieve great success is proof to all that others can achieve it as well.” Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any one thing.” If you have not heard stories about Abraham Lincoln because you don’t read, let’s come nearer home. There was a great African named Nelson Mandela.
Read him: “I am fundamentally an optimist. Whether that comes from nature or nurture, I cannot say. Part of being optimistic is keeping one’s head pointed toward the sun, one’s feet moving forward. There were many dark moments when my faith in humanity was sorely tested, but I would not and could not give myself up to despair. That way lays defeat and death.” – “Long Walk to Freedom, The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela” (1994) Let us explore the possibility of your knowing the history of political development of Nigeria.
There was one great Nigerian named Obafemi Awolowo. He stated that: “It is, I think, enough for me to say that life itself is, from the cradle to the grave, a series of unbroken risks. I make no boast about this, but those who know me intimately will testify to the fact that I have never, at any time, shrunk from taking my full share of the risks which life, with its unending opportunities and vicissitudes, offers.” – Voice of Reason, 1981.
WHY WE PAY PARTICULAR ATTENTION TO ROLE MODELLING Youth development is universal and germane to the development of the country. It is in youths that the process of societal renewal is embedded. It is important for the nation to address the problems confronting youths, particularly unemployment, creation of an enabling environment for youth development, and the eradication of some social vices in which youths are involved. There must be attitudinal changes, propelled by good policies and programmes, designed and implemented to promote national development. Looking forwsrd, we say that at the level of policy implementation, it is important for political appointees at all levels to make honest and dispassionate presentations to their principals. Whoever offers tainted advice with intent to mislead his or her principal is not fit to be in office. The buck might stop at the table of the boss; but in administration, a subordinate could be queried for misadvising the big boss..
‘’I will, more than ever before, subject myself to severe self- discipline. Only men who are masters of themselves become easily masters of others. Therefore, my thoughts, my tongue, and my actions shall be brought under strict control always……..’’ Those of us placed in a position of leadership must be prepared to grasp the nettle if we unite in doing so, and if, in addition, we set a worthy example and a marat on pace in probity, unselfishness, and self-sacrifice, the people will follow, all too readily, in our footsteps.’’… Obafemi Awolowo
‘’There is plenty of room at the top; but because very few people care to travel beyond the average route; most of us seem satisfied to remain within the confines of mediocrity.’’ …. Nnamdi Azikiwe
LEADERSHIP BY EXAMPLE —-HOW NORTHERN REGION PREMIER SIR AHMADU BELLO ABANDONED HIS AIRPLANE FOR USE BY A DISTRESSED CIVIL SERVANT:
According to Mallam Adamu Fika, First Republic politicians led by example. They were also exemplars of democratic virtues. The following incidences in the life of the Sardauna of Sokoto, Alhaji Sir Ahmadu Bello KBE (1910-1966) shed light on how they played their politics and how they scrupulously separated politics from governance: (a) Concern for the Welfare of others, particularly Civil Servants: Dr. RAB Dikko the Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Health, defunct Northern region, requested for the use of the Northern Communication Flight to fly a sick health officer from Iddah. Unfortunately, the only plane operating at the time had been booked for the Premier, for 10am the following day. As secretary to the Executive Council, Chief Sunday Awoniyi controlled and authorized the use of Communication Flight. Finding himself in a difficult situation with little choice, he approached the Premier and informed him that a higher priority of use of the plane had arisen for conveyance of a sick officer. The Premier agreed and ordered his car to be got ready for his own journey while, the plane was put at the disposal of the Ministry of Health for their sick officer. The officer was brought from Idda to Kano, to be flown abroad but died in Kano before he could be flown out. The Premier, on later reflection on the turn of events, profoundly thanked Awoniyi for asking him to give up the plane for the use of the deceased officer.
THE HONOREES BONDED BY POVERTY Pastor Enoch Adejare Adeboye never had a pair of shoes until he attained the age of 18 years. Adeboye’s education was almost disrupted due to the impoverished status of his family. Before his father died, the old Adeboye, apart from his farmland could only boast of an umbrella as a prized possession. His father, a poor farmer died before Adeboye could complete his secondary education. Therefore, the lot fell on his mother to sponsor him. To do that, the mother had to sell some of her property to see him through. While in the secondary school, the passion for books and a special aptitude for science, particularly Mathematics were discovered in him. This led to an academic journey in the field of Mathematics against incredible odds, including but not limited to finances, the Nigerian civil war of 1967=1970 and academic politics. However, as God willed, he survived all odds to graduate from the University of Ife with a Bachelors (B.Sc.) degree in Mathematics in 1967 at the prime age of 25 years. Between 1969 and 1975 he added two more degrees; an M.Sc in Hydrodynamics and a Ph.D in Applied Mathematics from the University of Lagos. It is noteworthy that Adeboye is the first M.Sc graduate in the Department of Mathematics, University of Lagos as well as the first Ph.D holder in Mathematics from the institution. He thereafter lectured at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, University of Lagos and University of Ilorin. Before his stint as a university lecturer, Adeboye taught mathematics at two secondary schools: Okeigbo Grammar School, in Ondo State of Nigeria and the Lagos Anglican Girls Grammar School. Year 2008, Adeboye was listed in the “First 50 Global Elite”, (the most important 50 personalities in the world) by an influential United States publication, Newsweek. The magazine, one of the two most prestigious and leading news magazines in the world had named Pastor Adoboye as the 49th most powerful personality in the world. According to Newsweek, “behind Adeboye’s extraordinary success is his reputation for honesty. While other Pentecostal pastors have been accused of financial misdeeds or faking supernatural powers, Adeboye remains above the fray.” The Redeemed Christian Church of God, as at December 2008, had no fewer than 360 parishes in the United Kingdom and about the same figure in the United States. Anytime Adeboye assesses his journey in life and where he had found himself, he has always been more than grateful to God. He never dreamt coming this far as all he ever wanted to do was to show his gratitude to God by serving him passionately, selflessly, and even sacrificially. But as he did, God began to show him the heights He would take Adeboye to in the ministry. This characteristic nature and humility of Adeboye is depicted by his response to a telephone call congratulating him on his recognition as the most influential personality in Nigeria and the 49th in the world by an international news magazine. At the July 3, 2009 monthly Holy Ghost service at its Redemption Camp ground, the humble pastor reacted very philosophically that “Number one in Nigeria, Number 49 in the world but what number in heaven? When Jesus comes, he will not ask what number you are in the world. The most important thing is what number you are in heaven. This is because if you make it to heaven, you will enjoy forever and if you go to hell, you will suffer forever. So what counts is the number you are in heaven”
PROF. OLUWAREMILEKUN AINA – THE CARPENTER WHO BECAME A PROFESSOR Life is not a bed of roses. Even if it were, roses have thorns. This primordial expression aptly describes what every genuinely successful individual experiences before eventually excelling in life. The life and times of the international scholar and advocate of vocational and technical education in Nigeria, Professor Olu Aina,OFR exemplifies the ups and downs that are associated with lofty heights honestly attained. From the Blackened pot emerges the pure white pap, so goes the African saying. The young Olu Aina was born into the family of Mr. Simeon Aina, a carpenter on the 24th of October, 1939, in the valley town of Otan-Ayegbaju in the present Osun State. His mother, Madam Cecilia Aina was a trader. And since that time, with focus, hard-work, commitment and fear of failure, the young Olu moved from success to success in his educational advancement. After primary education , he briefly attended St.Thomas Catholic Modern School, Otan-Ayegbaju before gaining admission to St.Murumba’s College Ile-Ife in 1957 for the Teacher Grade III certificate where he won a special prize for excellent performance in mathematics. All through, he engaged himself in carpentry work. One of the friends he made at St.Murumba was Chief Bisi Akande, former Governor of Osun State. Some of his juniors in the school included the late Ataoja, Osogbo Oba Iyiola Oyewale Matanmi and the late Oba Ladejobi the Olowu of Orile-Owu. In 1965, Olu as he was popularly known proceeded to the technical college , now the Polytechnic Ibadan on a full scholarship awarded by an American Lady, Miss Sarah Holdings.
At graduation, the certificates he had acquired were enough to make him settle down and enjoy life, but his resilience and determination drove him to secure admission into the Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, United States of America in 1972 on the sponsorship of the QUAKERS, a body he had served as a volunteer mobilizer in Nigeria in 1971. He travelled to America with his saw, hammer and other carpentry tools and worked as a carpenter to supplement his income.
He graduated with a first class in technical education. The ever ambitious carpenter proceeded to the Northern Michigan University Marquette, Michigan and the University of North Dakota also in USA and graduated with ‘As’ in all the courses. It is on record that the then Mr. Olu Aina was the first foreign student at kalamazoo to win the university’s Honors Award. He also broke the university’s 96-year record by emerging the student with the best over-all result.
PASTOR MATTHEW ASIMOLOWO God makes provision adequately for the unusual. And the Lord shows mercy and favour to whoever He cares for. The story of the life and ministry of Pastor Matthew Asimolowo aptly demonstrates the majesty of God and His ability to spring surprises which could confound even the wisest of men. Afterall, the Bible says that “the foolishness of God is better than the wisest of men” and “His ways are not our ways”. The account of the supernatural moves of God in the life of this notable servant of God is reverential enough to convince the ordinary mortal that God is indeed great. But for divine intervention and mercy of our Creator, Pastor Ashimolowo, all things being equal, should not be what he is and should not be where he is today. Given the vicissitudes of life suffered during his formative years, Asimolowo should not be expected to be alive today, but God is bountiful in his mercies. Ashimolowo experienced the worst of beginnings with inexplicable occurrences that only God could explain, including even his survival as a child. For fear of infecting the children of his guardian in whose house he was residing, Asimolowo, whose original family name was Oyabode was left outside to die in 1957 when he suffered an attack of chicken pox at the age of 5 years.
From a drunk, careless young man with a seemingly bleak future, Pastor Asimolowo has been taken to an unimaginable height in the vineyard of God. The problem that blighted Pastor Asimolowo at birth speaks eloquently about the ability of God to save and raise the poor from the dunghill. Today, Asimolowo heads the largest church in Western Europe, the Kingsway International Christian Centre with thousands of worshippers strong in various parts of the world. A product of poor parents who hailed from Ode-Omu, a rustic settlement located 10 minutes drive from Osogbo, capital of Osun State, Nigeria, Asimolowo had a very humble and lowly beginning. Born to Muslim parents, Pa Salawu and Madam Aishat Asimolowo, the servant of God spent his formative years in the northern part of Nigeria as a practitioner of the Muslim faith. On an occasion, Pastor Matthew Ashimolowo, the senior pastor and spiritual head of Kingsway International Christian Centre (KICC) was praying with one of the most renown prophets in Nigeria, Prophet Samuel Kayode Abiara and this man began to speak his childhood, some of which Asimolowo never knew until he had to go to his uncle who confirmed what Asimolowo was told by the elderly man of God. And he said to Asimolowo: “you are a child of destiny because your mother went through so much pain and trouble; and in answer to the things she went through – when you were born there were also all kinds of attacks from witches trying to kill you because of the destiny you carry and the things you are going to achieve – universities you will build, churches you will build, the ministry you will perform – but they couldn’t kill you because you are a child of destiny and it is as a result of this, that God has made you to be a comfort for the pain your mother went through”.
ONE OF THE PROBLEMS WITH YOUNG PEOPLE OF TODAY IS THAT THEY CAN’T ENDURE”- Chief Moses Inaolaji Aboaba Chief Moses Inaolaji Aboaba belongs to the class of Nigerians who have seen it all. He originated from a very poor background such that it seemed an impossible task making a headway in life. From that lowly heights of parents who were poor such that he needed external hands to get education. He sold firewood and engaged in menial labour to make ends meet. Aboaba was undaunted by obstacles and rose to emerge the pioneer Secretary to Government and Head of Service to the Government of Osun State.
He attended Kiriji Memorial College in Igbajo and joined the elite administrative cadre of the old western civil service as a Clerical Officer in 1963-1968. From there, he took a leave of absence for higher education at the University of Lagos where he read Political Science and I graduated in 1971. After that, he taught briefly at HSC level at Oduduwa College, Ile-Ife. Aboaba sat for the compulsory examination for the recruitment of administrative officers into the Civil Service of the old Western Region. Having succeeded in the exam, he was appointed and he made a career in the Civil Service. He served as a Permanent Secretary in the old Oyo, and when Osun State was created in 1991, he became the pioneer Secretary and Head of Service to the State Government. He retired and officially left on 12th of January, 1992. Shortly after that, he was appointed by the Federal Government of Nigeria as the MD/CEO of National Economic Reconstruction Fund (NERFUND) in 1993. NERFUND was set up for Nigeria’s industrial revolution to facilitate the establishment of small and medium scale production enterprises in Nigeria. I left on 26th October, 1999.
SECRETS OF HIS SUCCESS Inaolaji Aboaba told Excellent Media Focus that he didn’t eat with his two hands, and that’s why he is living as though he is still in the service and he didn’t steal. He adds: Of course, when you’re doing a good job, you don’t need to steal. At the moment, I’m committed to community service. I have a foundation in memory of my late wife, MODUPE OREOLUWA FOUNDATION that gives free interest loan to all widows in all Churches in Igbajo and Moses Inaolaji Trust Foundation, founded to help brilliant but indigent students. We’ve given scholarship to two students of Lagos State University, department of Political Science. One of the students is from Osun and second person is from Lagos. I’ve also served on many boards, it’s when I turned 70 that I retired from those boards. I’m also an altar minister in my Church in Lagos and I play golf. You’re the one who didn’t allow me to go and play golf today because you told you are coming. God has been faithful. To the youth, he has a golden advice: they should not look at our leaders who are self-seeking, especially in the political space. Besides, they should not prioritize material things. They should remain focused and have sense of purpose so that they can make their marks.’’ (Interview with Excellent Focus Media) Soetimes, I wonder how Egbon Inaolaji creates the time to send messages to an ‘’ordinary me’ a nobody’’ especially acknowledging the little contributions we are making to the society through our publications. It gives one great joy that at least somebody VIPs out there appreciate what we do and deem it fit to encourage us. To God Almighty
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The campaign which is in its 4th year is running for 365 unbroken days in one year. In consideration of the fact that the quality of today’s children would naturally determine the society’s future, it is important for Government, parents and organizations with parental responsibilities that have not lived up to expectations to take positive steps to improve on their obligations. Everyone in any society has some basic functions to perform. The roles of these three bodies are so important that in situations where they are not able to perform efficiently and effectively, the society suffers tremendously. When people talk about successful societies, they must not forget that good family background and spousal relationships are considerable influences of successes that they enjoy today.
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