By Yemi Osinbajo

Our country is gifted with some of the best in the world and that is the majority of Nigerians.

Let me say first how very pleased I am to be part of this landmark event, with the launching of the programme HIYA, designed to inculcate civic values and patriotism in our society especially by the use of indigenous languages as tools of communication.

So this programme is meant to achieve, and I believe will achieve several purposes; it is home-grown, it will encourage the learning of indigenous languages and it will promote the love of country and high civic values.

We live in a great nation and we are also the largest economy in Africa, whether here or in the diaspora, some of the smartest people in the world are Nigerians. But our greatest assets are our young people; bright, creative and irrepressible. In technology, music and entertainment, we have proved that we are the future.

Fortunately, that future is already here. We watched the young people from the Pacesetters International College, creatively render the National Anthem and Pledge, and what do you make of that excellent dramatic piece on the rebirth of Nigeria by the Eda Theatre? How many people have seen the dance drama, Saro? It sold out only a few days ago in London.

This same nation is a country of the Soyinkas, the Achebes, the Chimamanda, the Abubakar Imans and so many others.

But this land of hardworking, resourceful and decent people is also a nation where some corrupt politicians have looted the commonwealth, where some parents encourage their wards to cheat in their examinations, where we have some 419 artists, some peddlers of hate, ritual killers, cultists and all manner of other rascals. But so it is in other countries.

The difference is that we sometimes allow ourselves to be defined by our worst and not our best. We must define ourselves and our nation by the best that we have and not by the worst. In any event, the worst that we have are so few in number, their noise may be loud, sometimes much louder than some of the great minds and people that we see all over the place every day.

The truth is that our country is gifted with some of the best in the world and that is the majority of Nigerians.

So there is no reason at all why we should worry about the future of our country, because our country has everything it takes to be truly great and to be greater than any other nation anywhere in the world.

I think we are on the right path, and today when you listen to what we have heard already and listen to the plans that many here have for the future – a group of people, the NTA, the NOA, and the private organisation, Zeitgeist Aesthetics LTD/GTE that put this together, they decided it was worth talking about. Patriotism, civic and national values are worth talking about. It shows you that our country is one where there is so much hope, energy and creativity and every one of us is waiting for it to come together. It is a duty that we all have.

Sometimes we think that the leadership of the country, especially the political leadership have all the responsibility, far from it. Each and every one of us has the responsibility.

I think it was John F. Kennedy, the great American president who said that we should ask not what our country can do for us, but what we can do for our country. I think it bears paraphrasing that we Nigerians, young and old, should also ask, what can we do to make this country truly great? What is our contribution? In what way can I by word, deed, action, really bring about a country that is great? A country that you and I can be proud of? A country that people all over the world will come to and be truly proud.

Every day I ask myself a question, and that question I ask myself regularly is where will Nigeria be in another ten years? And may be because of the job I have, I have to keep asking myself that question, where and what is the future going to hold?

I must tell you that despite everything I see, and I see a lot, despite some of the discouragement that we get, I am so certain that this country is set to be in another ten years, certainly the pre-eminent country, pre-eminent black nation in the world and we are surely on the way to become one of the pre-eminent nations of the world.

We have seen and heard all sorts, many talk about the leadership and say, “what sort of country does this happen in?” But it is this same country, where we see the very best minds, many young people in particular, I see so many of them in technology, entertainment, the sciences, everywhere making the effort day by day.

I believe this country has excellent hope, and I am firmly convinced that the future of our county is extremely bright. Our nation will definitely reap all of the work and sacrifices, not just that our heroes past have made, but of all what you here today are making day by day.

So it really is my special pleasure, to support the work that is being done today and to support the excellent ideas behind the work of HIYA, and I believe very strongly that this is one of the important building blocks that we are all looking forward to.

Let me end by unveiling the logo; so I hereby, on behalf of all of us that are here, all great and wonderful Nigerians, unveil the logo of HIYA!


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