Read Akire of Ikire-Ile’s message to Nigerian Youths

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The Akire of Ikire-Ile Kingdom, Oba Abulazeez Olatunbosun Adebamiji has charged youths to be conscious of their future, even as he identified people’s negligence, nonchalantat attitude towards the growing rate of criminal activities among Nigerian youth.

The monarch spoke at the 8th edition of the Osun Youth Ambassador Award organized by the Youth Reformer Initiative and held on Sunday (December 10, 2023) at the Aurora Event and Conference, Osogbo, Osun State, Nigeria]

He said “the initiative or idea of the Osun Youth Ambassador Award by the organizers of this event, the 8th of its kind, is noble and highly commendable, most importantly in their careful selection of the youths who truly deserve these awards. These are the youths who unlike their peers think of what they can do for their county rather than what their country will do for them. Honestly, other organizations have a lot to learn from the Youth Reformer Initiative under the leadership of our amiable Mrs Aminat A.A Ajibola.

“However, let me seize this opportunity to address the wrongs certain individuals or organization do which are unhealthy for the society.

“Honorary Award. Personality Award. Award of Recognition. It’s a nice thing to recognize a person and be recognized for one’s contributions to a community, society or organisation. But why do we vigorously seek validation and pay outrageous amounts just to get recognized with an award? Why has the society degenerated to the extent that we have jettisoned due diligence in selecting awardees such as investigating a potential awardee to be certain that they actually deserve this honour? At what point did our society become so permissive and nonchalant to the evils we see all around us? Who will redeem us?

“Pardon me for starting this piece on a sad note. That is the sad reality of our present circumstances. When I was growing up in Ikire-Ile, society had tremendous appreciation for hardword, honesty and uprightness. As a child you dare not bring home a piece of chalk that did not belong to you for fear of your parents who would search your bag daily, just in case you have any strange things they did not provide for you in your bag. God saves you if you have another person’s belongings in your bag. You would explain ‘tire’, to use a trending expression. This attitude inculcated honesty in us. It also shows that parents would not condone stealing, or corruption and criminal activities of any form in their children.

“Nowadays, young boys of 18 in the universities ride the latest vehicles on campus. Vehicles their parents could not afford with their sweat and daily toils. Vehicles that cost several millions of naira. Yet you find parents, nay the society, looking the other way and hailing them. They have become intimidated by their own child to keep mute and ask no questions. “Who question epp?” Sorry, that is another trending slang that has enveloped the society with docility and acquiescence. If you inquire, you are a busybody and you are marked for all sorts of opprobrious media attacks. Who will redeem us?

“These days, what the youth learns from the adults is nothing to write home about too. Or why will a person in charge of a pension agency steal the pension funds of retired and retiring workers and got just a slap on the wrist from the judiciary? Why should an Accountant-General of the Federation embezzle money that is more than the annual budgets of five states, only to be given a chieftaincy title and be recognized as worthy in the society? Why will a lecturer insist that he must sleep with his female student before she could graduate? Why will a banker steal the people’s funds and impose harsh policies on the masses to cover his track or to prevent someone from emerging victorious in an election? Why will the electoral umpire upend the will of the electorate, only for the politician to tell the aggrieved to go to court? The question once again is who will redeem us?

“I am not here to lament. I will be failing as a royal father at this occasion if I didn’t point us to the way forward. It is the duty of all of us to redeem ourselves from the shackles of corruption in which we have found ourselves. Awarding bodies must only honour and celebrate genuine contributions. We have so many brilliant chaps and talented youths in this country that are wasting away because no one looks their ways, and because they have no one to help them and guide their talents to national assets. So many of them are always being showcased on social media but that is where it ends. At the end, we reduce these achievements to tribal, religious and several other parochial and selfish sentiments. Why are we like this?

“Other organizations that might wish to honour individuals must take a cue from the organizers of this present event, the 8th Osun Youth Ambassador Awards.

“Change should begin with each and everyone of us. Otherwise, we will create a niche for wrongdoings if someone refuses to change. Leaders, followers, civil servants, teachers, bricklayers, students, lecturers, royal fathers, religious leaders, traders, contractors, secretaries, technicians, transporters, medical doctors, nurses, men, women, young, old, politicians, senators, councilors, all of us must see this as a collective duty. We must redeem ourselves so that we can breathe once again,” he added.

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