In order for Nigeria to overcome its longstanding challenges and achieve meaningful progress, it requires leaders who embody the virtues and characteristics of Chief Obafemi Awolowo and Prof. Lai Olurode. This sentiment was expressed by prominent Nigerians during a recent event organized by Iwo Compatible Fellows (ICOF) to honor Prof. Olurode’s commitment to excellence and meritorious service.
The speakers at the event, including Alhaji Moshood Adeoti, former Secretary to the Osun State Government, Prof. Lukmon Adeoti from the University of Lagos, Emeritus Prof. Olayide Abass, former Deputy Vice Chancellor of the University of Lagos, Prof. Adewale Yagboyaju from the University of Ibadan, and Prof. Mujidat Omolara Aremu, all highlighted the impact that Olurode has had as an academic and a mentor.
Drawing parallels between Awolowo, the first premier of the defunct Western Region, and Olurode, a former National Commissioner of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and former Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Lagos, the speakers emphasized the need for leaders who possess foresight, discipline, and commitment to drive development in the nation.
The event also featured testimonials from individuals who have been influenced by Olurode, such as Justice Wasiu Dejo Akanbi and Alhaji Ashim Oladiti from INEC. They praised Olurode’s exemplary life and his contributions to the community and human development.
In his response, Olurode highlighted the decline of cottage industries in the country and called on the government to implement policies that support their sustainability and growth. He emphasized the importance of small-scale entrepreneurs as major providers of employment and urged for the protection of local industries against cheap imports. Olurode expressed hope that President Buhari, who has a background in the industrial success of the old Western Region, will take action to revive Nigeria’s cottage industries.
It is evident from the discussions at the event that Nigeria needs leaders who embody the qualities and values of Awolowo and Olurode to drive the country towards progress and development. By prioritizing foresight, discipline, and the support of local industries, Nigeria can overcome its challenges and thrive in the global market.