PRSIDENT YEMI OSINBAJO AT THE PUBLIC PRESENTATION AND INAUGURATION OF HIYA
NIGERIA AT NTA HEADQUARTERS ARENA, AREA 11, GARKI ABUJA ON THURSDAY 7,
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.
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.
same nation is a country of the Soyinkas, the Achebes, the Chimamandas, 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
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
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.