Launch Of Uniformed Voluntary Organisations And Clubs In Lagos State Schools
Mar 3, 2009 - Let me start with an event that is still so fresh in our memories. Tuesday, January 20th 2009, marked a historic milestone in the story of mankind. It was a day when the attention of the entire globe was riveted on the United States of America; a day when an unusual leader, Barack Hussein Obama, was sworn in as the first African-American and 44th President of the world’s foremost democracy. Here was a man who had captured the imagination not just of his countrymen and women but of the whole world. In Nigeria and Africa as a whole, he has become a source of inspiration to millions, young and old.
What is the source of President Obama’s near universal appeal? It goes beyond the colour of his skin, his attractive and charming physique or even his soaring rhetoric. Rather, the Obama mystique lies in the content of his character, the strength of his intellect, the audacity of his hope, the sincerity of his compassion and the quality of the moral values he symbolizes.
Like most adults who come to play responsible, leadership roles in society, President Obama’s character; his courage, confidence and resilience can be traced to his childhood; particularly the influence of a loving mother and grand parents as well as the quality of his education.
We are here today because we realize the significance of our childhood in determining the kind of adults we become. This is why we take each one of you, our precious children, very seriously. Inside each of you lie the seeds of greatness waiting to be discovered and nurtured; an inexhaustible mine of infinite potentials waiting to be excavated and deployed for the benefit of humanity. There are thousands of potential Barack Obamas, Nelson Mandelas, Martin Luther Kings, Mother Theresas, Wole Soyinkas, Chinua Achebes, Phillip Emegwalis, Chimamanda Adichies and other great talents among you. Each one of you is a unique gift to humanity that we cannot afford to under utilise or waste. You can all achieve whatever you strongly will and desire to. Yes, you can!
Dear children, it is our responsibility to invest in your childhood and create every opportunity for you to grow up with healthy self esteem, confidence, sense of purpose, responsibility and a burning desire to make a difference to your society. I recall with nostalgia that when I was a child like you, the existence of various voluntary organizations in our schools such as the Boys Scout, Boys Brigade, Girls Guide, The Red Cross Society and the Sheriff Guards added so much healthy fun, adventure and value to our education.
They contributed tremendously to shaping our character and enabling us to inculcate healthy habits and values and instilling in us leadership principles such as courage, vision and determination that have helped us in life.
Today we are reviving and re-launching these moribund voluntary organizations in all our public primary and secondary schools in Lagos State. Through them, we are restoring very useful platforms for training our youths and inculcating in them qualities such as drive to achieve, motivation to read, cognitive ability, and emotional resilience. Voluntary organizations like the Boys Brigade and Girls Guide, for instance, were famous for instilling the values of obedience, reverence, discipline and self- respect in young boys and girls.
These voluntary organizations developed creative programs and activities to enable young people utilize their time usefully and productively. They stimulated the curiosity of young minds, challenging their intellect to ask questions about and understand the world around them. They organized tasking physical activities that helped their young wards develop healthy bodies. They gave opportunities for young people to exercise and develop leadership qualities.
In restoring clubs and voluntary uniformed organizations to our primary and secondary schools, we are affirming our determination to guarantee a bright future for our children; to ensure that their precious lives are not laid waste by drugs, alcoholism, cults and other dreadful habits. We are taking another major step forward in reclaiming our youths and preparing them adequately to play their roles as future leaders.
It therefore gives me great pleasure to launch the resuscitation of the Boys Scout, Boys Brigade, Girls Guide, Red Cross Society, Sheriff Guards among other Uniformed Voluntary Organizations in our public primary and secondary schools. We will encourage these organizations morally. We will support them financially. We will provide uniforms and kits for their members. No investment is too much to protect the future of our children.
I invite all those committed to the future prosperity, security and greatness of Lagos State and indeed our country, to please join hands with us to ensure the success of this initiative to guarantee the tomorrow of today’s youth.
Thank you and God bless you.
Eko O Ni Baje!
BABATUNDE RAJI FASHOLA (SAN)
GOVERNOR, LAGOS STATE