Ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo has depicted the shift of the principles of honesty and hard work by the love for money and other material things as one of the reasons of the difficulties Nigeria face.
Obasanjo stated this on Friday in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, at the inaugural ceremony of the Professor Abayomi Oluwatosin Jiboku Building and Entrepreneurship Centre at the Lariken International College.
He declared that the amount of money and number of cars, and also houses built by people, should not be taken to decide their degree of accomplishment, but their positive contributions to the society and the number of lives they impacted.
The former President said it was tragic that Nigerians had abandoned the principles of integrity, honesty and love for one’s fellow citizen with the strong aspiration to get rich quickly and by all means.
Obasanjo added that nobody could buy his conscience, regardless the amount of money given.
He said, “One of the ways we have problems in our society today is the values we cherish. Money-making is the value now pervasive.
“In Yorubaland, money-making is not one of the values that we take to Omoluabi, truthfulness, integrity, truth, industry and hard work were our values. Where have they gone? Why have we put them aside and all we are striving for is money? Where is honour in our values?
“Nowadays, anyone who has money can buy anything but not with me. If you have money, you cannot buy my conscience and support for anything. In any case, if you have all the money in the world, of what purpose will it be?
“How do you describe success? I define success as you making a place better than you met it. It is not the amount of money you have, not the number of houses built, not the number of cars you have. It is how much you have contributed to making a place better than you find it.”
The former President commended the college standard, while stating that there was a need for school curriculum to be planned to train both the mind and the hands.
He said, “If we are going to get out of insecurity, banditry, Boko Haram, kidnapping and other criminalities, we will have a long gestation period of training and educating all Nigerian children.
“Education is the beginning of the life well-lived. God has given each and every one of us innate abilities. It is when those innate abilities are developed that we can be the best in our own self-service, in the service of our nuclear and extended families, in the service to our community and in the service of our nation and the world.”
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