VC calls on African leaders to believe in potential of youths
Vice-Chancellor, Bowen University, Iwo, Osun State, Prof. Joshua Ogunwole, has stressed the need for leaders across the continent to believe in the potential of their youths, saying they deserve to be given a platform to excel.
He made the call while receiving the Pan-African Distinguished Leadership Award presented to him by the African Students Union Parliament (ASUP).
Ogunwole, who said the future of the continent, is in the hands of the youth, pointed that effort should be made to ensure they are rightly equipped and positioned to take over the future.
He said: “We believe in students and what they can do, not only in Nigeria or Africa but in the entire world. We have seen students cause change to happen in nations and bring new concepts to the world. Any nation or people that look down on their students or youths are only putting themselves on the path of oblivion.”
On the honour done to him, he said: “The best awards I love to receive are from my students. I believe in them so much. They are loaded with potential. Just for us to give them the platform to operate. If we give them the platform, they will excel.
“For me, it’s only of the honours we can receive. I mentioned some time ago to my people that Oxford Debate Group sent us a letter saying they wanted to give us an award for what we are doing in Bowen and asked us to come. We turned it down. We believe it’s not the white who will determine what we do or what we become. We wrote that we appreciate them but we wouldnt be able to take that. It must be Africa that will hold the destiny of Africans and not any other people. So for the African parliament to come up with this, they have made my day and strengthen my arms to want to do more. I’m sure that most of my colleagues that this has empowered their thinking and to want to do more”.
The university also received awards as the Bestvate University Website of the Year and the Best Private University in the Use of Technology by given by Nigeria Technology Award 2019.
Speaking on the two awards, Prof. Ogunwole said:”We are just starting but we never knew that the world is watching.
So when our website was declared as the best website of all private universities in Nigeria, immediately,I called that every other ones in that list should be opened for me to see. Then when I saw it I knew that truly there was no hanky-panky in it. So, because of what we stand for,we will always appreciate the truth. If we know we are not qualified we will reject that.
“We have built 288 smart hostels that will be digitally operated. I think that is what frittered to the world that is making them to give us the most technologically-driven university among the private universities.
“For us, it is not just celebration to go and sleep it is empowering us to do more. We are going to double up”
Earlier, the Programme Coordinator of African Students Union Parliament (ASUP), Paul Matthew, who came in company of other leaders of the group urged African leaders to make education their focal point in their development strides.
“The future of this continent is in our hand. It is either we make it or we may it.In the words of the great Nelson Mandela a society that is educated is a richest society in the world. If only our leaders can wake up to the challenges we are facing in Africa, in educational sector today,Africa will go a long way. In their days, education was on high standard. They enjoyed education even free. They should make education one of their principal priorities in developmental strides in Africa. In fact, if we can have a better education in Africa,every other sectors will be developed.We need to invest substantially in our education to fast-track Nigeria to knowledge-based economy “, he said.
Matthew said the contributions of Prof. Ogunwole to the development of the youths and society are tremendous,hence he was found worthy of the distinguished leadership award.
“He is a man that we know that if being encouraged he will be able to do more. And in the guest of this organization to seek for role model for African youths and students we find out that Prof. Joshua would fit in and better to mentor African youth to become better citizens of our continent dear Africa. That is what spurred this organization to present this award. Basically the award is for two reasons: to thank him for this is doing and encourage him to do more. To set him as a role model and mentor for others Africans to emulate. He is a man that is diligent in his duty and humble. If we have a man like him in other organizations at the helms of affairs,not just Nigeria but also Africa will become an egalitarian society.
‘Bowen has been able to model them to become great citizens of the African continent. Bowen is setting a pace for other universities to emulate.I will like to implore students to shun cultism. It is under that atmosphere that sound education can be attained. For you to be active contributors ,you need to be good ambassadors of the university” he said.