Former president, Dr Goodluck Jonathan, has advised Nigerians not lose hope in the country despite the prevailing circumstances, but use the opportunity provided by the current political cycle to take decisions that would help renew hope, restore what had been lost and rebuild the country.
In his keynote speech at the memorial lecture in honour of late Edo businessman and philanthropist, Captain Hosa Wells Okunbo in Abuja yesterday, the former president who is the chairman, Goodluck Jonathan Foundation, said ahead of the 2023 elections, as Nigerians get ready to be wooed at campaign grounds by various politicians seeking different offices, their thoughts should be beyond 2023, and about Nigeria and the kind of leadership it deserves now and in future to ensure that the country assumes its rightful place among the comity of nations.
He charged Nigerians to be circumspect in the exercise of their voting rights, shift from the “politics of bread and butter” and ensure that they do not elect leaders that would buy their conscience today and mortgage the future of their children and grandchildren.
“We should endeavour to elect only those that will leave legacies of unity, peace and development. For a nation to grow, leaders at various points must deliberately make the necessary sacrifices that promote patriotism, inspire devotion and spur citizens to do their best for the country.
“Our political leaders should worry about the depth of their footprints and the kind of legacies they are leaving behind. And I do not mean this to apply to only leaders at the national level. Those who also lead at various capacities in politics and business, be they councilors, council chairpersons, governors, lawmakers at both state and national levels as well as boardroom gurus should be bothered about the value of their leadership style,” he said.
Jonathan noted that the essence of leadership is to drive initiatives that seek to build sustainable societies and make the lives of the people better and more meaningful, and every political leader should, in a moment of introspection, spare a thought for the legacy he or she would leave behind.
He described Captain Hosa Okunbo as an entrepreneur who carved a niche for himself by investing in people and in those businesses that make significant impact on the Nigerian economy and lives of the people, saying one thing that endeared him to people was his warmth, openness and generosity.
“Captain lived a life of philanthropy. Although he achieved so much as a businessman and invested in big enterprises, he will perhaps be remembered more for his large heart, spirit of philanthropy and love for the needy,” he said, adding that one of his legacies that would continue to endure is that he nurtured and mentored many to become responsible members of the society.
Captain Hosa’s daughter, Olori Atuwase III, described her father as a visionary leader who believed in birthing initiatives that would outlive him, while impacting lives within the nation and beyond.
“My father was keen on investing his resources in people and ideas, many of which have grown into institutions. He left an indelible mark in his sphere of influence, starting with us his children, and in his hometown Benin City community, with his Alma Mata from past learning institutions, and I dare say in his country and beyond,” she said.
She announced the launch of the Wells Hosa Okunbo Foundation which she said is an expression of her father’s undying legacy, established primarily to consolidate and continue his passionate commitment to raising world changers in the core areas of education, entrepreneurship and youth empowerment in Nigeria.
“Through this outfit, we are determined to revolutionise the face of industrialisation in Africa and promote indigenous innovations that can boldly make a mark in the global space. The necessary systems for deployment are currently evolving and in the near future, we will be opening up opportunities for these expressions through access to funding,” she said.
Notable personalities including the Olu of Warri, Ogiame Atuwase III; former Edo State governor Adams Oshiomhole and Senator Dino Melaye also extolled the virtues of late Captain Okunbo, saying he impacted well on humanity during his lifetime.