THE SPEECH OF HON BOLA ILORI AT THE DISTRIBUTION OF 1500 FREE SCHOOL UNIFORMS, BAGS AND OTHER SCHOOL KITS IN COMMEMORATION OF HIS BIRTHDAY BY BOLA ILORI FOUNDATION HELD AT ONDO CITY ON 27TH APRIL 2021.
What we are doing today is calling our attention to a critical issue in our society. That children are our future is no longer news to anyone, but what we make of these children is what we will all depend upon for good as a society.
Attention to children can no longer be limited to our biological children only, this is regardless of whether we are in government or other positions of influence. It matters less to us today who the biological parents Mark Zuckerberg are, but what has come out of Mark’s well nurtured mind has become a great resource to the world. Life and Communications are much easier with Facebook. There are hundreds of other young people all over the world creating new wonders in technology and social services. Just as there are many misguided children, creating nuisance and vices in several communities. Our children, if well supported, can also do great things that can transform Nigeria and the World.
The world and it’s future looks more insecure daily that giving up is fast becoming the easiest thing to do for our young and old. For our school children of indigent background, keeping hope alive is more difficult. Many of them are not able to see life beyond immediate survivals, but the truth is that there are lots of evolving opportunities in the world. No one is exempted from greatness unless the inadequately prepared. Education is the only certain path to achieving a life purpose.
A deep reflection on the insecurity narrative in Nigeria will reveal a clear nexus between educational backwardness, overpopulation, poverty, and insecurity. In our national desire to stem the tide of insecurity, It is no longer realistic to leave the provision and support for public education to government alone in the interest of our collective safety. The security of the kids you spend fortune to send to private schools would forever be hunted by those kids left unsupported in the society. The complete nexus is well articulated in the SDG goals and what we are doing here is specifically captured by goal 17 of SDG goal!
Therefore, we must all be committed to facilitating adequate school infrastructures, but beyond that, we must also give these children a sense of pride, importance and belonging. They must believe that the society has plans for them, and is looking up to them for greater solutions to contemporary challenges in the country. We must not just be training them to survive and look for jobs, rather, we must be training them to be solution providers and job creators.
The world has changed today, families no longer need many children to become great, one or two adequately trained children in home values and excellent academic performances can announce a family name all over the world. Families should limit the number of children they bear to the ones that they can be able to train to distinction.
Ondo Kingdom is a place of pride, our pride is from education. We are among the first communities in the entire Africa to have a grammar school. Ondo was a Mecca of Knowledge in the 1920’s and after. The entire Kogi, Ekiti, Bendel (Benin and Delta) and others depended on our Ondo Boys High School here for post primary school education. Many great minds that built industries, economy and civil service in Nigeria were trained here. The entire area was named after us viz Ondo Province, Ondo State, and other recognitions well merited. We must continue to re-create this lofty value of distinction. Our children must be given all the confidence that they are not subordinates to any other children in the world regardless of skin colour, and technological exposure. Every child and every Community is unique and a lot can be achieved by looking inward using the power of education and knowledge.
It is in view of the facts above that I have decided to add my own widows might to the educational advancement of Ondo Kingdom as a community development effort. A total of 1500 students will be benefiting from the Bola Ilori Foundation school uniforms, bags, and some other school kits. I must not fail to extend the appreciation of the foundation to all our partners that supported these lofty efforts. I congratulate all the beneficiaries of the school kits, I admonish you to make good use of these items so that you can inspire other notable Nigerians to do more for other students and for you to make we your parents proud. Finally I thank all those who make efforts to attend this Programme.