This event was an event of the high and mighty… graced by people who have created a niche for themselves in their specific fields of interest and not forgetting the wonderful audience because the venue, the covenant Place Iganmu was filled to the brim…
The program commenced around 10am Saturday 1st of October 2015, with pastor Poju Oyemade’s the convener of the event making the opening Speech.
The first speaker to grace the podium and grace the event was the beautiful and elegant Bolanle Austen Peters of Terra culture… Her speech on the relevance of arts and culture in the development of Nigeria was very profound and proofed her expertise in the field. She informed us that arts and culture as a concept is more than the Atliogu dance and Bata dance, it comprises of arts and culture: festivals, jewelries, wears, sculpture, museums, visual arts, theatre, music, toys, dance, interior decoration e.t.c. and also Nigeria has focused too much on oil to the extent that now, we are still under developed despite the fact that she is so rich in resources.
She referred to arts and culture as creative energy that people especially youths need to employ because Nigeria has a youthful population and that the strength of a nation are its people. She mentioned four countries namely: Taiwan, Mexico, India, and China as countries that were able to develop their country economically through the promotion of arts and culture. She made mention that most of our art work especially sculptures, bronzes (of former Benin kingdom) are more presentable in overseas than in Nigeria because they realize the values more than we do and have been able to sell it to people and they even organize exhibitions, they have more museums, tourist centres and theaters overseas compared to Nigeria.
She was able to back up her facts with statistics rating from Nigeria’s youthful population, the income generated by Nollywood even though most of our actors started from the scratch with no support from government not forgetting the music industry and the income generated by musicians. She said that our musicians and actors have been able to sell us to the world but we do not appreciate them, companies and organizations make them brand ambassadors but the hype we give to foreign celebrities is not commensurate with the way we promote our own and one way to develop Nigeria is to begin to promote what is ours..
She is someone that has ventured into different fields including law, arts and producing movies. Her drive for the promotion of arts and culture led to establish Terraculture and they have a place where they perform theatre every Sundays and the turn up of people that come to watch Saro the musical has been on the increase.
She ended on the note that Government will have to play their role of building technical and vocational colleges and also implement laws that will protect the intellectual properties of artists. And also the teachers too must be well qualified, because the only way we can develop is for youths to create business that will employ people.
And secondly the youths should not sit back and watch, they should make use of what is in their hands!
The second Speaker Professor Pius Adesanmi spoke on Hating Nigeria unto greatness. He is the author of ‘You are not a country, Nigeria.’ He said concerning the convener of the annual event Pastor Poju Oyemade that he had this vision of the platform and he was able to apply it and that we should do the same thing too. He related his experience in Canada about how he was missing home (Nigeria) because in Nigeria we have enabled and legitimized the culture of mediocrity and irresponsibility but there in Canada there is nothing like Africa time or giving excuses for not been able to submit appraisals as at when due.
He said that Nigeria will grow and develop if we choose to hate the negative things about Nigeria and we should observe the philosophy of great nations while trying to Nigeria great.
According to Him the author of ‘what is a nation?’ opined that ‘a nation are people who have decided what they have collectively agreed to forget and what they have collectively agreed to remember.
His last words were: AVOID MEDICROCRITY AND NIGERIA WILL BE GREAT!
JUDY SMITH was the third speaker to grace the event. She is an author. Her topic was LEADING THROUGH CRISIS: WHAT EVERY LEADER SHOULD KNOW but it was an interview session. She was interviewed by the wife of the convener and also some questions were taken via twitter.
She said that atimes no matter how powerful you are, leaders do not listen, when she was asked that if a leader is taking a wrong step, how will she correct them. She also said that the biggest task in leadership is that ‘people should lead’ because we have a little time to lead (take action). When she was asked how she manages her work and her family, she answered with an example of a day she was supposed to be at her child’s school but she remembered during a meeting which was important, she excused herself from the meeting, went to the ladies and made a call to someone who would get and take everything necessary to her child’s school and she went back to the meeting ‘as if nothing happened.’
The movie: Scandal was based on her true life story.
The fourth speaker OLUSEGUN ADENIYI is an author and he spoke on where do we go from here?
He spoke at length but he kept reiterating a statement that I can hardly forget ‘If we stay here (allow things to remain the same) we will die!’ That is if we decide to be content with where we are now, things will get worse unless we act and refuse to do things the same way they have been done overtime, unless we decide to create the change, the remaining few good things we are still looking at will vanish. We must MOVE from ‘here’
The fifth speaker was Prof. Patrick Utomi. He holds 2masters degree and a PHD as at 26years, author of ‘why nations are poor’ and he became a Special adviser at age 27years.
‘If there is no struggle, there is no progress’ – Fredrick Douglas
According to him ‘Values shape human beings and brings about progress’ the reason why our dear country is experiencing diverse social problems and issues is because of the change in our value system or better still lack of a value system. He said that we could improve on ourselves and our nation in turn through reading and rendering service such as volunteering, community work and so on. He also stipulated that Strong institutions and strong leaders work hand in hand, it is hard it isolate one from another. According to him if a leaders is placed in a weak system, there is possibility that a strong leader will let his/her guards down and if a leader finds himself in a strong system such person will conform to the rules of that system.
Lastly, MGR Matthew Hassan Kukah spoke on NIGERIA’S LONG WALK TO FREEDOM, which made me remember Nelson Mandela’s book LONG WALK TO FREEDEOM. His part was interesting and yet very educating…
He said that we live in a country where so many good people are doing so many bad things and he also stated that Strong men create strong institutions.
‘The greatest sin is this world is the sin of indifference’ – Mother Theresa
‘It is religion that stops the poor from killing the rich’ – Napoleon
Then lastly, an interview with Prof Osinabjo was played ……
Time was well managed and the event was a success.