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Dons task African students on nation building


As part of the efforts to move Africa forward, two visiting dons to the University of Ilorin last Wednesday (July 19, 2017) schooled African students on the need to shun corruption, be socially responsible as well as reduce over-dependence on the government, saying this is necessary to stimulate a generation that will redefine governance in African nations.

The duo, Prof. Z. O. Ogunnika from Virginia State University, USA, and Prof. K. K. Kamaldeen, the Country Director of the  United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Sudan, were guest lecturers at the 8th International Students' Day and Public Lecture, organised by the Centre for International Education (CIE), University of Ilorin.  

Prof. Ogunnika, who spoke on “Intellectual and Community Development: the Nigerian Case”, explained that an intellectual is not someone with the book knowledge alone but someone who has or is willing to contribute to positive change in the society, “someone who is looking at the future and already thinking of ways to actualise the vision that will develop the nation or community he is in.”

The Virginia varsity don stated that the genesis of Nigeria's problems began with the previous leaders who drove away the colonialists from the country. “It was from one master to the other. They believed they were the owners of knowledge and used their power to enslave other Nigerians and acquired properties. Nigerians and Africans in general started seeing relative deprivation when our people started ruling us.”

Also in his own lecture, entitled “Oh, Waiting for Africa”, Prof. Kamaldeen stated that for Africa to develop, goals need to be clearly defined, adding that “achieving progress in Africa is highly doable but we need to start by applying ourselves to it. We have to go beyond technical construct and figure out action plans to realise our goals.”

The UNDP Country Director, who noted that the responsibility of making Africa great “falls on all of us”, urged all to be innovative in seeking ways to drive Africa forward “and not relax waiting for a saviour because you are Africa, Africa is waiting for you to redefine its image and make it better.”

Urging students to engage in innovative thinking, Prof. Kamaldeen explained that the development choices made by past leaders have made it impossible to provide jobs for everyone, noting that in charting the pathway for the development of Africa, individuals need to know their responsibilities, government needs to be accountable and real development objectives should focus on the people.

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