Posted: Thursday 4, June 2015
These are excerpts from my welcome address at the 3rd Grace Foundation Day Lecture on the topic; Employing the Unemployable in Nigeria - Evaluation of Public Actions and Emerging Lessons delivered by the Professor Foluso Okunmadewa, Lead Specialist - Social Protection, World Bank at Trenchard Hall, University of Ibadan on 15th May 2015. I wish to share it with you my readers as my Message of Grace for this month.
“And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in.” Isaiah, Chapter 58, verse 12:
This year's Grace Foundation Day is unique in that it coincides with the 10th anniversary of the Foundation. We will be marking the day with awards to deserving members of the society; those who have distinguished themselves as worthy role models and have contributed immensely to the work and success of the Foundation. Also we will be taking a great step in the work of the Foundation by inaugurating The Grace Generation. This is a forum created for our graduate scholars. It is aimed at forming a critical mass for leadership growth and impact on our nation. In line with our vision, The Grace Generation is aimed at providing a base for growing future leaders for our nation.
Indeed, our nation and our world require at this time people who will rise up to the occasion and 'live above the fog in public duty, and in private thinking', as Josiah Gilbert Holland said in his poem, 'God, Give us Men!' This call is perhaps more urgent now as a new government takes over the centre stage in Nigeria.
At this stage of her development, Nigeria needs repairers of the breach and restorer of streets to dwell in! Enough of religious and ethnic sentiments!. Times like this call for deep soul searching, especially by those of us who profess Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour and have received many prophesises of the future greatness of this nation. It is time for us to stand up and fulfill the purpose for which God has called us. God has not called us to live as an island and expect others to make things right. Indeed we all have a purpose and a role to play.
The situation of things in our nation is a sure evidence of lack of true and real leaders. There is a need for concerted efforts to rescue our nation and her future generations. May I ask, what are you doing or going to do to bring about a change in the situation of things? I challenge you today to come out and join in the task to build the old waste places and repair the breach in our nation.
Our youths need good role models to follow. Our society needs real fathers to rise up to the occasion! We need 'men with strong minds, great hearts, of true faith and with ready hands; Men whom the lust of office does not kill; Men whom the spoils of office cannot buy; Men who possess opinions and a will; Men who have honor; men who will not lie; Men who can stand before a demagogue and damn his treacherous flatteries without winking! (Josiah Gilbert Holland).
This is nowhere more urgent now than in the political arena and I daresay the church? We need the fathers and mothers who will restore the core values which are daily being eroded and sin is being legitimized! Are you one or are you just sitting there blaming everyone else except yourself? If you ‘sit at ease in Zion’, I daresay that you are part of the problem!
Grace Leadership Foundation has over the past ten years strived to run with the vision God gave us and fulfill our core mandate. We need your support. Not just in terms of money but in changing your paradigm and begin to see this nation as a commonwealth, where we all have to chip in our quota. We can do this in our daily living. Lets imbibe the core values of integrity, honesty and hard work, so that our youths, the future of tomorrow will have good examples to follow.
The theme and topic of this year's lecture is particularly apt for this period of our existence as a nation. Things are very difficult for our people. There is unemployment in the land. Our youths roam the streets without gainful employment and as such cannot contribute to nation building. Instead they are being forced to turn against her. Or how can you explain a child that you have struggled to send through school and having qualified is roaming the streets with nothing to do? The devil finds work for an idle mind. Or have you noticed, Nigerians along the streets struggling daily, barely making ends meet to survive? Those who even have jobs are being owed salaries for many months. Can we send a message to the incoming government; stop these inhuman and insensitive bogus salaries and emoluments of our political office holders. The place is awash with naira that you hardly get people of good conscience and character partaking in it! We are running our nation with our fourth eleven team as in a football match. Of course we already know the result, even before the match started.
Let's be creative with generating employment for our youths. Lets unleash their youthful potential on the development of this nation! Lets liberate them from the recurring curse of mediocrity, greed and graft. It is time to take a stand. Will you join us in taking a stand at this time? Lets support the incoming government of General Mohammed Buhari to build a new nation. He cannot do it alone. We all have to come and lend a helping hand. Lets pray that our God will make him a true father to this nation. A father in the ilk of Lee Kuan Yew, the first Prime Minister of Singapore; who during his reign Singapore became the most prosperous nation in Southeast Asia and at his death left behind a legacy of an efficiently run country and a leader who brought prosperity unheard of before his tenure. Lets rise up to stop corruption. It is not only those in government that are corrupt. Most of us in our individual places of engagement, in the offices, our homes, in our churches, mosques and so on are corrupt! Don't stay in glass houses and throw stones. Come clean and take a positive stand! the Lord will help us only if we decide to make a change.
However to make a positive change and have impact, we should ourselves make the right move. Jesus Christ is the enabler of positive change. Therefore you have to come to him in total repentance so that your life can be positively impacted and you will become a child of God. In the kingdom of God there is righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. So if you have not given your life to Jesus and become born again, there is no better time than now. I want you to consider this and in the recess of your heart, make the decision to come to Christ. He says anyone who come to me I will in no wise cast out. If you want to know more about this, you can see me at the end of the programme.
May the Lord bless and keep you. May He make His face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you. May the Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace, now and forevermore. Amen.
Have a wonderful month.
1. Thank the Lord for the new government that has just taken over in Nigeria. In particular the peace and goodwill that accompanied its commencement on 29th May 2015.
2. Pray that the Lord will guide our new president, Mohammadu Buhari, in the selection of his members of his team. That he will not go the old way but will select people who will work with him with great dedication and love for the masses of this country.
3. Pray that our God will grant him wisdom to be able to address the multi-facet problems of our nation. That there will be the dawning and awakening of new possibilities and opportunities for our nation to grow and fulfill the counsel and purpose of God for her.
4. Pray that the Lord will be gracious to our land and our people. That he will make haste to favor us and grant us peace around our borders during this life of this government and beyond.
5. Pray the same prayer for yourself, that the Lord will be gracious to you and that He will make haste to favor you and grant you peace around your borders in Jesus name.
6. Pray for wisdom and courage for our leaders to be able to find solutions to the serious problem of youth unemployment in our land.
President, Grace Leadership Foundation.
Monday 15, May 2015
The Lord will make this month to bring about the dawn and awakening of new and greater opportunities and possibilities in your life in Jesus name