Policy Briefs

Surviving These Changing Times

Obaze Honored by Rotarians


Remarks By Mr. Oseloka H. Obaze, MD/CEO Selonnes Consult While Accepting Meritorious Leadership Award, By The Rotary Club Awka GRA, At the East End Hotel , Awka, Saturday 30 July, 2016

I am extremely honoured to join you this afternoon. Thank you so much for the gracious invitation and more especially, for finding me worthy of recognition by the Rotary Club of Nigeria for my humble services to our humanity. This, indeed, is the second time within three years that I am being honoured by a Rotary Club. I am truly humbled and accept this award with deep gratitude.

I salute the Rotarian Arc. Danielson Ndubuisi Ositadinma, President, 2016-17 of the Rotary Club of Awka GRA, District 9140 Nigeria. I also salute your entire members, especially my dear friend, Hon. Fidel Okafor and those who collectively weighed in on the decision to honour me.

I salute the Rotarian spirit, your collective commitment to public morality, equity and altruism and your collective aspiration to make our humanity better by restoring our fast diminishing hope in the value of doing good and rendering public service.

As always, I remain steadfast in applauding and supporting the Rotarian principles, especially the four-way test, which should guide those in leadership positions and politics. Because it retains unchanging validity, let me repeat what I said two years ago to the Rotary Club Onitsha East.  “Your four-way test remains valid today, as it were in the good old days, when the public service had integrity, and was not bedeviled by greed, impunity, and corruption. Regardless of the form or structure of governance in place, the questions of the four-way test remain unequivocal.”   These challenges are more so in present day Nigeria.

Today, I will speak briefly on “Surviving These Changing Times”. Incidentally, as I was finalizing these remarks, I came across, rather fortuitously, a piece written by Kenneth Gyado, titled, “How Times Have Changed.”   It was indeed a remarkable coincidence; serendipity of sorts.

The line that caught my attention in the piece was this: “In Nigeria, there is no objective yardstick of measuring right and wrong. The phenomenon of RIGHT and WRONG is defined by how the situation affects the individual. It is purely a matter of personal perspective.” End Quote. Then another line declared poignantly, “In Nigeria the elite prosper while the country collapses”.

Well, we — most of us in this room — belong to the cadre of Nigeria elite, even if we are inclined to dodge that sobriquet now. Nonetheless, we must assume part, if not full responsibility for what is happening to our country.  The reality is that we have made bad choices: bad choices in choosing our leaders, bad choices in our governance methods; bad choices in setting our national priorities and indeed, bad choices, in our shifting national lifestyles.  We must accept the collective responsibility as we seek desirable change.

I personally pride myself as a problem solver. Perhaps, that is why I admire the Rotarians. I believe that there are no challenges — political, governance or natural — that confront our humanity that are insurmountable.  But just as we make hard, good or bad choices, we must also take hard-headed decisions. We must, like we were taught in college “never be content with a half-truth when the whole can be won.”  We must make hard choices about the type of leaders we need; not convenient choices of choosing those who best suit our psyche of easy lifestyle and inclination to squandering public wealth by using it as political largess. This explains why our nation is broke today, and twenty-eight states cannot pay salaries.

As Rotarians, you must speak up and stand up for your ideals, setting aside the convenience of partisanship, sectionalism, ethnicity, clannishness and the lure to belong or get along.

I know that surviving in this difficult era of a tanking economy is very difficult; but it will get worse, if we do not reclaim our political space, our moral space and our historical space.   Since we no longer teach history in our schools, we are already marching toward being non-existent.

It is no longer a matter of the strong surviving; it is a matter of society surviving trough that efforts of those who stand up for the truth; for what is right and for what is fair to all.   That is the calling and mandate of Rotarians. I urge you not to relent in your efforts.

In closing, applaud the charity work you do in support of the destitute, delivery of healthcare and other humanitarian concerns. I know such humanitarian services have financial cost implications. As such, I will support your collective mission by offering my token contribution to your noble efforts.

Thank you and God bless.

Oseloka Obaze, MD & CEO

Oseloka Obaze, MD & CEO

Mr. Obaze is the former Secretary to the State Government of Anambra State, Nigeria from 2012 to 2015 - MD & CEO, Oseloka H. Obaze. Mr. Obaze also served as a former United Nations official, from 1991-2012, and as a former member of the Nigerian Diplomatic Service, from 1982-1991.

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