The Special Adviser Political Matters and Strategy to Governor of Oyo state, Hon Babatunde Oduyoye has stated the reason behind organising the Babatunde Oduyoye Annual Birthday Lecture Series.
Oduyoye who gave the welcome address at the 7th Babatunde Oduyoye Annual Birthday Lecture Series, on Tuesday, in Ibadan, the Oyo state capital said love and patriotism for the country drove the passion to institute the Babatunde Oduyoye Birthday Lecture Series.
The Former House of Representatives member said the journey started in the year 2003, a year after his election into the National Assembly as the member representing Ibadan North-West/Ibadan South-West Federal Constituency.
He said passion to contribute his quota to the development of the country made him take a small corner from which he felt he could change the world.
He said: “This journey started in the year 2003, a year after my election into the National Assembly as the member representing Ibadan North-West/Ibadan South-West Federal Constituency.
“The conceptualisation of this event, which has become a veritable platform for the discussion of critical national issues and an avenue for seeking solutions to the challenges that bedevil of our darling country, came from the realisation of Yoruba saying: “Omo onilu o ni fe o tu…” and the popular line of the epic song by King Sunny Ade, “Nigeria yi, ti gbogbo wa ni, ko ma gbodo baje.”
“For anyone who can ruminate and think deeply, love for God and country must always be paramount and it is this love, or what some may call patriotism, that drove the passion to institute the Babatunde Oduyoye Birthday Lecture Series.
Perhaps, someone may ask why me or why do I love my country that much? The blessing or burden of sharing the October 1 birthday with Nigeria, literally speaking, is enough to heed the call to action.
“The passion to serve and the dedication to the call of duty have always been topmost in my heart. That passion to contribute my quota to the development of the country made me take a small corner from which I felt I could change the world. That passion defines my life as a Students’ Union Leader, a politician or from whatever prism anyone chooses to view me. That passion made my path cross with the Governor of Oyo State, His Excellency, ‘Seyi Makinde, a man who has done so much in a short while to reposition Oyo State and move it from poverty to prosperity.
“Over the years, heeding the call to service and patriotism have made us bring on this platform several heavyweight speakers drawn from the political and academic fields to dilate on topical issues bordering on unity and oneness of the Nigerian State, fiscal federalism and restructuring, among others.
Oduyoye said the focus of the lecture from the inaugural edition has been the same and the singular purpose that Nigeria may triumph through its myriads of challenges.
He added that it’s however sad that the challenges of insecurity and threat to Nigeria’s oneness have proven to be hydra-headed and intractable.
His words: “From the inaugural edition in 2003 to the 6th edition held in 2017, the focus has been the same and the purpose singular, that Nigeria may triumph through its myriads of challenges.
“Sadly, however, the challenges of insecurity and threat to our oneness have proven to be hydra-headed and seemingly intractable. Never in the life of the nation have we had the divisive tendencies and insecurity challenges assail us so badly.
“As a nation, we have had innumerable challenges and threats to our national unity, while on a daily basis, stories of terrorism, banditry, violence, killings and other insecurity challenges continue to weaken the hearts. Agitations for restructuring, national dialogue or whatever name anyone chooses to call it, continue to ring loud, while threats to peace and continued existence of the nation continue to rankle.
“It was in the midst of this cacophony, this confusion that a still small voice whispered in the ears of the Babatunde Oduyoye Annual Birthday Lecture Committee that we should yield the platform for discussions on unity, peace and order in our dear nation.”
Dignitaries at the event were chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) and governor of Ekiti State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi; Oyo State governor, ‘Seyi Makinde, Former Senate President, Adolphus Wabara; Former Oyo State governor, Senator Rashidi Ladoja and his wife, Alhaja Mutiat Ladoja; Former Chief of Staff to Oyo State governor, Chief Bisi Ilaka and other dignitaries.