Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has suggested an ethical revolution in Nigeria for the purpose of producing the highest quality individuals to run the most efficient governments and private institutions.
To ensure the success of the revolution, Professor Osinbajo, said, there is an urgent need to teach the right values, not only in our institutions of learning, but also imbibe national ethics of hardwork, honesty, integrity, trustworthiness, among others.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, who spoke today, January 17, in Abeokuta, Ogun State while delivering the Centenary Lecture of Baptist Boys’ High School (BBHS), asked the governments to lead this ethical revolution, by rewarding ethical behaviour and ensuring speedy punishment for misconduct.
He emphasized also that there is need for a national consensus, especially among the political, religious and business elite, in accepting and implementing minimum ethical standards, “where we establish a national work ethic, of honesty, hardwork, thrift and the deferment of gratification.”
Speaking on the topic “Values: the difference between success and failure,” Professor Osinbajo insisted that an ethical revolution is necessary to fast-track the country’s development towards becoming a great nation.
“It is what is taught and learned that shapes the character of individuals and nations. But it is not just teaching, governments must lead this ethical revolution, by rewarding ethical behaviour and ensuring speedy punishment for misconduct.
“The religious elite must reinforce the ethical direction agreed by showing that wealth, and influence is built by hardwork, diligence and the deferment of gratification and not just by miracles. The religious elite must also reject and ostracize public officers and persons whose wealth cannot be explained or is clearly from shady or suspicious sources. Every modern society has had to deal with corruption, and enthrone minimum ethical standards to succeed, we must do the same.”
The Vice President observed that the same values of integrity, hard work and trustworthiness are what make individuals, institutions and nations great.
“The difference between men and women who attain significance and those who do not is values. So, it is also the case that the difference between successful societies or countries and failed or failing countries is values.”
He referred to the examples of countries in Asia and Africa with huge deposits of natural resources and human talents, adding: “while geography plays an important role in the success of people and communities, they are not defining features; otherwise, the countries with the largest deposits of mineral wealth would be the most prosperous.”
Professor Osinbajo defined values as ethical principles by which individuals and communities live, work and interact, including honesty, integrity, trustworthiness, perseverance, hard work, diligence, discipline, respect, etc., even as he said: “it is values that determine the success or failure of individuals or societies.
“Venezuela has one of the largest oil deposits in the world but the UN estimates that 94% of its citizens are poor. The Great Lakes region in Africa has some of the world’s richest mineral deposits, yet the countries in the region are some of the poorest in the world. On the other hand, some of the wealthiest countries in the world and those that have the most companies listed on the Nasdaq are Israel, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, India, South Korea and Singapore — none of which have any natural resources.
“Every one of the great and successful economies of the world share the same characteristics, they emphasise hardwork, integrity.”