From Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan
Former Governor of Imo State, Senator Rochas Okorocha, on Saturday, identified poverty and injustice as causes of instability in Nigeria, threatening the country’s corporate existence, describing both as common enemies that all Nigerians must be united to fight and defeat.
The senator made the observation in his address after he was honoured with the award of ‘Outstanding Friend of Ibadan’, presented to him at the grand finale of the 2021 Ibadan Cultural Festival Celebration, held at Obafemi Awolowo Stadium (former Liberty Stadium), Ibadan, the Oyo State capital. It was organised by the Central Council of Ibadan Indigenes (CCII).
Senator Okorocha, representing Imo West senatorial district, called on Nigerians to rise up and find a lasting solution to the country’s challenges. He lamented that despite his own efforts in solving the problems by building schools across the federation with a view to giving access to poor children whose parents could not afford to send them to school, poverty and injustice still persist.
He appealed to well-meaning Nigerians and corporate orgainsations to join hands in eradicating poverty and injustice that have led to a lack of Western education, banditry, kidnapping, insurgency, terrorism, and other forms of insecurity in the country. He said poverty and injustice are the common enemies that Nigerians should be united to fight.
Senator Okorocha, who was accompanied by former Governor of Gombe State, Senator Ibrahim Dakwambo, and other dignitaries, according to the outgoing President-General of CCII, Chief Yemi Soladoye, was honoured with the award in recognition of his contributions to the education of indigent students, through his free education programme and establishment of tuition free schools, Rochas Foundation College in Ibadan.
The former governor, who thanked the Olubadan of Ibadan, Oba Saliu Adetunji, Aje Ogungunniso I, and eminent sons and daughters of Ibadan for the award, noted that about 25,000 indigent children across South-West, out of which 6,000 were from Ibadan, have benefited from the free education programme of the school.
‘If all these children gathered here and many of them who have passed through my foundation were not given the opportunity of free education, many of them would have become one of the Boko Haram insurgents, causing violence around the nation,’ he stated.
President-General of CCII Soladoye said the 2021 Ibadan Week was meant to celebrate Ibadan sons and daughters, as well as people that have contributed immensely to the development of Ibadanland.
The CCI also honoured with awards eminent personalities, including a former Vice Chancellor, University of Ibadan, Prof Idowu Olayinka; Senator Kola BAlogun, representing Oyo South in the National Assembly; a business tycoon, Aderemi Oseni; a renowned Islamic cleric, Prof Sabitu Olagoke; and a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state, Prince Ayodeji Abass-Aleshinloye.