VP’s Remarks At Cuppy Gold Gala In Support Of Save The Children’s Work In Nigeria
REMARKS BY HIS EXCELLENCY, PROF. YEMI OSINBAJO, SAN, GCON, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA AT THE CUPPY GOLD GALA IN SUPPORT OF SAVE THE CHILDREN’S WORK IN NIGERIA, ON SUNDAY, 10TH NOVEMBER, 2019
It is a special pleasure to be here at this gala event organized by Cuppy Foundation in aid of the work of the Save the Children’s Foundation, Nigeria. Save the Children’s Foundation is just shy of two decades. It is in 33 States of Nigeria, and has touched the lives of over twenty million children and their parents. The Cuppy Foundation under the inspired leadership of Ife Otedola aka Cuppy, has actively supported children especially in the North East of Nigeria, and has also given generous scholarships to disabled Nigerians for their university.
Mr. Femi Otedola first mentioned this event to me almost a year ago. I had asked him to support The North East Children’s Initiative, a not-for-profit chaired by Mr. Jim Ovia committed to giving world class education to children caught in the Northeast conflict. He obliged, and was extremely generous to that whole effort. Today, his donation of five billion naira to the Save the Children Foundation for use in the Northeast is probably one of the largest cash donations to a philanthropic cause in Nigeria today. We commend and congratulate him.
An event such as this, where we have a remarkable array of businessmen, politicians, captains of industry, top rated professionals, and icons of the arts and entertainment, permit me to ask a question that life has asked through the ages. It is the question, “what will you be remembered for?” Perhaps I should help by noting what we will not be remembered for. No one ever remembers the number of houses, cars, or cash that anyone has. Except, of course, relatives and friends who want to inherit something. Even fame will fade in due course.
The likes of Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Aliko Dangote and now Femi Otedola caught that revelation and pooled their resources to solve the huge problems of extreme poverty, healthcare and education of the poor across the world. Every day, millions of people all over the world receive immunization, emergency help, food and drugs paid for by their foundation and many will live, many children will survive, because Aliko Dangote, Bill and Melinda Gates, and Femi Otedola put their resources to help people they do not know and would probably never meet. By their good works, they achieved something few will ever attain, that thing called Significance.
Significance Is neither wealth or fame, it the reward that history bestows on men and women who invest their wealth, talents and even their lives, to bring justice, freedom, life and livelihoods to millions of the vulnerable, oppressed, persecuted or poor. These are individuals who by their acts of personal sacrifice and their commitment to altruism and good, affirm the highest human values.
They demonstrate that the misery and suffering of others diminishes our individual and collective humanity, and they do all they can to end it. The reward of a life of significance is that these men and women actually live forever. Because their stories and memories are embedded where they cannot be destroyed, in the hearts of men, generation after generation, the act of kindness that changes lives, that sacrifice that brings hope to the hopeless, the good that strengthens the weak, cannot be forgotten because they connect to the eternal God who is the meaning of compassion.
So, tonight as we commend the Cuppy Foundation and Save the Children, this event must also focus our minds on the tragically unfinished business of caring for the millions of vulnerable, poor and malnourished especially here in our own country.
In 2016, President Buhari proposed the largest Social Investment Programme of its type in Africa, budgeting 500billion naira, close to about 1.5billion USD. Under the programme, we employ 500,000 young men and women, we feed 9.3million children every day, we give micro credits to 2million petty traders and 1million of the poorest of the poor, receive conditional cash transfers. Yet, we are far from where we ought to be. 1.7million new job entrants come into the job market yearly, we are 4million pupils short of our target for school feeding, even though we are feeding 9.3million. Millions more require micro-credits. When we looked at our last estimates, we should be doing 15million in micro credits to make the difference that we should make but we are at 2million now. It’s obvious that government cannot do it alone.
So, we do not need to be billionaires to start doing something, we certainly don’t need to even be millionaires to start doing something. The likes of Cuppy, a young woman, and several others like herself have started doing stuff even without the millions and the billions. And I think it is time, for each and every one of us to decide that we really can make a difference and make our own contribution to this course of ensuring that the poor and the vulnerable are given a decent life and attain some dignity while they are alive.
Bob Lee, quoting what a friend before he died of a terminal illness said, he was talking about what you could do for others, and why you should do it early. So, he said and I quote, “Though none of us can go back and create a new beginning, all of us can start today to create a new ending.” And I am sure that the ending would be one that would give us all satisfaction and earn us all significance.
Thank you very much, God bless you.