Remarks At 50th Anniversary Of Ikeja Golf Club In Lagos
VP CHARGES ELITES WITH RESPONSIBILITY OF SHAPING, DIRECTING AND DEVELOPING SOCIETY
REMARKS BY HIS EXCELLENCY, PROF. YEMI OSINBAJO, SAN, THE VICE PRESIDENT, FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA, AT THE 50TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE IKEJA GOLF CLUB IN LAGOS ON THE 1ST OF DECEMBER 2018.
I am extremely pleased and honored to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of this great club with you all. And its an auspicious day, I’m sure you know that Nigeria won today, the Falcons defeated their South African counterparts, 4-3 after penalties to clinch Africa’s Nations Cup. I think women should give themselves a round of applause.
In the fifty years of the existence this club, it has established itself as a highly civilized and disciplined one. This probably explains why the activities of the club, including election into offices, have always been quiet and rancour-free. I have never heard that there was any dispute about who would be the President or the Captain as they say, of the club. I think you have a lot to teach us, politicians.
In any event, this is the friendliest golf club in the whole world and I can testify to that legendary friendliness. I had hardly alighted from my car when I was given a quick lesson in golf and was instructed very quickly, on how to tee-off and I was also presented with what I am told is a high-quality golf set.
You know I’ve not sat here for not longer than about an hour when the Captain gave me the title of honorary member. With this very friendly and rapid promotion that I have received since I got here, I will soon be Tiger Woods. I hope that that gasp was not one of disbelief, but one of support for my great ambition.
I am also aware of your support for education here in your neighbourhood. And all this is commendable, and in keeping with the high ideals, you have set for yourselves in the past 50 years.
I also suspect that the reason why you support social causes is that you recognize that the elite in any society bears a special burden to shape, direct and develop that society. There is no society in history that has grown beyond the selflessness, patriotism and values of its elite. It is in the country clubs, golf clubs and other exclusive clubs that the elite chart the political and socio-economic futures of their societies.
It is for this reason that I believe that the Nigerian elite, as represented here, the political, religious, professional and businesses, have a tremendous historical and moral obligation. That obligation that comes from the privilege of being better off than the rest of society. It is a profoundly serious responsibility that privilege confers upon us, especially in a society where the vast majority is extremely poor, with all the attendant issues of illiteracy disease and exclusion.
So, we the elite, have a responsibility to first adequately inform ourselves and then selflessly and honestly interrogate the issues that concern the majority of our people and to solve them. To ignore them is to court tragedy. In a few short years, we will become the third most populous nation in the world, following China and India. And we would unlike them, have the youngest population in the world also. Over 60% will be under 25. We have to plan today. We have to deal with the problems of educating over 100 million children and ensuring health care for even double that number. We must also deliberately and honestly take over 80million Nigerians out of extreme poverty.
I have travelled the length and breadth of this country and whether it is in Jibiya local government in Katsina or Guma in Benue, or Ankra Iga in Kogi or Abakaliki in Ebonyi where ever, the concerns of the ordinary Nigerians are the same; jobs, shelter, education for children etc. Their needs are simple. But so are the solutions if the elite is sensitive, selfless and committed to being honest.
I believe that in the next 50 years, the great challenges that will face this golf club aside from improving our abilities in playing golf, will be also to chart a path for our nation, as an elite, as being individuals who are so much better off than everybody else. I’m quite certain that responsibility will not find us wanting in any way. And all of us will make our contributions to ensuring that our nation is a fit place or life and livelihood of so many millions.
So, let me congratulate this club again, on its 50th anniversary, and to say that I pray that the coming 50 years will be so much better than the previous 50. And that all of us, who want to live an extra 50 years, should join me in saying 3 happy cheers to the Ikeja golf club. Only those who plan to live another 50 years.