Orp Salau


The Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dr Kayode Fayemi, has charged Nigerian graduates to “quit whining” and seize opportunities that abound around them. The Minister, who delivered the 2016 Convocation Lecture of the University of Lagos, on Monday, disclosed he had once worked as a taxi driver and a security guard.

“You have to be prepared to bend backwards and do what you might consider to be beneath you, because of the bigger picture. When you consider my resume today, you might see the prestigious organisations I have been privileged to work with. What you need to know, however, is that as a UNILAG graduate and a postgraduate student in the United Kingdom, I have also driven taxis and worked as a security guard, among several other menial jobs I did in the past to survive.

“You need to get off your high horses, quit whining and start doing, for yourselves and for our country. If something angers you so much, instead of whining, think hard about possible solutions and do something about it,” he said.

Fayemi also called for a reappraisal of higher institutions in the country stressing that universities must be equipped not only to support academic work, but to provide other tools needed to make their graduates independently minded.

He said, “In contemplating the challenges of leadership and development in Nigeria therefore, we have to critically reappraise our educational institutions and make necessary interventions to ensure they not only have adequate funding, world class physical structures, and functional teaching equipment, but also the right social environment that supports the education of the total man.”

He decried what he called “misplaced emphasis on certificates” which prevents students from “imbibing critical life skills that ought to have been learnt concurrently with (their) academic studies.”

Earlier, the Chairman of the occasion, Major General Ike Nwachukwu (retired), challenged young people to take up leadership roles, while also urging members of the older generation to give young people a chance.