Independence Day Inspirational talk delivered to over 500 Primary & Secondary School students of Omala Local Government at Abejukolo, Kogi State, Nigeria.


On the 1st of October 1960, Nigerians finally got the chance to decide how to govern Nigeria, for the first time in our history, our fellow countrymen were in charge: We had gained independence from the British. Our heroes, people like Nnamdi Azikwe, Obafemi Awolowo & Sir Ahmadu Bello & led the struggle through the power of their thoughts, the force of their words and the nobility of their acts. 54 years after, we are one nation, with many challenges but with solutions lying within us.

As a young Nigerian, you may have heard many negative things about the country. And the blame is usually on the government. But who makes up the government, who is in government? Every single person in government is a Nigerian raised in Nigeria, our leaders were not imported from China or USA They are Nigerians who went to school like you, Nigerians who studied in your kind of class, who played football, who gisted with their friends, who grew up in your neighborhood.

So it’s time you realized that 20-30 years from today, you will be the one’s occupying the seats of power, from Omala to Yagba-East, from Kogi to the very corridors of power in Abuja. The question is: how can you change Nigeria for the better, How can you contribute to Making Nigeria the greatest African Nation on earth? What is your role in making it a thing of pride to say: I am A Nigerian?

To discover your role, you need four letters:


It allows you to see & seize opportunities

All those that fought for our independence had the best of education, they were brilliant scholars. The Governor of Kogi State, His Excellency, Captain Idris Wada is an educated man, a polished man. They did not run away from school, they were diligent with their assignments, they read at night while their mates were asleep, they did not use expo to pass, and they are the ones we look up to. Your ambition has an educational requirement, do you want to be a president, pilot, a lawyer, a doctor, a teacher, or a journalist? You need knowledge

You need to read today so that you will not cry tomorrow. You need to read today so that you will become relevant tomorrow. You have to read to lead, you have to read to feed, you have to read till your books get torn. Read till you get the 80’s & the 90’s, read till WAEC invites the Commissioner for education for a meeting to learn how & why Kogi Students keep passing with flying colors. For you to make any meaningful contribution to Nigeria, you must take your education seriously.


It allows you move to the next level of your life

Omala local government is beautiful, Kogi is wonderful, blessed with land, in agriculture, in people, now, your role is to see & seize opportunities. When your school needs a prefect, it should be you, when your teacher needs someone to clean the board, it should be you, when your friend needs someone to teach him something, it should be you, when school resumes & others skip class, even if there is only one person in class, it should be you.

It is an opportunity to be in the class that you are, in the school that you are, in the state that you are. What if you are sitting beside the next governor, behind the next president? What if your class teacher will become the Vice Chancellor of Kogi State University? Every opportunity to serve others is a chance to become great in life. Great men did not become great by serving themselves, they became great by serving others, by giving their time, their energy, their love for others. The only way to become great tomorrow is to take all your opportunities today. How many of you can write your name with your left hand…can you? Why not? Because you have always used your right hand to write since you were born, now you can’t write with your left. It’s the same you, the same hand, yet you can’t write with it. What you don’t use becomes useless. The same way those who were in the same class with you but never stayed in class, those who lived in the same street with you but chose violence, will see you on television.


It allows you to contribute to your neighborhood, to the nation

There is so much joy in giving to others. From the joy you feel when you share your food with your friend or feed a hungry total stranger to the joy I feel right now by talking to you about Nigeria, about how to become great, Giving is really living. Your parents give you food, shelter, they give you money, they give you love, your teachers give you’re their time, their knowledge, your state gives you education, what will you give back? Have you ever bought a gift for your parents, for your teachers?


It allows you to move faster, allows the nation to become greater

Every single thing you enjoy today from the chair you sit on in school to the bag on your back, to the fine clothes you’re wearing were all created by people like you who. Without your bags, your books will be badly torn. Without the chair, we’d all sit on the floor in class. Innovation is the answer.

Most of us were very young, some of us were not even born when Telephones were scarce, they were in a few rich homes, and telephone wires were just like PHCN wires, then someone looked at it and invented a small phone, something you could put in your pocket, without the need for wires all around the place. A phone that would work regardless of heavy rain fall. There is always a better way of doing things. There is a better way to dress, a better way to talk to your parents, teachers, a better way to read your books, a better way to think. Do you know that children your age in China, now assemble the mobile phones we use? You are not too young to be innovative, you are not too young to find a better way to help your parents sell their farm products faster, and you are not too young to find a solution to problems around you. Every problem created by man can be solved by man.

And I just talked to you about knowledge, Opportunity, Giving & Innovation, when you take the first letters of the four words, you get KOGI!

Finally, who is a Nigerian?

Is He someone living in Nigeria, or someone who Nigeria lives in?

Is He someone who points accusing fingers at others, or someone who takes responsibility for his life?

Is He someone who drops pieces of paper on the floor or someone who helps to keep the environment clean?

Is He someone who does not read, does not go to class, cheats in the exam, or someone who is serious with his education and passes well?

Is He someone who is rough, dirty & violent or that neat, organized and well-mannered student?

Is He someone without a plan for his life, someone without a dream, a goal, someone who would rather be a political thug and take lives or is He that ambitious young boy & girl who wants to find the cure for Hiv, who wants to become the first female president, who wants to make Kogi state the tourism destination of the world.?

He is the one who does the right things at the right time, at the right place and in the right way

I’m not here to brag, but let me let some cats out of the bag:

In my Primary 2, I was on state TV talking leadership

In my JSS2: I was the overall best student in a school of over 3,000

In my SS2: I had my O’level results with a distinction and I represented Oyo state at the National Jets competition which put me on National TV

In my Part 2: founded a multimedia company

Today, I am here to tell you that you can make a difference no matter your age, no matter your height, no matter your weight. No matter your background, as your background is not a reason for your back to be on the ground but a reason for you to fly further from the ground.

You’re the next biggest accountant, the best doctor, bigger than Ben Carson, the worlds finest footballer, finer than Messi, the next greatest writer, greater than Wole Soyinka, you are next greatest governor, greater than Governor Wada

You are the Nigeria’s hope today, her leader tomorrow.

You are special, brilliant, intelligent, smart, and beautiful.

You are not an accident; you were born for a reason, you are not nobody; you are somebody.

You are the future of Nigeria, you are the solution to Nigeria’s many problems, THAT IS WHY YOU WERE BORN A NIGERIAN.

Published by Ogunbowale Olugbenga

Ogunbowale Olugbenga is a multiple award winning social entrepreneur & digital skills expert. An alumnus of the Leadership in Business Institute of Kellogg School of Management (USA), He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Obafemi Awolowo University (Nigeria). Inspired by the plight of millions of unemployed youths, Olugbenga founded Epower.ng, a digital agency passionately growing businesses & accelerating the application of digital skills for economic prosperity across Africa. To help institutions prevent scandals & promote performance, Gbenga founded Polivoice.Work, an anonymous employee feedback tool that captures & analyses feedback anonymously in real time to detect, predict & improve work place conditions. A Mandela Washington Fellow, Tony Elumelu Fellow, Royal Common wealth society fellow, YALI star of business & YALI network influencer, Olugbenga is the founder of Africa’s biggest orphanage outreach, The Orphan Empowerment Society, with a 5,000 strong volunteer force and a presence in 19 African countries empowering thousands of orphans with free vocational skills, medical care, & food. He is also the co-founder of the communication & leadership organization, Pacesetters Leadership Club.

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