Youths have been enjoined to take proactive steps in seizing the mantle of leadership.
The call was made by a former governor of Cross River State and the Social Democratic Party (SDP) presidential candidate in next year’s general election, Mr. Donald Duke, and a managing partner with accounting firm Price Water and Coopers, Mr. Uyi Akpata. It was at a reception held in honour of Mr. Bode Olanipekun, to celebrate his elevation to the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN).
Also, while moderating the discussion on how the youths can seize opportunities amid obstacles against growth in the nation, Dr. Oladapo Olanipekun (SAN), threw pertinent questions at the panelists.
Akpata noted that the youths are afraid to take on challenges that seem to place them at a vantage position. He noted that they are often overwhelmed by the circumstances that could be political, environmental and psychological. He added that good education is a springboard to lift the youths to an enviable position, but the will and confident to excel must also be inculcated in them.
“It is very easy to just look at Bode and say he is an example of a young man that has excelled. It is very important to have early education and also take it upon yourself to find solution to challenges.
“Other young men would have been overwhelmed and rather let their parents do the job while they lap in luxury but Bode did not take the challenge of self-development for granted. He constantly upped his game even though he also has a privileged background,” he said.
Akpata noted further that professional conduct, right background, good education, adherence to ethics and hard work will give the youths an edge.
Duke explained that the youths must turn opportunities into advantage. He noted that the ability to constantly re-invent self and the drive to do better than the rest would push the youths to achieve success in any chosen endeavour.
Guests paid glowing tributes to the Olanipekuns. They included Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) president,
Mr. Paul Usoro (SAN); a former minister of petroleum, Chief Don Etiebet; erstwhile Director-General of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), Professor Ndi Onyuike-Okereke; and the Ogoga of Ikere-Ekiti, Oba Ade Jimi Adu, among others.
Professor Taiwo Osipitan (SAN) added humour to the eulogies for Bode. The don noted that he taught Bode in the university but the latter had faced him in legal battles in the court several times after his call to the Bar.
He remarked: “I came in hoping to quietly sit down, enjoy my meal and banter with my colleagues but here I am, being told to talk about Bode. Where do I start from? Bode was my student in the faculty of law in the University of Lagos. I stand here to attest that he was one of my best students.
“Both Dapo and Bode were my students and I am still their mentor. Bode is hardworking, focus and very strategic. We have had to square up with one another in the court and the moment I become victorious, he comes to ask jokingly that, ‘Excuse me sir, you never taught me everything I needed to know otherwise I would have floored you,’ to which I will tell him that a teacher will not teach his student everything so that he keeps coming back to ask for advice. There is always a joker a teacher pulls when things become knotty.
“Whenever your student appear against you in court, you feel proud that you have done the right thing. It is every teacher’s prayer that his students excel and even greater than him.”
The highlight of the event was an emotion-laden speech by the celebrator himself. When he took to the microphone, he held his audience spell bound with his ennobling speech which was delivered extempore.