By Chijioke Okoronkwo
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has urged Nigerians to project the country’s image in good light and push narratives of aspirations, dreams and hopes.
Osinbajo’s spokesman, Laolu Akande, in a statement, said the vice president spoke recently in Abuja at the formal presentation and book launch.
The book is titled “The Memory of Seasons,” written by award-winning writer and journalist, Arukaino Umukoro.
The theme of the presentation was, “Conversations on Nigeria’s Unity in Diversity: Challenges, Opportunities.”
The book is a collection of poems on nationhood, faith, life and humanity.
The vice president, who was the Special Guest of Honour at the event, said that, “a big part of Nation building is talking up your nation.”
According to Osinbajo, every country talks up their own country and people of every country talk up their own country.
“When we get home, we can criticize ourselves, but we must talk up our country; what are the narratives that we push about Nigeria?
“The stories of nations written by others focus on their own agendas, the agendas of the authors; the negatives, of course, sell more and much faster, we must tell our own stories.
“We belong to one side; and that side is the Nigerian side; someone was talking about Arsenal a few moments ago, that Arsenal would win this premier league.
“Because that’s our side, we take the side; they may not be the best, they may not win all the time, but that’s our side; this country is our side.’’
According to him, Nigerians must talk up the country and give the very best impression of the country.
The vice president said that Nigeria was not about its politicians, religious leaders or its business leaders but for everybody.
“Our stories must be stories of our aspirations, our dreams and our hopes, planted on the successes of our journey and the future of great hope, because we have the incredible talents and material resources, and already on that journey, we are very far ahead.
“And I think the poem– Imagine Nigeria– which is in the book, captures the story we want to tell the world; and I’m going to read portions of it just to encourage us.”
Osinbajo congratulated the author for delivering such a wonderful set of poems.
“Sometimes, we have to reflect when you read Umukoro’s poetry; you have to think again and reflect.
“I am overwhelmed by the achievements of Umukoro; we have heard about all the awards he has won,’’ he said.
In his remarks, the Chairman of the occasion, Rabiu Suleiman, Chief Executive Officer, RiftOil Petroleum Company Limited, commended the author for an important literary work that spoke to nationhood.
“I am proud of his achievements and how far he has come since then.
“ It is obvious that the vice president is a big inspiration to him. Umukoro talks a lot about Osinbajo’s exemplary character, selfless service and dedication to nation-building,” he said.
Highlights of the event included spoken word performances focused on nation-building from Umukoro’s book – including “Imagine Nigeria’’ and “Rebirth of a Nation.’’
They were performed by Tamara Dogubo and Abdullahi Haruna.
There was also a panel discussion on the theme of the event.
The panel, which was moderated by journalist, Irene Ubani, featured Tolu Ogunlesi, Special Assistant to President on Digital and New Media, and Maupe Ogun, co-anchor, Channels Television prime-time breakfast show “Sunrise Daily.”
Other panelists were Novo Isioro, founder, Anisza Foundation, Myani Bukar, Lawyer and Development Economist.
The conversations were aimed at driving meaningful discourse that will promote national unity.
The founder of Project One Nigeria, Busayo Busari-Akinnadeju, gave goodwill remarks that urged patriotism and pride in Nigeria and its greatness.
Ade Ipaye, Deputy Chief of Staff to the President, in the Office of the Vice President, Amb. Adeyemi Dipeolu, Special Adviser to the President on Economic Matters, among other senior government officials were also at the event.