Ambassador (Dr.) Yemi Farounbi, has noted that the Nigeria that produced notable Nigerians is not the same Nigeria we have now. He said this during the launch of tbe book titled “Yemi Farounbi- His World, His Works, His Words”

The book, written by Chief Yomi Davies, is the biography of the media Icon, Yemi Farounbi.

While giving his speech during the event, he recalled how he was able to secure a university scholarship though he didn’t have a godfather.

“Somehow, somehow, we wrote  examinations into University of Nigeria and I was given a University scholarship, and that was the Nigeria that I knew. The Nigeria that believed in excellence, not the Nigeria that talks about godfathers. Can we restore that Nigeria?

“When a poor person can go to university, do well and get a university scholarship either a Federal Government scholarship or a State scholarship or even then, a Commonwealth scholarship”.

He also noted how he was able to see the then Minister of Education despite not having a prior appointment with him.

“And before I got that scholarship, I did not know I will get the scholarship. So, I was worried after my first year how will I do the second year? So when I got to the University College, I said I have to see the Minister of Education who incidentally was Mr Richard Osuolale, so I went into his office and they gave me a form to fill and I wrote Yemi Farounbi, University of Nigeria, Purpose; personal, sole and official.  I SAW HIM, that was the Nigeria that we must restore.

“He did not know who I was, he did not care where I came from.

“I guess Yemi Farounbi, which all you are celebrating cannot see the Minister of Education today.

That is not the Nigeria that we want, it is the  Nigeria that is accessible. The Americans always say, we are going to create a country that will allow every citizen to rise to the utmost of his talent, that is the Nigeria that we want and that is the Nigeria that we must struggle for and that is the Nigeria that we must work for.”

He further spoke about the challenges he faced during the course of his study, when they were told during the civil war that the state can not guarantee the students safety. Dr. Farounbi said he had to write to the then Head of State, Lt. Col. Yakubu Gowon, and surprisingly, the Head of State personally responded to the letter.

“Eventually, the civil war came and I found myself having to leave University of Nigeria because the then Governor of Eastern State said he cannot guarantee our safety.  So, I  did not know what will happen to my university scholarship.  A university scholarship is domiciled in that university and the war is chasing me away. What will happen? Will I go back into poverty?

I got an official paper and I wrote a letter with my poor handwriting, So, I wrote Lt. Col. Yakubu Gowon, that I was an innocent student who has become a victim of the excesses of the military that led to civil war and that made me lose a scholarship because they are fighting.  How would I continue my education at University of Ife? The Head of State replied my letter.

That is the Nigeria that we must restore, not the Nigeria where the Head of State becomes inaccessible. These are things that we must restore.

Lt. Col.  Yakubu Gowon, in the middle of a civil war replied my letter and personally signed it.

Can we go back to these old days? Why must our best be yesterday and our best will not be tomorrow?

It is the duty, your responsibility as Nigerian to agree today that we are going to make our best tomorrow.

Awolowo could do free education, he could do free health, he could do minimum wage, he could do Bodija Housing Estate, he could do Industrial Estate in Ikeja, he could do the one in Yaba, he could do all of that because he had enough resources and enough time to do that.

There is enough to take care of our needs as Nigerians but we don’t have enough to take care of our greed.

Let us restore the Nigeria that produced Awolowo and others, the Nigeria that produced us is not the Nigeria that is on the street today.”

The event was graced by notable people, such as Prof. Adeniran, Prof. and Prof. (Mrs) Atimo, Prof. Gbade Ojo, the Ooni of Ife, Olubadan of Ibadan, Pastor P.F Owa and Gospel Artiste, Funmi Aragbaye.