Ọba Dr. Lamidi Adeyemi

Late Alaafin to Fed. Govt.: “Let Character Education be a major focus of the country’s educational reform agenda”

By Bode Durojaiye.

The late Alaafin of Oyo, Oba ( Dr.) Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi 111, remaied a colossus and foremost versatile paramount ruler whose sense of commitment and visionary leadership styles towards human
advancement and peace within and outside Nigeria is second to none.

Oba Adeyemi was conferred with two awards.
One was Doctor of Philosophy in Criminal Justice and Legal System Forensic Science].it was conferred by World Peace and Diplomacy Organisation.

The other was Doctor of Excellence [Honoris Causa] conferred by the President of KESIE International University, South-Korea, in collaboration with Confederation of International Healthcare Foundation.
It was in recognition of Oba Adeyemi’s excellence and leadership styles in varying fields of endeavours .

The late Paramount Ruler was also the Chancellor of the Federal.Government owned University of Maiduguri for two consecutive terms of four years years each. He successfully completed his first term, while IKu Bava Yeye could not complete his second term tenure before he passed on.

However, Abraham Lincoln wrote, in his first political announcement on March 9,1832, “I desire to see a time when education, and by its means, morality, sobriety, enterprise and industry, shall become much more gneral than at present.”

Similarly, Horace Mann, the 19th-century champion of the common schools, strongly advocated for moral education, as his followers were worried by the widespread drunkenness, crime, and poverty during across the globe.

This formed the fulcrum of the late His Imperial Majesty, the Alaafin of Oyo,
Oba ( Dr.) Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi’s thought-provoking speech during his
investiture as CHANCELLOR of the University of Maiduguri (UNIMAID).

The colorful ceremony held at the main auditorium of the Federal Government-owned institution in Maiduguri, capital of Borno State was attended by eminent personalities, and top class traditional rulers.

His Director of Media and Publicity, BODE DUROJAIYE, re- captured the captivating speech of the Titan of Yorubaland .

The late Alaafin like most thinkers, educational practitioners, and parents
acknowledged that children are born helpless and need the care and
guidance of adults into their teens and often beyond.

More specifically, he noted that children need to learn how to live harmoniously in society. Historically, the mission of schools has been to develop in the young both the intellectual and the moral virtues.

To him, this concern for the moral virtues, such as honesty, responsibility, and respect for others, is the domain of moral education.

‘’Moral education, then, refers to helping children acquire those virtues or moral habits that will help them individually live good lives and at the same time become productive, contributing members of
their communities.

In his view, moral education should contribute not only to the students as individuals, but also to the social cohesion of a community and country.

According to him, “the word moral comes from a Latin root (mos, moris) and means the code or customs of a people, the social glue that defines how individuals should live together’’.

He stated that character formation is recognized as something that parents begin early, but the work is hardly completed when a child goes to school.

‘’Implicit in the concept of character is the recognition that adults begin the engraving process of habituation to consideration of others, self-control, and responsibility, then teachers and others contribute to the work, but eventually the young person takes over the engraving
or formation of his own character.

“Clearly, though, with their
learning demands and taxing events, children’s school years are a
prime opportunity for positive and negative (i.e., virtues and vices)
character formation.

“The impetus and energy behind the return of character education to
American schools, Alaafin pointed out, did not come from within the
educational community, but fueled, first, by parental desire for orderly schools where standards of behavior and good habits are stressed, and, second, by state and national politicians who responded to these anxious concerns of parents.

‘’One of the politically appealing aspects of character education, as opposed to moral education with its religious overtones, is that character education speaks more to the formation of a good citizen”.

The Royal Cicero submitted that a widely repeated definition (i.e., character education is helping a child to know the good, to desire the good, and to do the good) straddles this issue. For some people the internal focus of character
education comfortably can be both religious and civic and for others
the focus can be strictly civic, dealing exclusively on the formation
of the good citizen.

Oba Adeyemi went further, ‘’selfless service puts the welfare of the
Nation and the accomplishment of the assigned mission before individual welfare.

“All who serve the Nation must resist the
temptation to pursue self-gain, personal advantage, and self-interest
ahead of the collective good. Values are what we, as an elite, judge
to be right.

They are more than words-they are the moral, ethical, and professional attributes of character.

“These are not the only values
that should determine our character, but they are ones that are central to our profession and should guide our lives as we serve our Nation’’.

Late Oba Adeyemi further postulated that honesty and loyalty are values that are the ingredients of integrity, adding that when values are shared by all citizens of a country, they are extraordinarily important tools for making judgments, assessing
probable outcomes of contemplated actions, and choosing among alternatives.

” Integrity is the basis for trust and confidence that must exist between the leaders and the led. Furthermore, integrity is demonstrated by propriety in one’s personal life’’.

The Alaafin who was also Chancellor of Crescent University, Abeokuta, pointed out that “public officials are given the trust of the public to develop and carry out policies that are in the public’s best
interest. He added that living up to this trust has a significant impact on the national will, as public confidence is essential to the exercise of national power. Public officials have a moral duty to act in a trustworthy manner’’.

Alaafin stressed the need for stakeholders to holistically address
character education as a major focus of the country’s educational reform agenda.

He averred, ‘’the overwhelming percentage of efforts within public
education to address the moral domain currently march under the flag
of character education. Further, since these conscious efforts at addressing issues of character formation are relatively recent, they are often called character education programme.

The late Paramount Ruler therefore asserted that , “the term programme suggests, however, discrete initiatives that replace an activity or that are added to the school’s curriculum (e.g., a new reading program or mathematics program). Although there are character education programmess available, commercially and otherwise, most advocates urge the public schools to take an infusion approach to educating for character’’.

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