At the bottom of wealth are also filthy stories, says a popular Yoruba adage. Oyo State Governor Abiola Ajimobi on Tuesday confirmed the potency of this popular saying when he disclosed that he washed dead bodies as a student to pay his tuition fees while schooling abroad.
Ajimobi said this at a South-West Youths Regional Summit in Osogbo. He urged the youth to have a positive mindset toward hard work, pointing out that he spent eight years abroad washing dead bodies to survive.
Ajimobi’s rags to riches story was told in details in a Punch report on Wednesday.
The governor said his parents only sent him $30 all through his stay abroad, adding that he had to look for a way to survive.
Ajimobi said he rose to the position he occupies now through hard work. He said his father was a tailor but he also worked hard and became a member of the House of Assembly.
He said, “I left Nigeria in 1963 to study abroad, but throughout my stay there, I was washing dead bodies to support myself to go to school.
“Whenever I got home from work, I will be weeping, remembering the number of dead bodies I washed.
“My boss at work then said I should not be afraid or fear, adding that such feeling is normal for first comers.
“He encouraged me to always see those dead bodies as iced fish.
“But against all odds, I survived and that is why I am urging youths to see hard work as the only way to success.
“I am saying this to challenge the youth of our next generation not to give up.
“This is our chance as youths and as Yoruba to come together to chart a successful pathway for the country.’’
Ajimobi, however, urged Yoruba leaders and the South-West governors to unite for the progress of the Yoruba race.
Speaking earlier at the event, the Vice-President, Prof. Yemi Osibajo (SAN), had described corruption as the greatest problem facing Nigeria.
The Vice-President also appealed to the youths to imbibe the culture of hard work and honesty.
He said the problem militating against the development of the country would have been solved to a large extent if the administration was able to win the war against corruption.
Osinbajo said no country could develop without embracing honesty and hard work no matter how endowed it might be in terms of mineral deposit.
He said, “The greatest problem we have in Nigeria is corruption. If we can remove corruption, we would have solved 70 per cent of our problem.
“Some people must make sacrifices for honesty. It is difficult for people to open a chain of stores because if you are not there, you just forget it. Any society which does not embrace integrity cannot progress. No matter what we do, we must emphasis hard work and integrity.”
The Vice-President urged the youths to develop themselves by using the Internet positively, saying there was no limit to what they could learn on the Internet.
He lauded the Osun State Governor, Mr. Rauf Aregbesola, who he said, engaged in personal development which made him to become friend of important people like the late Fidel Castro of Cuba even where there was no Internet.
Osinbajo said there was no reason why Nigerian youths should not speak at least two foreign languages. This, he said, would make them more marketable and give them an edge when looking for international jobs.
Aregbesola also advised the youths to be hardworking, saying they could make a fortune in agriculture which he said had been abandoned because of the free money which the era of oil brought.
He said the South-West youth summit was organised to chart the development plan for the geopolitical zone for the next 25 years.
He said he was on the street fighting for the restoration of democratic rule in 1993 without knowing that he would one day become a beneficiary of democracy.
Aregbesola said he met Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, who he described as his destiny helper along the line and he discharged the responsibilities thrust at him with dedication and integrity.