By Temitope Adedeji, Akure
Leaders have been advised to take a leaf from the selfless and pro-social behaviours of squirrel creature in order to build a buoyant nation capable of bestowing a blossom feature for the younger and unborn generations.
A Professor of Psychology, Olukayode Afolabi of Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba Akoko, Ondo State, gave the advice, on Tuesday, while delivering the Institution’s 15th Inaugural Lecture, entitled, “Burying Nuts: A Psychosocial Activity of the Squirrel in an Individualized World”.
Prof. Afolabi, who described as pathetic, the way Nigerian leaders have squandered the nation’s resources, said, “While other leaders in the Western world (with some few ones in Africa) are busy burying nuts, ours are busy “swallowing all the nuts” that is meant for all of us.
“There is no doubt that the future of Nigerian youths is already mortgaged. Our youths are growing through adversity yet; a bright future is not certain. Nigerian leaders must begin to bury the nuts that will eventually germinate for everyone to benefit from.”
He added, “There is a great lesson to learn from the activities of the squirrel. Our society and the people therein need to have a good plan for the future. The squirrel’s cheerful activities are a reminder for us to play and enjoy life. Their propensity to hide nuts is a lesson in being prepared.
“The way the squirrel faces the daunting task of burying and later finding nuts teaches us that we have to face our problems as individuals and as a nation, instead of sitting on them. Sure, the squirrel can sit down and wait for winter, hoping he can scout around for food by then. But instead, it prepares for it carefully and strategically!”
The Inaugural Lecturer, who defined psychology as the science that studies human and animal behaviour with its mental processes and seeks to proffer solutions to problems that arise from such behavioural processes, urged the public to embrace prosocial behaviour which he described as any voluntary action willing to help another individual or set of individuals.
Prof. Afolabi stressed the need for individuals to think more like squirrels and have back-up plans for life emergencies they could face.
He added, “Squirrels know they will face trying periods when food is scarce, particularly in early springtime. The squirrels save for his future. As human beings, we should learn this act by squirrelling enough for our own retirement. With longer lifespan, rising healthcare cost and greater responsibility for individuals to provide our own retirement security, it is important for each of us to save, invest, and save again, not only in financial terms but in human capacities.”
The Vice Chancellor, Prof. Igbekele Ajibefun, had earlier described inaugural lecture as a once-in-a-life-time endeavour for the presenter, and it offers the University opportunity to acknowledge and showcase its numerous academic achievements, researches and innovations.