It was a carnival like event at the University of Calabar recently asthe National Orientation Agency (NOA) launched its "Do the Right Thing: Campus Focus" at the University.
The event which was the first of its kind in the university featured galaxy of speakers, including the Minister of Culture, Tourism and National Orientation, Edem Duke, the Managing Director of the Guardian Newspapers, EmekaEluem-Izeze, the Director General of the National Orientation Agency (NOA), Mr. Mike Omeri, former minister of education, Oby Ezekwesili and foremost professor of political strategy, Professor Femi Odekunle.
Others included Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba, Professor of Law at ABU, Dr. AbubakarLadan; Senior Special Assistant to the President on Students' Matters, Comrade Jude Imagwe; human rights activist, Comrade Ene Ede.
Speaking at the launch of the campaign, the NOA DG, Mr. Mike Omeri, explained that the Campus Focus of the "Do the Right Thing" campaign was conceived to champion a return of the core values of the nation by domiciling the campaign in the Department of Theatre and Media Studies of the University of Calabar.
He revealed that the campaign was informed by the fact that a lot of the nation's movie industry personnel are products of that department in the university. Consequently, he charged students of the department to ensure that in both their student and post-graduation media and theatre productions.
Omeri regretted that the nation's tertiary institutions had come to a crisis point where all wrong values find their way into them, leading to the churn out of half-baked graduates who do not represent the values that our society stands for.
Stressing the fact that no nation rises above the quality of its human resource base, Omeri stated that raising a well-educated and enlightened citizenry where character is shaped by the values of honesty, hard work, patriotism, obedience and tolerance should be the concern of all in any society.
"In like manner, the concern of institutions of higher learning should be, in addition to academic excellence, the genuity of character and moral uprightness of its products. This is so because knowledge, skills and competence without character do not make a complete man," he said.
The Minister of Culture, Tourism and National Orientation, High Chief Edem Duke, in his address, stressed the need for Nigerians to put an end to lamenting the decay of societal values and begin to engage actively in the process of reviving those values.
He described Nigerian students as the building blocks of the nation's future who cannot afford to fail in the responsibility placed on them by providence to champion national transformation. "You must commit yourself to the values that every great nation holds dear so that effortlessly, Nigeria will transform to the nation of our dreams," he charged.
In his remarks, Professor James Epoke, Vice Chancellor, University of Calabar observed that the Campus Focus of the Do the Right Thing campaign was coming at a time when the nation needed it the most. He expressed concerns about the kind of future that awaits the nation if the trend of dishonesty, violence and disarray among the youths is not speedily corrected.
He therefore charged Nigerian students to always act in accordance with the good conscience that typifies Nigeria in all their dealings.
In her keynote address on the theme "Nigerian Tertiary Institutions of Learning - Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow: Implications for National Transformation", Dr. Oby Ezekwesili enjoined students of tertiary institutions to tailor their skills and educational attainments towards executing assignments in national transformation rather than job acquisition.
Describing corruption as the bane of national transformation in most countries, as a symptom of poor governance which in turn reduces the capacity of a people to attain their full potentials, she charged the youth to make individual and collective resolves to take positive actions towards fighting the malaise and redirecting the future of the nation to a glorious destiny.
She further encouraged Nigerian youth to take up the challenge of refocusing the economy from being crude oil based to human capital based so as to save the economy from imminent collapse with the depletion of the nation's crude oil reserved.
In his address, the Cross River State Traditional Rulers Council, Dr. Etim Okon Edet, said, "we live in difficult times when peace and human security are facing new challenges at the individual and global level, therefore, the initiative which is aimed at reawakening the consciousness of Nigerians on the need to embrace the values of peace, patriotism, honesty, hard work and respect for constituted authority, is truly urgent."
He revealed that the country's institution of higher learning today have witnessed different forms of vices which find expression in cultism, examination malpractice, drug abuse,trafficking, disrespect for authority, rape homosexuality and other forms of indiscipline which were absent in the past and which have far reaching adverse effect on our national development aspiration.