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Don’t overrate failure, Fayemi urges youth

Dr. Kayode Fayemi
Dr. Kayode Fayemi

The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr Kayode Fayemi, has urged Nigerian youths not to overrate initial setbacks or failure encountered in the pursuit of greatness and excellence.
Instead, he said such initial setbacks or failure should be confronted boldly and used as stepping stones to success.
Dr Fayemi gave the counsel while delivering the 2017 University of Lagos Convocation lecture, themed: “The Succession-generation: Reflections on Values and knowledge in Nation Building”, at the university campus, Akoka, Lagos on Monday.
The Minister challenged the Nigerian Universities to address strategic national priorities, and ensure that their products are well equipped to respond to challenges of our time.
Dr Fayemi, who is an alumnus of the University, challenged the graduating students to confront their fears and dare to triumph over setbacks that are bound to come.
According to him, “You have to learn the art of seizing the moment and trying new things. Never be afraid to put your passion to work and start something new.
“Trust me, failure is overrated. If you haven’t failed at something, that means you are not doing anything. Besides, if you don’t fail when you are young, when do you want to fail? When you are old and grey?
“Some of you have to be bold enough to start new enterprises. Othershave to be bold enough to pursue a career different from what they studied. Yet, others have to leave their comfort zones to explore new horizons outside the country.
“Without discipline, knowledge is useless. In the world today, with the advancements in civil liberties, democratisation and freedom of speech, we operate in a freer world with increasingly less constraints placed on individual conduct. Now, anyone can do almost anything, at anytime.
“The impetus is therefore on discerning individuals to self-regulate and be disciplined enough to do what is right, and at the right time, if they want to be successful.
Fayemi advised the youth and parents alike to discover purpose and
passion, and commit to pursuing and fulfilling it, adding “The question to ask is “what does success mean to me”?
He said : “The first step towards being successful in life is to identify what your own definition of personal success is, and the parameters you would use to assess and look back on your life when you are old and grey.
The Minister also noted that one of the failings of our society is the failure to give young people enough room to explore their creative abilities and make mistakes early.
He, however lamented too that many young people don’t optimally take advantage of these opportunities where they exist.
He said the universities, as a microcosm of the larger society, ought to be the grounds for students to explore and make mistakes in a protected environment.
“ A person in his youth will have only one rival, that is his own potentialities; and he will have only one failure, that is, failing to live up to his own possibilities”, Fayemi added.
Earlier, the Chairman of Convocation Proceedings, and former Foreign Affairs Minister, Major General Ike Nwachuckwu (rtd), had identified what he termed “fear of the unknown” of the older generation for their inability to nurture successor-generation.
He called for a review of the operational culture of the elderly citizens, even as he challenged the youths to ensure that their aspirations were not limited by such culture.
The university Vice Chancellor, Prof Rahamon Bello, who lauded the guest lecturer as a good ambassador of the University of Lagos, said it was the second year in a row that an alumnus of the institution who is a serving Minister and a former governor would be delivering the convocation lecture.
“Last year, we had one of our distinguished alumnus, Dr Ogbonaya Onu, who was a former governor and now a serving Minister as guest lecturer. This year too, we have a former Governor and a serving minister” Prof bello said.
The Vice Chancellor of the University, Prof Rahamon Bello, led other principal officers of the Institution and the academia to attend the lecture.
Also in attendance were the former Vice Chancellor, Prof Ibidapo-Obe, Provost of the College of medicine, Prof Afolabi Lesi; Olorogun Sunny Kuku, Managing Director Vanguard Newspapers, Mr Gbenga Adefaye; Prof Akin Oyebode; a former Attorney-general and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Wale Fapounda; former Commissioner for Finance, Mr Dapo Kolawole.

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