There are other economies where very well educated, dynamic young individuals are given opportunities to excel, I think we should have a great respect for the impetus of the youths, because that is where change comes. Nigeria needs change.
Dr. Christopher Odili, the son of the Rivers born business mogul Chief Victor Odili, is a foremost advocate of change in the Nigerian society. He is explicit about his bold definition of the role of the younger generation in building a modern Nigeria, driven by creativity and excellence.
He represents this clarion call for change himself and has an underlying philosophy that leadership must generate and sustain trust, as against the wrapped culture of opportunism and mediocrity.
As a prove of the inherent genius, resilience and creative tenacity that is typically Nigerian, he vows to put his resources on the line in giving back to the society. And this is at the instance of his cultured and well cultivated mindset on patriotic services.
He told The Tide On Sunday in an interview in his office that the moral responsibility of any concerned citizen of any nation is selfless sacrifice and patriotic duties. Thus his privileged education in the United Kingdom and allienation from the Nigerian climate for many years could not tempt him to turn his back against the country as he chose to return back to Nigeria to offer the needed generational sacrifice to prop up a new era of change.
“If I have knowledge and people don’t key into that knowledge it will be lost, if I don’t come down to Nigeria and make patriotic sacrifices for my people, my sense of commitment to communal service would be lost.
I believe in sacrificing for my people, that is the only way you can make impact on your generation”.
With a masters degree in maritime law and interntional arbitration, and also a doctorate degree in West African Coastal Shipping from the prestigious University of London, his countenance do not betray any clue to much schorlarly piety. But you appreciate his ingenuity when you come into contact with him.
He radiates a high sense of decorum and courtesy and this endears him to his staff of Brawal Oil Services Limited where he presently serve as the legal/ commercial manager.
As the scion of one of the most influential personages of our times, Chief Victor Odili, one would expect that he brandish an opulent lifestyle, which is characteristic of people of his position in the society, but he is simple and modest.
Asked the secret of his simple unassuming lifestyle, he said; “I learnt discipline from my father, I believe that noble deeds bears in them the seed of there own justification, I have travelled extensively, and I feel humbled by the experience I have attained, I am grateful to my father for giving me a disciplined up bringing.
Inspite of the overwhelming personality of his father, he had made bold steps to create an independent personality of his own outside this behomoth image. This had been achieved through a brilliant legal career, within and outside the Nigerian clime.
Armed with a sound background in law, he believes that ‘respect for the law is the most fundamental of all social virtues”.
As a symbol of change, he is optimistic about the future of Nigeria and truly believes that Nigeria can be a great nation.
However, he acknowledged the widening gap between the older and younger generation in the country in terms of succession and transfer of leadership.
“The older generation have a way of doing things, they don’t appreciate the ingenuity of the younger people. No matter how educated and intelligent you are, you are still a small boy. There are other economies where very well educated, dynamic young individuals are given opportunities to excel, I think we should have a great respect for the impetus of the youths, because that is where change comes. Nigeria needs change.’
“There is a new era that we await in Nigeria, an era where creativity and excellent will be the yardstick for development, it may come through an individual, or a group of individuals, but it would come. Nigeria should look up to our leaders to provide good leadership”.
Dr. Odili wants Nigerian youths to be ready to make sacrifice for the country as future leaders. And to make this sacrifice they must be ready to jettison the get rich quick syndrome and imbibe a Spartan discipline in life endeavours.
A bulwark to attaining his patriotic duties and services manifested in his Non Governmental organization, (NGO), The Christopher Odili Foundation.
According to him, his foundation is centred on three cardinal objectives; health initiatives, Educational Training and Good Goverance. He said the Foundation is grassroots oriented and is ready to partner with related agencies, to achievement set objectives.
His 43 years of existence, Dr. Odili contacted malaria for the first time in his life, three weeks ago. Recounting his experience with the malaria scourge, he said it was one of his worse experiences, as he had nasal difficulties for four days, something akin to flu.
As part of the health initiatives of his foundation, Dr. Odili now plans to establish a cottage based industry that will be involved in the manufacturing of mosquito nets.
Dr. Odili is also a qualified private pilot. He said his first solo flight was a milestone and flying is one of the things he miss while in Nigeria. Asked what he will like to do in retirement, Dr. Odili said; “I don’t know if I will ever get old, I take every day as it comes, I think old age come when regrets takes the places of hope in ones life.”