The President, Shippers’ Association of Lagos State (SALS), Rev. Dr. Jonathan yesterday received the Africa’s Icon of Administrative Prudence award conferred on him by the African Students Union Parliament (ASUP).
The event which took place at his office at Apapa, Lagos witnessed presentation of the Pan African Leadership Hall of Fame Certificate and decoration of Medal of Honour in the presence of guests, friends and well-wishers of the recipient.
Earlier in his speech, the Nigerian Representative of the Parliament, Comrade James Uneze said that the impact and the development of the maritime sector and the economic development of Nigeria and Africa by extension would not be complete without mentioning the track record of Rev. Dr. Jonathan Nicol.
Uneze noted that the distinguished recipient of Pan African Leadership Honour, Rev. Dr. Nicol is “a man of integrity, a man of astute elevation, a man with a magnificent experience, by character, he is a true leader and by his call, he is a man of God” adding “and today, we have gathered here to communicate to you, the resolution of the African Students Union Parliament to identify with your most ever distinguished personality and office and also to congratulate you on successful service delivery aimed at emancipating Nigerians and Africans from the shackles of poverty, oppression and deprivations.”
He said, “Sir, as keen observers of your outstanding tracks records and achievements, we share in your remarkable characteristics, visions and quest for positive national development and hence, it was unanimously agreed among other issues at the African Students Union Summit held to visit you and present to you the Pan African Leadership Hall of Fame Certificate as Africa’s Icon of Administrative Prudence.”
Giving a brief history of the Parliament, Uneze who is also a student of the Federal University of Technology, Minna, Niger State disclosed that the Africa Students Union Parliament started way back since 1925 as West African Students Union (WASU) by a group of young activists who were privileged to study in UK led by Ladipo Solanke adding that their aim and objective then was to agitate for equal rights between the white and black students in other words, fighting against racism.
According to him, it later snowballed from students’ unionism to nationalism where the likes of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, Dr. Obafemi Awolowo, Jumo Kenyatta, Thomas Sankara and other African youth activists then were able to harness themselves in this platform where they agitated for and secured independence for most African countries in the 1950s and early 1960s while also doing this to advance the course of humanity.
“Today, we are not fighting against racism neither are we fighting for independence but what we are doing in the parliament is re-articulating the concept of Pan Africanism and Pan Africanism for us is the development of Africa by Africans and for Africans. We believe the Chinese are busy developing China, the Americans develop America, the Europeans develop Europe, we Africans must join hands together to develop Africa.
“In doing this, we operate in two dimensions; we have the on campus activities and off campus activities. The off campus activities is where we operate with the intelligential communities within the academic environment where we identify those areas and issues that endanger and bedevil the lives of the students, youths and citizens in our countries and that is why we frown at examination malpractice, campus prostitution, even sex for grades, campus militarization which some us of may also refer to as cultism and then drug abuse.
“We believe that we cannot fight this fight alone and that is why we engage stakeholders and even security agencies. Sir, today, we are happy to meet you. We see you as our father, we see you as our mentor and we see you as our role model and we believe that our meeting with you today, we have a lot to benefit from you morally, intellectually and spiritually”, he said.
Responding shortly after receiving the award, the President, Shippers’ Association of Lagos State, (SALS), Rev. Dr. Jonathan Nicol who was amazed by the level of preparations by the students said, I wasn’t expecting that this award will carry such unique ceremony and I think I do not deserve such ceremony because I am a very shy person.”
Nicol while noting that nobody can change what God had destined however described the youths as one very important aspect of the human race that needed to be critically look into where it affects the future generations to come which he said had to do with drug abuse.
“So, drug is one thing we do not encourage at all because the harm it does go beyond the physical structures”, he added.
According to him, “We are gradually going into the world of retirement and we feel that the youths are coming up to take over from where we stopped and you are the leaders of tomorrow spread in different parts of the continent of Africa. So, I admire your courage and strength and fortitude. If you are working for good, I must tell you, it is not an easy task, you will be reviled, you will be abused to scorn, a lot of things will happen to you, at the end, you will be mocked at. But you still have to prod on.
“Do not look back, continue moving on, sometimes, the road can be very difficult, sometimes, it can be very thorny and sometimes you move with ease. But you are the pride of our tomorrow, you cannot run away or jump into the high seas because of the ways, you must pilot people to safety. So, I wish you God’s speed, I wish you strength and courage.”
On the challenges of the Nigerian maritime industry, Nicol who is also the Managing Director of Harlem International Limited quipped, “I must tell you that we are confronting the cartels in the maritime sector in this country and it is affecting Cotonou and it is affecting Ghana, it is affecting a whole lot in West Africa and I am very sure that by the time the story will be told, you will still meet my name there.
“I have one big foolish behavior; I can stand out in the crowd for not taking bribe. Actually, if I wanted to be rich, I would have been a mega rich human being but what history am I going to be leaving behind? Money comes, money goes but your history still remains. I am one of the people in the system that has not been able to soil his hands and I think I will keep that legacy up knowing that my reward will come someday. In fact, you are my reward, today I am getting this honour.”
Photo: SALS President, Rev. Dr. Jonathan Nicol (left) receiving the Pan African Leadership Hall of Fame Certificate from the Majority Leader, African Students Union Parlialment in his Office in Lagos on Friday.
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