Words on Marble


I have one advice to give to our politicians. If they have decided to destroy our national unity, then they should summon a round-table conference to decide how our national assets should be divided before they seal their doom by satisfying their lust for office. I make this suggestion because it is better for us and many admirers abroad that we should disintegrate in peace and not in pieces. Should the politicians fail to heed this warning, then I will venture the prediction that the experience of the Democratic Republic of the Congo will be a child’s play if ever it comes to our turn to play such a tragic role.

Nnamdi Azikiwe, December 1964, “A Dawn Address”

After rain comes sunshine; after darkness comes the glorious dawn. There is no sorrow without its alloy of joy; there is no joy without its admixture of sorrow. Behind the ugly terrible mask of misfortune lies the beautiful soothing countenance of prosperity. So, tear the mask!

Obafemi Awolowo

Nigeria is a West African nation of over 100 million energetic people. It is endowed with lots of natural resources but lacks human resources.

Philip Emeagwali

I've had trouble now and again in Nigeria because I have spoken up about the mistreatment of factions in the country because of difference in religion. These are things we should put behind us.

Chinua Achebe

The rich, and the highly-placed in business, public life, and government, are running a dreadful risk in their callous neglect of the poor and down-trodden.

Obafemi Awolowo

The people you see in Nigeria today have always lived as neighbours in the same space for as long as we can remember. So, it's a matter of settling down, lowering the rhetoric. The level of hostility in the rhetoric is too high.

Chinua Achebe

The work of Nigeria is not complete for as long as there is any one Nigerian who goes to bed on empty stomach.

Ibrahim Babangida

Each one of us, and, indeed, all those who aspire to national leadership must bring their own visions, views and styles to the business of reforming Nigeria, and the search for solutions.

Ibrahim Babangida

Nigeria has no business with poverty. With our human and material resources, we shall strive to eradicate poverty from our country.

Olusegun Obasanjo

All is fair in war, and starvation is one of the weapons of war. I don’t see why we should feed our enemies fat in order for them to fight harder.

Obafemi Awolowo (1968)

Any system of education which does not help a man to have a healthy and sound body and alert brain, and balanced and disciplined instinctive urges, is both misconceived and dangerous.

Obafemi Awolowo

“People go to Africa and confirm what they already have in their heads and so they fail to see what is there in front of them. This is what people have come to expect. It’s not viewed as a serious continent. It’s a place of strange, bizarre and illogical things, where people don’t do what common sense demands.”

Chinua Achebe

“Nigeria is not a nation. It is a mere geographical expression. There are no ‘Nigerians’ in the same sense as there are ‘English,’ ‘Welsh,’ or ‘French.’ The word ‘Nigerian’ is merely a distinctive appellation to distinguish those who live within the boundaries of Nigeria and those who do not.”

Obafemi Awolowo (Path to Nigerian Freedom 1947)

“One of the truest tests of integrity is its blunt refusal to be compromised.”

Chinua Achebe

“Democracy is not something you put away for ten years, and then in the 11th year you wake up and start practicing again. We have to begin to learn to rule ourselves again.”

Chinua Achebe

“The only thing we have learnt from experience is that we learn nothing from experience.”

Chinua Achebe

“Let’s say there are prospects for a new Nigeria, but I don’t think we have a new Nigeria yet.”

Wole Soyinka

There isn't a class structure in Nigeria; there's a tribal structure and prestige as far as money is concerned.

Sade Adu

Right from the beginning of this operations we had never taken the Ibos as enemies as Ojukwu has made them to believe and made the world to believe. As far as I am concerned, the Ibos will be treated as equal citizens of this country. There will be no second rate citizens in Nigeria unless by their own behaviour or performance; and this applies to any Nigerian whatsoever.

Yakubu Gowon, in an interview with the BBC shortly after the Nigerian civil war

To meet the expectations of the majority of our people, and to open up new vistas of economic opportunity so that the aspirations of Nigerians can stand a fair chance of being fulfilled in a lifetime, there must be a truly committed leadership in a democratic Nigeria.

Ibrahim Babangida

Let me make a solemn pledge before all of you, before the whole world and before God, that I will devote all my energy and all I possess in my power to serve the people of Nigeria and humanity.

Olusegun Obasanjo

Our choice of a reform framework dictated that we looked at the fundamental assumptions that had driven Nigeria's economy, society and policy hitherto and to seek ways of either abandoning or transcending those assumptions and their supporting institutions.

Ibrahim Babangida

When you talk about the oil wealth you compare nations. There are some nations with less than five million people. Nigeria has 150 million people. I cannot say that all the money earned from oil since 1958, when the first drop of oil was exported from this country to date, that the money has been effectively used.

Goodluck Jonathan

“Nigeria is what it is because its leaders are not what they should be.”

Chinua Achebe

“The magician and the politician have much in common: they both have to draw our attention away from what they are really doing.”

Ben Okri

It is, I think, enough for me to say that life itself is, from the cradle to the grave, a series of unbroken risks. I make no boast about this, but those who know me intimately will testify to the fact that I have never, at any time, shrunk from taking my full share of the risks which life, with its unending opportunities and vicissitudes, offers.

Obafemi Awolowo

For as long as our people are held hostage by controllable socio-economic forces, we cannot afford to be indifferent to the ravages of poverty in all its dimensions and ramifications.

Ibrahim Babangida

Those of us placed in a position of leadership must be prepared to grasp the nettle if we unite in doing so, and if, in addition, we set a worthy example and a marat on pace in probity, unselfishness, and self-sacrifice, the people will follow, all too readily, in our footsteps.

Obafemi Awolowo

I will, more than ever before, subject myself to severe self- discipline. Only men who are masters of themselves become easily masters of others. Therefore, my thoughts, my tongue, and my actions shall be brought under strict control always.

Obafemi Awolowo

There is an urgent and massive need for moral and spiritual reconstruction: the kind which will help to demolish morbid desire for naked power and domination and ensure justice equity and fair play for all

Obafemi Awolowo

There is also work to do in the evolution of a stable family life and values, and in ensuring that the Nigerian family is built on core values that will form the bedrock of the future society. We must showcase the ideals of family life and be models of family values.

Ibrahim Babangida

If we are in the habit of practising the opposite of what we preach, our admonition will not only lose their force and cogency, but also we ourselves will forfeit every claim to credibility. An ounce of example, it has been widely said, is far better than a ton of precepts.

Obafemi Awolowo

A society that does not correctly interpret and appreciate its past cannot understand its present fortunes and adversities and can be caught unawares in a fast changing world.

Ibrahim Babangida


Throughout history, it has been the inaction of those who could have acted; the indifference of those who could have known better; the silence of the voice of justice when it mattered most; that has made it possible for evil to triumph’

Emperor Haile Selassie, Ethiopian statesman

What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.

Nelson Mandela

I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.

Nelson Mandela

South Africans will kick down a statue of a dead white man but won’t attempt to slap a live one. Yet they can stone to death a black man simply because he is a foreigner

Robert Mugabe

You can’t carry out fundamental changes without a certain amount of madness

Thomas Sankara

Everyone can rise above their circumstances and achieve success if they are dedicated to and passionate about what they do.

Nelson Mandela

Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.

Nelson Mandela


``Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power.``

Abraham Lincoln

The two enemies of the people are criminals and government; so let’s tie the second down with the chains of the Constitution so the second will not become the legalized version of the first.

Thomas Jefferson

One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors


The further a society drifts from the truth, the more it will hate those that speak it

George Orwell

Part of being optimistic is keeping one’s head pointed toward the sun, one’s feet moving forward. There were many dark moments when my faith in humanity was sorely tested, but I would not and could not give myself up to despair. That way lays defeat and death.

Nelson Mandela

“Hating people because of their colour is wrong. And it doesn’t matter which colour does the hating. It’s just plain wrong.”

Mohammed Ali

It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.

Charles Darwin

Don’t worry about what others think...most people don’t use their brain very often

Venkat Desiredd

Nigeria has played a constructive role in peacekeeping in various parts of West Africa. But unless and until Nigeria itself is democratic and respects human rights, it too may well be a source of much greater instability as political repression limits the ability of the people of Nigeria to achieve their full potential.

Susan Rice

It is the love of country that has lighted and that keeps glowing the holy fire of patriotism.

J. Horace McFarland

Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, to assure the survival and success of liberty.

John F. Kennedy

``You are not here merely to make a living. You are here in order to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world, and you impoverish yourself if you forget the errand.``

Woodrow Wilson

``A good leader leads the people from above them. A great leader leads the people from within them.``

M. D. Arnold

``A true leader has the confidence to stand alone, the courage to make tough decisions, and the compassion to listen to the needs of others. He does not set out to be a leader, but becomes one by the equality of his actions and the integrity of his intent.``

Douglas MacArthur

``Don't follow the crowd, let the crowd follow you.``

Margaret Thatcher

``Leadership is the art of giving people a platform for spreading ideas that work.``

Seth Godin

``The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. He is the one that gets the people to do the greatest things.``

Ronald Reagan

``To add value to others, one must first value others.``

John Maxwell

``A true leader has the confidence to stand alone, the courage to make tough decisions, and the compassion to listen to the needs of others. He does not set out to be a leader, but becomes one by the equality of his actions and the integrity of his intent.``

Douglas MacArthur

``The task of the leader is to get their people from where they are to where they have not been.``

Henry Kissinger

``Treat people as if they were what they ought to be, and you help them become what they are capable of being.``

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

``I suppose leadership at one time meant muscles; but today it means getting along with people.``

Mahatma Gandhi

``I can give you a six-word formula for success: Think things through--then follow through.``

Edward Rickenbacker

``One of the tests of leadership is the ability to recognize a problem before it becomes an emergency.``

Arnold Glasow

``Do what you feel in your heart to be right, for you'll be criticized anyway.``

Eleanor Roosevelt

``I cannot give you the formula for success, but I can give you the formula for failure, which is: Try to please everybody.``

Herbert Swope

``True leadership lies in guiding others to success--in ensuring that everyone is performing at their best, doing the work they are pledged to do and doing it well.``

Bill Owens

``Wisdom is knowing what to do next, skill is knowing how to do it, and virtue is doing it.``

David Star Jordan

``Leaders don't inflict pain, they share pain.``

Max Depree

``The growth and development of people is the highest calling of leadership.``

Harvey S. Firestone

``Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right thing.``

Peter F. Drucker

``The function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers.``

Ralph Nader

``The function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers.``

Ralph Nader

``Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality.``

Warren G. Bennis

A leader is a person you will follow to a place you would not go by yourself.``

Joel Barker

``Effective leadership is not about making speeches or being liked; leadership is defined by results, not attributes.``

Peter F. Drucker

``A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.``

John Maxwell

``Leaders think and talk about the solutions. Followers think and talk about the problems.``

Brian Tracy

``Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.``

Dwight D. Eisenhower

``The art of leadership is saying no, not saying yes. It is very easy to say yes.``

Tony Blair

``The price of greatness is responsibility.``

Winston Churchill

``A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a moulder of consensus.``

Martin Luther King Jr.

``Leadership is not about titles, positions, or flowcharts. It is about one life influencing another.``

John C. Maxwell

``People buy into the leader before they buy into the vision.``

John C. Maxwell

``Doing what is right isn't the problem. It is knowing what is right.``

Lyndon B Johnson

Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they’ve been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It’s a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.”

Mohammed Ali

``Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.``

Winston Churchill

``Keep your fears to yourself, but share your courage with others.``

Robert Louis Stevenson

``Leaders aren't born, they are made. And they are made just like anything else, through hard work. And that's the price we'll have to pay to achieve that goal, or any goal.``

Vince Lombardi

``No man will make a great leader who wants to do it all himself, or to get all the credit for doing it.``

Andrew Carnegie

``Average leaders raise the bar on themselves; good leaders raise the bar for others; great leaders inspire others to raise their own bar.``

Orrin Woodward

``Effective leadership is putting first things first. Effective management is discipline, carrying it out.``

Stephen Covey

``Great leaders are almost always great simplifiers, who can cut through argument, debate, and doubt to offer a solution everybody can understand.``

Colin Powell

``A leader is not an administrator who loves to run others, but someone who carries water for his people so that they can get on with their jobs.``

Robert Townsend

``Leadership is not magnetic personality that can just as well be a glib tongue. It is not 'making friends and influencing people,' that is flattery. Leadership is lifting a person's vision to higher sights, the raising of a person's performance to a higher standard, the building of a personality beyond its normal limitations.``

Peter F. Drucker

``The supreme quality of leadership is integrity.``

Dwight D. Eisenhower

``If life were predictable it would cease to be life, and be without flavour.``

Eleanor Roosevelt

``In this life we cannot do great things. We can only do small things with great love.``

Mother Teresa

If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.

Nelson Mandela

``Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile.``

Albert Einstein