It is a great honour for me to address this college matriculation ceremony. I do so for the first time as Chairman of the Governing Council of the Federal College of Education, Eha-Amufu, Enugu State.
As a former university student and a lifetime student of politics, I understand the crucial role that education plays in the development of character and achievement of success.
The chief aim of institutions like the one you are being inducted into today is to raise thinking citizens, who can ask questions and progressively initiate ideas for society’s continuous transformation and good government. You are not called to a course in apolitical zombeism.
I welcome all matriculants to life on campus, a place of critical learning of life’s fundamental lessons. It is a place of knowledge acquisition and character formation, which you have secured for yourselves through success in a competitive test – which brings us to the first fundamental lesson: life is a race. Anyone involved in a race does so to win and obtain a prize, which is the reward for excellence. So you must run to win!
To win, you must obey the rules and play by them. You must exercise self-discipline.
There is need to master your environment socially, politically, and economically to succeed in whatever endeavours you seek to pursue in life. You should learn to engage and avoid the temptation to be aloof to happenings around you.
Elections are around the corner at various levels in the country. You should get involved in the informed choices of those on whose shoulders the government of society and direction of your lives would be placed. A well-informed and disciplined populace provides a bulwark against the breakdown of societal mores guiding democratic elections and good governance.
Don’t just be onlookers. Participate in the process and be a positive influence to those around you. No society can go far when most of those trained to think and ask questions feel comfortable to simply sit on the fence.
Nigeria requires a rising pool of educated, informed, and dedicated young patriots who would not only contribute to its development, but also own the development process. The federal and state governments, as well as the authorities of this institution would continue to do their best to provide you the conduciveness and platform to play the role expected of you.
You have spent time and effort, and your parents and guardians have spent resources to book a place for you in this institution to acquire knowledge, which is power. This power will help you to conquer your environment, and sustainably use it to support a fulfilling and happy life. In so doing, you can become a contributor to society’s progress.
So do not waste the opportunity you have to build yourselves, communities, and Nigeria. Don’t be a waster, for even God Himself hates waste. Be studious and industrious in your approach to your academics.
Things are hard, no doubt. Amid the difficulties, there are vast opportunities that are being discovered daily, by men and women, all over the world. Stay focused on the opportunities and take everything else as unwanted distraction.
Then, fairness should be your watchword. Before embarking on any action, do a fairness check to try to find out if such an action is fair to others and to society, in general. Ask and answer the question: who benefits? The answer you sincerely glean should be your guide.
The prize at the end is the confidence that you have fulfilled your purpose – your purpose for entry into this institution, your parents’ purpose for bringing you here, society’s purpose for giving you the opportunity to develop yourself, and, ultimately, God’s purpose for creating you.
My hope is that at the end of this race, you would, indeed, be found “worthy in character and learning.”
I thank you for your attention.
* Buokoribo, Chairman, Governing Council, Federal College of Education, Eha-Amufu, Enugu State, presented this on the occasion of the 27th College Matriculation Ceremony for 2020/2021 Degree and NCE Students on Friday, 28 May 2021