The week long convocation ceremonies of Adeleke University was indeed a huge success. The programme started with a two day job fair, followed with a convocation lecture delivered by the Senior Vice-President, Academics, Babcock University, Professor Iheanyichukwu Okoro. The topic was, “University Education and Employability in Nigeria: Challenges and Potentials”.
Professor Okoro was factual in his presentation as he highlighted some of the factors inhibiting development in the education sector like: poor funding of education, out-dated curricula, compromised admission processes and inconsistency in policy formulation. With all these, it will be very difficult to produce graduates who possess the requisite professional qualities required by employers.
According to him, employers of labour complain that, Nigerian graduates lack certain requisite soft skills like: Leadership skills, Creative thinking, Problem solving thinking, Good work ethics and Good in command English and communication skill, Good interpersonal relationship and Information Technology (ICT) skills.
In his conclusion, he made the following recommendations: the National Universities Commission should encourage universities to come up with innovative programmes, entrepreneurial courses should not stop at the acquisition of vocational or artisan skills but should include the infusion of entrepreneurial spirit in the students that will enable them see business opportunities in whatever profession they found themselves, the 9-3-4 system of education should be faithfully implemented such that there is a greater interaction between education and world of work, the budgetary allocation to education should not be less than 15% for the next ten years, the current war on corrupt JAMB centres should be sustained and students should be allowed to monitor the teaching effectiveness of their lecturers while the lecturers ensure that the students attend lectures by taking attendance amongst others.
Friday, the 19th of July, 2019, was the official commissioning of the 2018/2019 Graduating Class Oroject. The Phoenix graduating class donated a modern Basket Ball Court and Lawn Tennis Court. While commissioning the project, the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Council, Dr. Adedeji Adeleke thanked the graduating students for proving the sport facility. He challenged them to always look out for needs that require urgent attention in their communities.
Saturday, July 20, 2019, was the Convocation Sabbath. The former President/Vice-Chancellor of Babcock University, Professor James Kayode Makinde preached the sermon that challenged the graduating students to strive for greatness if they really want to be great. He said, “The phoenix which you have adopted as your class name is a mysterious bird of antiquity”. “It existed only one at a time and was never caught unprepared.
When a phoenix dies, its ashes transform to give rise to another phoenix and a phoenix could live for more than five hundred years. Hence, as you leave Adeleke University, as you get ready to man different leadership positions, you must make sure that there is a successive plan before you leave a position. You must train and mentor other people who will take over from you to avoid retrogression”. There was prayer for the ownership and leadership of Adeleke University. Another high point of the service was the thanksgiving and testimony time.
The graduating students took time in their orange and black colour apparel to march out to appreciate God for a successful academic journey in Adeleke University. The hall was electrifying as their joy was overwhelming. There were few testimonies and general prayer for the entire university. Saturday evening was the Pro-Chancellor’s banquet. The graduating students with their parents were treated to a sumptuous dinner at the cafeteria where the Pro-Chancellor, Dr. Deji Adeleke admonished again to shun the evils of the present age and be good ambassadors of the University.
On Sunday, the 21st of July, 2019, at exactly 10.am, the Convocation Ceremony commenced. A total 330 students graduated from six faculties. There were nine students from the College of Postgraduate Studies. Recall that, this was the first time the postgraduate college will be graduating students. It was also the first time Faculties of Law and Engineering would be presenting candidates during convocation ceremony.
While delivering his speech, the President/Vice-Chancellor, Professor Samuel Ekundayo Alao thanked God for piloting affairs of the university through yet another academic session. He appreciated the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Council, Dr. Adedeji Adeleke for his unwavering support and commitment to the development of the university. He stated that, “while other proprietors ventured into private university with the aim of what to gain, here is one man who founded a university just to expand his humanitarian activities. The Vice-Chancellor requested that, the convocation should rise with a resounding clap in appreciation to God and to a man with a milk of human kindness”. He equally appreciated the Governing Council members for their advice and encouragements. Professor Alao, went further to recognize staff and faculty members for their selfless service to the university during the session under review.
Miss Rita Oluwadarasimi from the Department of Mass Communication emerged as the best graduating student with a CGPA of 4.84, while Pastor Emurotu Andrew Eriabome from Religious Department emerged the best graduating student for postgraduate school with a CGPA of 4.93. Professor Alao’s admonition for the graduands was very apposite, “what you have acquired in Adeleke University is not just the certificate; it is character that will assist you to fly away to meet new opportunities”. “As you submit your ceremonial gowns and pack your belongings ready to exit the popular Adeleke University gate, as you get ready to take a leap into the real world, remember that you are now all to yourself”.
Remember also that, the world would see Adeleke University through the excellence in your productivity, purity in your character and intelligence in your education”. You are in other words, the ambassadors of this great institution. “It has been a wonderful journey for the past four or five years. You have come this far because you believed that you can make it”. “Remember that not all that started this journey with you are here today”. That is the irony of life. “The certificates you are receiving today will open doors for you; walk through these doors because you deserve them. As an alumnus of Adeleke University, one thing you must not forget is that life is about ‘giving back”. The Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Council, Dr. Adedeji Tajudeen Adeleke has exemplified this and I encourage you to replicate the same virtue whenever fortune smiles at you”.
The Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Council, Dr. Adedeji Tajudeen Adeleke in his address called attention of the graduands to the sore state of the nation. He bemoaned that the older generation has failed the younger generation. He expressed hope that with concerted efforts, Nigeria can be a great nation. He said, “For Nigeria to develop, the youth must desist from corruption and uphold the rule of law. It is not too late for Nigeria. If Singapore which was a third world nation can be transformed so rapidly today, Nigeria can be a great nation but that will require the efforts of those who believe in Nigeria because no foreigner will come to fix Nigeria for us. He charged the graduands to embrace entrepreneurship and create jobs because there are no jobs in the society.
The best graduating student, Miss Rita Oluwadarasimi stated that, education brings enlightenment which ushers in development and Adeleke University has given us the best form of enlightenment… She promised that, they will lend their voices to support the right thing and uphold rule of law as requested by the Pro-Chancellor. The Executive Secretary of National Universities Commission (NUC), Professor Adamu AbdulRasheed was full of excitement over what he saw in Adeleke University. He said, “after touring the campus in the company of the Pro-Chancellor, Dr. Adedeji Adeleke, I could not really recognize whether I was in a University in the United States or in England”. He thanked the Pro-Chancellor for his magnanimity and love for quality education. He commended the leadership of the University for always complying with all NUC guidelines and requirements.
The commencement speech was delivered by Nigeria’s former representative to the United Nations, Professor Ibrahim Gambari and the topic was “the place of University Education in Global Development”. Professor Gambari as usual, took his audience through the path known only for real classroom teachers. In his presentation, he said, “in these challenging times, what is now required for survival and competitiveness in a globalizing world is education for peace, for citizenship and for entrepreneurship. Hence, broad access to comprehensive and quality education at all levels is the keys to success in achieving global development. In achieving this, developing a new educational curriculum that emphasis technology, science, entrepreneurship, peace and nation-building, becomes imperative. To achieve peace and socio-economic development, there is the need for quality education that is not only holistic but also inclusive. To make this a reality, the focus should not only be on training students about the skills needed immediately upon graduation but efforts should be made to invest in the long-term intellectual, creative and social capacity of the individual.
There is a need for philosophy of education that stands on three legs—intellectual formation, character or moral formation and technical formation, and this tripod must be rooted in spiritual formation. Without this, peace, socio-economic development and a just society in Nigeria and Africa will be a mirage. Quality education is the bedrock of peace and sustainable development. The right people should be put in the right positions and must be inclusive in order to achieve the level of development which we desire and which we deserve.
Education must include the acquisition of technical competence as well as spiritual, intellectual, and moral competence which make education holistic. In addition, I wish to make reference to the immortal words of the great English thinker and philosopher John Henry Newman: “If then a practical end must be assigned to a University course, I say it is that of training good members of society… It is the education which gives a man a clear, conscious view of their own opinions and judgements, a truth in developing them, an eloquence in expressing them, and a force in urging them. It teaches him to see things as they are, to go right to the point…. to detect what is sophistic and to discard what is irrelevant.” And related to this are the critical elements of continuous learning, continuous self-development and open-mindedness to and seeing possibilities in the broader context.
Fortunately, there is the emergence of global and continental road-maps such as the Agenda 2030, otherwise known as Sustainable Development Goals and Agenda 2063 which is the African Unions goals of “silencing the guns” and achieving the Africa that we want. In order to achieve these ends and ensure that we live in a more peaceful, prosperous, just and cleaner world, we have built institutions including Universities like this one which should now adapt global agendas in all their dimensions. There were recommendations like:
- Investment in Education by both the Government and Private Sector: Inadequate and Declining finances of the university and higher education system, which makes it difficult for the universities to recruit and above all to retain quality staff, engage in research and provide a conducive atmosphere for learning and research.
- The need to allow professionals to run the education sector, design their curricular and determine priorities in regard to teaching and research;
- The need for university autonomy and thereby allow the university to be what is supposed to be, the University for public good.
- Poor quality of the management of higher education institutions and need for ASUU to think and act more strategically and rise above trade unionism in the universities.
- Massively retrain, reorient and motivate teachers and recruit new ones.
- Establish Technical/Trade schools in each local government Council in Nigeria.
Finally, he shifted his attention to the graduands and said, “You must always demonstrate that you have passed through Adeleke University and that Adeleke University has passed through you and work to add value to the community, your state, Nigeria and the international community. You must set only the highest targets and most rigorous standards for yourselves as a mark of self-respect and in the firm understanding that in the end, the education you got is one that brings about transformation in peace, development and in all spheres of our national and global life.