Let me start first by expressing my happiness to be a part of this grand occasion – the 2nd and 3rd Convocation ceremonies of the Akwa Ibom State University, Obio Akpa and Ikot Akpaden campuses respectively.
This 2nd and 3rd Convocation is being performed simultaneously today because we couldn’t hold the 2nd Convocation last year due to some accreditation issues. I am glad that the university went right back to work and got all the accreditation snafus resolved and the Nigerian University Commission (NUC) duly had accredited those courses and today, the students are brimming with hopes and great expectations at what an exciting future awaits them.
Let me congratulate the University and the graduating class of 2017 for having conducted themselves in ways and manner that recommended them for the award of degrees and certificates in various disciplines and wish them the best as they take on the challenges and the excitement of building careers and businesses in the foreseeable future. I have no doubt that the quality of education you have received here, will stand you in good stead to compete with your contemporaries and in the process project the foundational tenets and vision of this great institution as its ambassadors.
Let me pay special tribute to the Chancellor of the University, His Royal Highness, Emir of Kazaure, Aljahi Najib H. Adamu, the Governing Board of the University, and the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Eno Ibanga for working assiduously to ensure that this Institution ranks as one of the best state owned Universities in our nation You should all be proud of your achievements and dedicated service to this great university.
Education is an essential ingredient in the transformation of any society. If we all share the sentiments of the late South African legend, Nelson Mandela, who once had stated that education is the most powerful weapon that can be used to change the world, then we must do all we possibly can, to ensure that our children have access to affordable and quality education. Education is one of the cardinal responsibilities of government and our administration views this responsibility with all the seriousness it deserves.
As the class of 2017 graduates today, let me challenge or advise our university system and especially the Akwa Ibom State University to be guided by the realities of the 21 Century technology –driven world.
The world today is driven by Information and Communications Technology (ICT). We live in a world that is highly dependent on science and technology. Institutions of higher learning must therefore, put emphasis on ICT development to equip our graduates with the right skills- set needed for them compete favourably in today’s globally competitive workplace. The world is changing and our university system must change in line with the current realities.
We should prepare students who would look at the world as a vast land of opportunities and think up ideas that can translate into wealth. People like Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, dreamed up the idea of the establishment of Facebook while in college; Michael Dell who started Dell computers from the basement of her mother’s home in Texas was driven by an idea to have a PC that every home can afford. The Late Steve Job showed his nerdy side while in college and eventually ended up giving us possibly the most consequential pieces of lifestyle gadgets ever known to man- the Apple laptops, I-pads, I -phones etc.
We have so many Zuckerbergs and Michael Dells, the Bill Gates, the Jeff Bezos and Jerry Yang of Yahoo scattered all over our Nigerian universities and I dare say, many of such people are right here among these graduating students. You must seize the moment and dream big. Therefore, I challenge this university to begin a new academic conversation to the effect that while it is wonderful to look forward to building a career in the civil service or other professional lines, we can equally be as successful or if not more, if we think up ideas and match them with technology and then begin to put the building blocks towards wealth creation. In other words, let us strive for an ownership society as opposed to an entitlement society.
We have started this approach already as can be seen from the number of youths we have sent abroad to learn and equip themselves with these critical skills that will make them drivers of our industrialization process.
Let me congratulate the graduating students on their educational attainments. Today, you have been confirmed, certified and found worthy in character and learning to be admitted into the circle of scholars. I implore you, therefore, to be great ambassadors of this great institution and let the light of the knowledge you have acquire here, brighten your path as a loadstar, as you navigate your way around the maze of career and business paths that will eventually help you be of service to yourselves, community and humanity.
Thank you for your kind attention and God bless
God bless you all!
BEING AN ADDRESS PRESENTED BY HIS EXCELLENCY, MR. UDOM EMMANUEL, GOVERNOR, AKWA IBOM STATE, AT THE 2nd and 3rd CONVOCATION CEREMONIES OF THE AKWA IBOM STATE UNIVERSITY, OBIO AKPA AND IKOT AKPADEN CAMPUSES RESPECTIVELY- IKOT AKPADEN, MKPAT ENIN LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA, MAY 17TH, 2017.