AN ADDRESS PRESENTED BY HIS EXCELLENCY, DR. PETER AYODELE FAYOSE, THE GOVERNOR OF EKITI STATE AND VISITOR TO THE EKITI STATE UNIVERSITY AT THE 20TH CONVOCATION CEREMONY OF THE UNIVERSITY ON 21ST MARCH, 2015
It offers me tremendous pleasure to be here at this 20th Convocation of the Ekiti State University, Ado-Ekiti. I welcome you all and wish to specially congratulate the graduating students on this milestone achievement which is the rewarding outcome of years of toil, endurance and perseverance. I also felicitate with their parents and guardians who have laboured very hard to see them through the rigours and demands of University education. I salute you on your worthy investments in the training of your children.
You will recall that I was here on this same dais as Governor and Visit at the 13th, 14th and 15th Convocation Ceremonies of this University held in 2004, 2005 and 2006 respectively. Providence and the special grace of God have once again allowed me the unique and rare opportunity of returning to the helms of affairs as the Governor of Ekiti State and Visitor to this great University. I wish to, at this juncture, give all glory and adoration to the Almighty God for this rare opportunity. Similarly, I wish to, also thank you for keeping faith with me and counting me worthy of the position of leadership once more. It is said “that to whom much is given, much is required”. I promise to justify the huge confidence and trust which you have reposed in me. Together, we shall make Ekiti State, a State of our dreams.
We are here today to celebrate scholarship and the harvest of our investment in the education of these young ones, our hope and our future. Education is a sine qua non for individual and national development. It transmits and perpetuates a people’s culture. According to Nelson Mandela, the late president of South Africa, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
Universities as citadels of knowledge are established for knowledge generation through research; knowledge dissemination through teaching, and knowledge application through community service. Our universities, therefore, cannot but be bastions for these lofty ideas, not minding the financial and other challenges confronting them. They must be seen to be at the forefront of dictating the pace of changes and finding appropriate responses to the challenges being constantly thrown up by them.
Among the goals of education as enunciated by the Nigeria National Policy on Education is the acquisition of “both physical and intellectual skills which will enable individuals to be self-reliant and useful members of the society”.
It is on this note that I challenge the students of our tertiary institutions, especially in our Universities to strive to imbibe the requisite physical and intellectual skills that will imbue them with the right values and attitudes for survival outside there so that they can contribute to the overall development of themselves and the society.
Distinguished Scholars, Awardees and Guests, the level of academic performance both within and beyond the four walls of our institutions calls for serious concern. The palpable poor academic performance that we lament about is not only felt in the dissemination and transfer of knowledge by our teachers and academics but in the different professions, such as Medicine, Law, Engineering, Education and even leadership and Governance. We must collectively rally round on a rescue mission to stem this rising tide so that we will not be consumed by the ignorance that is being churned out of our institutions and the mediocrity that have taken over individual and corporate lives at every sector.
Our students must be able to reap maximum benefits from their education. The education we give them must be able to equip them with the right knowledge, attitude, abilities, skills and competence that will orientate and impact them to positively and fittingly live in the society. The current realities dictate that the era of expecting Government to provide employment for all is now a mirage. Students, therefore, must actively and spiritedly embrace the current wave of entrepreneurship. I am particularly impressed at the establishment of the Entrepreneurship Study Centre in the University as well as the National Universities Commission initiative of making entrepreneurship study compulsory in our Universities. It, therefore, becomes imperative for graduates to be equipped with both mental and physical skills outside the cognitive to be able to withstand the challenges of the society. They need to be creative and enterprising and access the various initiatives being put in place by the Federal Government and our Government to help release them from the throes of unemployment.
Let me at this juncture remind our youths that the general elections will hold on, Saturday, March 28th, and Saturday, 11th April, 2015 respectively.
You must not see this as an avenue for unemployment by lending yourselves as instruments of thuggery. These times call for caution. Rather than constituting yourselves into political nuisance, you must strive to contribute your quota to the strengthening of democracy and the rule of law.
I wish to commend the Management of this University for their prudent management of the limited resources at their disposal. I am particularly elated by the report that the University has been earning either full or partial NUC accreditation in all its programmes. I am also delighted at the rapid physical and infrastructural development noticeable everywhere in the University. I am very positive that we will acquire the same feat when the results of the accreditation visits by both the National Universities Commission (NUC) and the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MCDN) to programmes in our College of Medicine are out. I wish to assure you of the readiness of our Government to do the needful at all times so that the University can always compete with her counterpart globally.
I am aware that the university is not in any way immune to the happenings in the country and especially in the State. The University, however, must not allow itself to be dragged in to the muddy waters of politics; it must strive to be above board at all times. I wish to assure you that the State Government, as the proprietor of the University, not minding the current global economic meltdown and debt profile of the State, is always ready to partner with the University authority and the entire students on our genuine attempt at providing manpower and infrastructural development in the University, though within the limits of it resources.
I challenge our University Authority to imbue our students with the fact that paper qualifications alone cannot lead us to the promise land, but this must be complemented with an entrepreneurship education that will make our graduates fit successfully into the larger society. Let our University make conscious effort at moulding students not only in terms of learning, but also in character. Let the imperatives of discipline be instilled in them, they must be imbued with the ideals of a new society, they need to be creative and resilient so that they can adapt and adjust to the society in which they find themselves. I also wish to challenge you to embark on researches that will address the developmental needs of Ekiti State in areas of Agriculture, Solid Minerals and Education, among others. There should be a synergy between ‘the town’ and ‘the gown’ on our collective struggle to move Ekiti out of present doldrums. Therefore, I wish to urge you that you have an onerous responsibility to put in place blue prints that are implementable and attractive to draw the operators in the private sector to the economy of Ekiti State.
Let me conclude by once again, congratulating our newest sets of graduates, as well as the parents and guardians on your academic success while wishing you God’s protection and guidance in your future endeavor. Your labour will not be in vain.
I thank everybody for your patience and attention.
Thank you and God bless you all.