6th Combined Convocation Ceremony Of The Nasarawa State Univerisity On 31/03/2022

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I am honoured to have been invited to share this joyous occasion with you and I bring you special greetings from President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.


It is clear that Nasarawa State University has come a long way since it was established twenty years ago, a result of the bold vision of His Excellency, the former governor of Nasarawa State and now Chairman of the All progressives Congress, Dr. Abdullahi Adamu.


The quality of your alumni speak of the commitment to that vision by succeeding administrations, as well as the dedication of the university’s administrative and academic staff over the years.


Graduates of Nasarawa State University have excelled in almost every field of human endeavour and have continued to do the university proud. This includes to mention a few, the immediate past Vice-Chancellor of the University, Professor Mohammed Akaro Mainoma, who is also the current president of the Association of National Accountants of Nigeria, and Hajiya Ramatu Tijani Aliyu, the current Minister of State for the Federal Capital Territory, who also received her Master’s in Public Administration from this university. You have so much to be proud of.


And this 6th combined convocation ceremony is a good occasion to reflectively bask in how far you have come.  Congratulations to the Visitor of the university and Executive Governor of Nasarawa State, my brother, Engineer Abdullahi Sule, who has built excellently on the legacies of his predecessors.


Let me also commend the current Vice-Chancellor, Professor Suleiman Bala Mohammed, the entire academic and administrative staff, whose hard, and sometimes thankless work, have culminated in this momentous celebration of academic attainment and excellence that we here for today.


May I also congratulate the six illustrious Nigerians who were conferred today with doctorate degrees, honoris causa, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN, Senator Umaru Al-Makura, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, GCON, Mallam Mele Kyari, Alhaji Abdulrazak Balarabe and Chief Peter Okocha. Congratulations on this well-deserved conferment.


Congratulations also to the parents, guardians, relatives and friends of the graduands. And to the graduands, this is your day and you have worked hard to get here.


I must say to the graduands, you must take pride in this moment, but it is also important that as we celebrate this milestone in your journey and see it for what it is – a portal leading you into future careers that will define the fate of families, industries, nations and the world at large. The world is waiting for you. Nigeria is waiting for you!


Young people like yourselves have always been the difference between the relative stability of the old and the possibilities of the new, the bridge between the past and the future.


The innovations that have positively disrupted the world as we know it today have largely been pioneered by the probing minds and boundless brains of young people like you; fresh out of school, eager to apply themselves, to experiment, to try out new things, to make mistakes and to learn from them.


You will be doing this great institution, and the investments of faith made in you by your professors, parents, and guardians, a great honour by believing in your own capacity to make a difference. Do not let anyone tell you differently. Resist the prevailing cynicism or the suggestion that the system is rigged against you as a result of your background, gender, tribe or religion.


Education gives you a platform from which to make something out of yourself. And this is true today as it was two decades ago when this university was founded. What will set you apart as you journey forward, however, is how far you are willing to dream and how much work you are willing to put in.


You belong to the most advanced generation in human history – a generation not bound by some of the rigid conventions of the past, a generation unafraid to ask the hard questions. One that has inherited centuries of human innovation and advancement, and so you know, much more than your predecessors, much more than those of us seating on this stage. There is nothing impossible to accomplish in the face of persistent, innovative, and collaborative effort.


Many of you who are here today are digital natives, heirs of artificial intelligence, robotics, 3-D printing, nanotechnology and quantum computing. You know, first hand, the wide-ranging opportunities of digital and mobile technology, the disruptions in logistics and global supply chains that have allowed for cheaper and more effective trade, while opening up new markets, and spurring economic growth around the world.


It was Franz Fanon who said, “each generation, must out of relative obscurity, discover its mission, fulfill it, or betray it.” The signs are clear that you are a generation on a path and with the heart to fulfill its mission. And we see it in the everyday stories of young people like you out there changing the Nigerian and African narrative one idea, and one bold move after another.


In 2021, African tech startups raised over $4billion in funding with over 564 startups across the continent solving critical problems in almost every sector. Nigeria accounted for 35% of these stat-ups. Beyond the numbers, are daring young men and women moulding a new future from their restless imaginations, with ambition and remarkable resolve.


In the last ten years, we have watched young Nigerians significantly expand the creative and cultural capital of the country on a global scale, with our music, movies, fashion and literature dominating airwaves and stages across the world. These creative young people have borrowed from the past and the future to invent a present sound, style and aesthetic that is wholly Nigerian and completely inventive, filling up auditoriums from Lagos to Europe to the US, and reaping every global award available for the taking. Part of this movement is Chuks D General, a fast-rising comedian and graduate of Statistics from Nasarawa State University.


Now, three things are important to keep in mind as you journey on, and I’ll like to leave you with these; the first is persistence because there will be setbacks, things will not always go the way you expect them to. You may fail more times than you will prefer. But when you do, remember that failure is never the end. It is simply a signpost pointing you in a different direction. It’s like useful data you can use to try again and try again to do better.  So keep at it no matter what. The world has always been pushed forward by people who refused to take no for an answer.


The second is ambition and innovation. Your hands can accomplish as far as your eyes can see. If fortune favours the bold, it does so now more than ever. The complex challenges facing our country, and continent at large, requires ambitious thinking and courageous undertakings.


The likes of Odunayo Eweniyi, Somto Ifezue, and Joshua Chibueze, Covenant University students, were all in their early 20s, when they founded Piggyvest in 2016 and grew it into one of Africa’s most profitable and most respected FinTechs.


The founders of the billion-dollar Flutterwave,  Andela and Paystack were also Nigerians in their twenties when they started only a few years ago. There is no telling how far you can go if you dream large enough and find the courage to go after what you believe in.


I have been made aware of your university’s robust Research and Innovation Directorate. Honour the investment made in it and in you by finding creative ways to apply the knowledge you have gained. You are graduating from a school located in the Home of Solid Minerals and Agriculture?What value can you add? What difference can you make?  


And finally, the third point to keep in mind is collaboration. Collaboration is the key to building the game-changing technologies and businesses of this century. It is no longer smart or profitable to go it alone.


The administration of Muhammadu Buhari, in the last seven years, has worked round the clock to ensure your dreams and abilities find the necessary support to come alive, for the benefit of all. So far the Federal Government has established a N75 billion National Youth Investment Fund which provides financial support for small businesses in any field.


There is also the new programme called Investing in Digital and Creative Enterprises (iDICE) with over $600million to support young tech and creative sector entrepreneurs and other entrepreneurs through the provision of finance, skills development, and infrastructure.


In 2021, the Federal Government also partnered with the UNDP, EU  and the private sector to start a programme called the Jubilee Fellows Internship Programme. For the next 5 years, every year 20,000 students, after Youth Service (NYSC) will be given internship opportunities in private sector companies and in public agencies. The idea will be for the participants to gain relevant career and life skills that will enable them to transition seamlessly into professional, business, or public sector careers, while also earning very good pay during the internship.


These opportunities exist to support your dreams and you can readily access them irrespective of where you come from or who you know. So step out and take your place in the world.


A university education, important as it is, does not arm you with the all knowledge that you need to go out there and succeed in the world, it arms you, more than anything, with the skill you need to seek out, organize and apply information constructively.


You have countless and countless sources of information available to you at the push of a button. Use them. Don’t stop learning. Don’t stop acquiring new skills.


Let me leave you with an important task. Our nation is a nation of diverse tribes, faiths and beliefs. But this is how most great nations are formed. The challenge is how to wield the tribes into one tribe – a Nigerian tribe.


A tribe of Nigerian men and women of all faiths, tribes and ethnicities, committed to a country run on high values of integrity, hard work, justice and love of country. A tribe of men and women who are prepared to make the sacrifices that are crucial to building a strong society. Who are prepared to stick together, fight corruption side by side, and insist on justice even where our friends are at the receiving end.


A tribe consisting of professionals, businessmen, politicians, religious leaders, Students,  and all others, who believe that this new Nigeria is possible. I challenge you to play your part in bringing forth this new tribe and a nation reborn.


In conclusion,  I urge you to always remember, especially those graduating today, where you are coming from, this great university, Nasarawa State University. Where you have imbibed the values of integrity, discipline and empathy asides from academic attainments. Remember that all these attainments are meant for you to prosper and develop this society and develop the world.


Nothing you achieve can be compared to your service to others and to humanity.



I leave you with a prayer, that your journey through life will be prosperous, joyful and successful and you will achieve all your dream in Jesus’ name.