VALEDICTORY SPEECH BY ADEOLA FABOLA ON THE OCCASION OF THE FOURTH CONVOCATION CEREMONY, HELD ON SATURDAY, 3RD NOVEMBER, 2012
I stand here with great pleasure today to address you all on behalf of the Bells University of Technology graduating class of 2012. All glory must go to God almighty for sparing our lives to witness this great occasion, and for giving us the grace to attain this feat – the completion of our undergraduate education. Indeed it’s “not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit says the Lord almighty” (Zech 4:6, NIV).
We cannot say thank you enough to all those who have made it possible for us to be here today, those who have assisted us throughout this journey. To the men and women of vision at the helm of affairs in this great institution, for affording us the privilege to be part of the fold who have been raised to be pace-setters; to our lecturers who were there for us through thick and thin, who held us by the hand and guided us through this illuminating journey; to our parents and guardians, for acknowledging the value of quality education in sending us to this fine institution; to our siblings, friends, loved-ones and well-wishers, for the unstinting love and support; to other members of the “Bellstech” community – our coaches, our porters, our service providers; for want of time we cannot mention all those who have been there for us, but we can offer our profound gratitude, and we, the class of 2012, say THANK YOU.
Fellow graduands, I feel elated, ecstatic, and euphoric; words cannot express the joy in my heart. I can only imagine that you feel the same way because today we have achieved something. For most, the journey began in 2008, but for others like a certain young man it began one Monday morning in September, back in 2007. That morning he left home to embark on a journey to the university campus, little did he know he had begun a journey towards greatness. That journey is far from over, but today we’ve reached a milestone; a point in the road where we can look back and reflect. It wasn’t all rosy; there were ups and downs, good times and bad, moments of laughter and moments of despair. At the end of it all – some four/five years down the road – we emerged victorious, and for this reason I congratulate you all. As we bask in the euphoria evocative of a convocation ceremony, let us be mindful that we’ve only crossed one of life’s many hurdles. Yes we’ve come a long way from where we started, but we’re nowhere near the finish line. We must strive to attain greater heights; we must dare to be the best; we should reach for the skies; in doing so, we shouldn’t settle for less. In embracing this winning mentality we should remember the words of Napoleon Hill who said “whatever the mind of man can conceive, it can achieve”.
I heard about this rabbit that saw an eagle perched high up on a tree branch, and sought to emulate its majestic posture by sitting still at the root of the tree. After a brief moment of serenity a fox came out of nowhere, pounced on the rabbit, and tore it into pieces. Even though this deviates from the happy endings that culminate our tales, there’s a moral to it. And the moral of the story is simple: to be sitting and doing nothing, you must be sitting very, very up high. It is however unfortunate that very few people are willing to go the extra mile. No wonder one of our founding fathers of blessed memory, Benjamin Nnamdi Azikiwe said “there is plenty of room at the top because very few people care to travel beyond the average route. And so, most of us seem satisfied to remain within the confines of mediocrity”. Esteemed scholars, the last couple of years have prepared us for the future. We’ve obtained quality education germane to our respective fields. In a society where mediocrity is rife, the onus is on us to build ourselves up into problem-solvers, leaders and morally-redoubtable citizens that will be worthy of emulation by posterity.
To those we are leaving behind, I urge each and every one of you to count yourself lucky to be part of this citadel of erudition. As you work towards the completion of your degree, stay abreast of the high ideals that this institution stands for. Make the most of your time here so that when you depart to take your places in life, you’ll be worthy ambassadors that will keep the “Bellstech” flag flying. Every now and then I sit back and wonder about how the cure for (say) cancer could be trapped in the mind of someone who cannot afford an education. For some this is the harsh reality of life, but not you! So again I say count it all joy that you’ve been afforded the opportunity to be educated here, laying a foundation that will enable you rise to the highest echelons of society. That being said, let this serve as a clarion call for us all to live up to the words of our school anthem: brace up to the challenge, and be light-bearers of a prosperous nation. This being the case, it’s only a matter of time before this great institution actualizes her vision to “produce a Nobel laureate”.
Ladies and gentlemen, a lot has been said today. But if I can leave you with one last thought it’s the ancient aphorism which goes thus: “Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. But today is a gift, that’s why it’s called the present”. In essence, the past is gone; the future is yet to come; but as you live your lives every day, do something that will inch you closer to a better tomorrow, something to leave your footprints in the sands of time.
On behalf of the class of 2012 I want to thank you all for making our day. May God grant you all journey mercies back to your respective destinations. And most importantly, may the good Lord bless us and spare our lives so that if and when we meet again, we’ll be sitting on top.
Adeola Fabola emerged Overall Best graduating Student of the Bells University of Technology Class of 2012.
He achieved a First Class Honours Degree in Information Technology with CGPA 4.83.