By Vincent Obi
Mr Ebiwari Shadrach, a student under the Presidential Amnesty Scholarship Programme, has emerged the best graduating student of the Western Delta University (WDU), Oghara, Delta state.
Shadrach also bagged a First Class degree in Computer Science at the University’s convocation ceremony.
According to reports, many people in the WDU main Auditorium shed tears of joy when Shadrach, in his speech, thanked the late President Umaru Yar’Adua and his successors, including President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, for continuing with the Amnesty programme.
Shadrach, while thanking God for the Amnesty scholarship said his sojourn in the University has opened many doors which could enable him to achieve his academic and career goals.
A member of the 2022/2023 graduating class, Shadrach challenged his fellow graduates to “work on their weaknesses and proffer solutions to societal problems as they embark on a new journey”.
Eighteen out of the 426 graduating students from the 2020/2021, 2021/2022, 2022/2023 sessions also bagged First Class degrees. At the ceremony, two persons received honorary Doctorate degrees.
They are Mr Oritsedere Otubu, Chairman, Eko Disco (Business Administration) and Mr Igho Okotete, Chairman, Pioneer Global Resource and Integrated Energy Ltd., (International Affairs and Diplomacy).
Elated by the honour bestowed on them, the two honourary awardees made consequential bequests to WDU, pledging to construct an auditorium and a science laboratory respectively.
Also, the Emir of Zazzau, Malam Ahmed Nuhu Bamballi, Dr Ajoritsedere Awosika, and the South Korean Ambassador to Nigeria, Kim Young Chae, were conferred with Honorary Degrees of Doctor of Public Affairs, Science, International Affairs and Diplomacy as well as Business Administration, respectively.
In her convocation lecture, Prof. Antonia Okoosi-Simbine, Director-General, Nigerian Institute of Social and Economic Research (NISER), called on the graduands to make good choices that would shape their lives.
In the lecture, titled “A People – Centred Governance Process in Nigeria: The Role of the Youth”, Okoosi-Simbine said “the challenges facing Nigerian youths were multifaceted but interrelated.
She listed the challenges to include limited access to quality education, unemployment, underemployment, poverty, corruption, insecurity, poor health system, culture, cultism and drug abuse.
Okoosi-Simbine noted that the average youth had sought refuge in drugs to “weather the challenge”, saying that while the Nigerian population was predominantly young, the young people have not been adequately catered for over the years.
She therefore urged governments at all levels to engage youths in socio-political activities to foster a people-centered, inclusive, accountable, and responsive system.
“Over two-thirds of Nigeria’s population is under 30 years old, so youth involvement would ensure an appreciable degree of representation in political and policy decision-making”.
While urging the graduands to engage themselves with important things because “the onus lies with them to take the bull by the horns”.
Okoosi-Simbine said that “the key is responsibility and initiative, deciding what life is about and prioritising life around the most important things.
“The choices you make are pivotal in shaping your future self,” she added.
The University Visitor, Chief James Onanefe Ibori, appreciated the Emir of Zazzau for physically attending the convocation ceremony in spite of his busy schedule, noting, “your humility is worth emulating”.
Ibori urged the graduating students to improve themselves in the face of adversity and called on the University management to stick to its academic and educational plan to be a model for other institutions.
In his address, the Chancellor of Western Delta University, Obong Victor Attah, lauded Ibori for his vision and hard work in nurturing the institution.
Attah commended the graduating students for their hard work in completing their various courses of study, but warned that the future of the country depended on them and that the country needed people who can learn, adapt to change, and persuade others to do the same.
Meanwhile, the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of the Governing Council, Prof. Emmanuel Eghosa Osaghae, reiterated that the giant strides and accomplishments of the University would not have been achieved without Chief Ibori.
“We remain grateful for your unwavering support over the years and we pledge to never let you down”.
He also appreciated the host community, Oghara town, for making the university environment hospitable for the institution to grow since inception.
In his address, Vice Chancellor of the University, Prof. Augustine Ikelegbe, said that the institution was proud to be a player in the private university system which had continued to deliver quality education.
He said that the university had significantly expanded its academic colleges from three to six.
He charged the graduating students to remember the mission of their alma mater – to produce men and women with capability and a deep sense of responsibility for contribution to development.
“You have to prove your mettle in the real world where you have to demonstrate the virtues, knowledge, and competence acquired in Western Delta University,” Ikelegbe said.
Also speaking, Gov. Godwin Obaseki of Edo, who was represented by his Deputy, Phillip Shaibu, congratulated Ibori and the management of the institution for their immense contribution to the educational sector of the country.
Obaseki urged the graduates to be the catalyst that would boost the economy of the country, saying “let us focus on production for local consumption”.
In her remarks, a member of the House of Representatives, representing Ethiope-West Federal Constituency, Mrs Erhitake Ibori-Suenu, urged the graduates to be good ambassadors of the institution by contributing to the growth of the society. (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Vincent Obi