ANOTHER VALEDICTORY ADDRESS TO GRADUATING STUDENTS OF MASON COLLEGE,FESTAC
Our Dear Students & Management Staff of Mason College.
You are welcome.
In most of my addresses at a couple of recent graduation/award ceremonies I have made a point of starting by thanking the good Lord for His mercies, His faithfulness and His blessings. I do this because it is evidently rewarding to thank Him for what He has done to induce Him to do more. A person who is not thankful for what he was given isn’t likely to be thankful for what he is going to get. Let us therefore count our blessings at every opportunity. If we would not be thankful for what we have achieved, let us be thankful for dangers we have been delivered from.
As part of the yearly stock taking, you would also have noted that there are some prominent issues which usually come up in my addresses at these ceremonies.These include:
-future of the average Nigerian citizen.
– students and other Nigerian youths graduating from many institutions of Higher Learning.
– the roles of professional Educators in integrating utility into education.
-unwillingness of students at applying what has been learnt in school to practical life.
-scarcity of motivational variables due to dearth of appropriate role models in society.
-scantiness of institutional structures helpful to youths for focusing on their areas of comparative advantage and for helping them develop their unique endowments.
-indifference of students to academic work or tutors because the end point of all academic endeavour, to them, is hazy and do not go beyond passing examinations and obtaining certificates.
-apathy, on the part of students, to dig deep for facts that might be useful to them later in life.
-discouraging signals to young people because of non-existent job opportunities for their elder brothers/sisters long after graduation from higher institutions.
– weakness of the economy for job creation and incubation of small enterprises.
– necessity for skills acquisition for constituting an indispensable component of utility education for youths in Nigeria.
-high level of social and ethical decadence in the society whereby political opportunism and mediocrity have replaced hard work and merit.
Let us look at some of these issues and what your college wants you to go away with as you graduate.
SKILLS ACQUISITION/UTILITY EDUCATION
On the necessity for skills acquisition to constitute an indispensable component of utility education for Nigerian youth, it is quite disturbing that every year, educational institutions turn out millions of young people who lack the basic skills necessary for success in an information oriented economy. Our foresight at Mason College led the management, many years back, to make computer studies a crucial part of our curriculum. Though we do not teach practical carpentary and bricklaying, we have prepared our students in necessary academic skills, like perfecting their ability to write composition as a way of expressing their opinions powerfully.We have taught them skills that have helped them improve their spoken English and undertake the art of Public Speaking. We have also taken them on familiarization tours and excursions targeted at improving and enhancing their social mannerisms and imbuing them with the ability to live their lives in a caring and conscientious manner, being courteous, being cultured, matured and courtly in their social interactions.
INDIFFERENCE TO ACADEMIC THINKING
My views about indifference of students to academic work and continuing education is obvious from their apathy to dig deep for facts that might be useful to them later in life. In this regard, I urge our graduating class to look beyond the discouraging signals embedded in a weak national economy and absence of job opportunities. They should rather focus on job creation and incubation of small enterprises. Computer based support services such as graphics, and desktop publishing, poultry, small fish pond farming e.t.c. are areas you can dig deep into and in a short time you would have become employers of labor. The Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) has programs to train youths on credit sourcing and utilization from their funds. Ask the right questions. Make an effort to find out from those around you how you can go about fulfilling your dreams. But start right away. Not when you are about to graduate from a university!
YOU ALL HAVE TO DO YOUR OWN GROWING!
However,it is important to note that no matter what secrets of success Mason College endowed you with, they will not work for you unless you work with them. You are made for action and promptness. Success simply takes good ideas and put them to work. What the free enterprise system really means is that the more enterprising you are the freer you are. What we all need is less emphasis on free and more on enterprise. Go to work! No one can build a personal destiny upon the faith or experience of another person. Believe me “YOU ALL HAVE TO DO YOUR OWN GROWING, NO MATTER HOW TALL YOUR DADS ARE!”.
HARD WORK PAYS
Don’t end up like concrete, all mixed up and permanently set. The road to success is always under construction. Yesterday’s methods in today’s world probably won’t be in business tomorrow. The same kind of thinking and training that brought you to where you are today will not necessarily take you where you want to go. The Holy Bible in the Book of Mark, chapter 2 told us of 4 men who came to Jesus carrying a paralyzed man on a stretcher and when they found that they couldn’t get to Jesus through the crowd, they dug through the clay roof above his head and lowered the sick man on his stretcher right in front of Jesus. On noting their faith and hard work, Jesus healed the man of his paralysis. Nigeria’s current economic and social environment has paralyzed many young men and women and only those who are willing to dig through the clay roof especially through their minds will be able to lower themselves in front of the few available opportunities.
DON’T FOLLOW ANYONE WHO IS GOING NOWHERE
In future you are going to need your peers. But after you leave here, your associations will change. Some of your new friends may not want you to go on at a pace you prefer. They may want you to stay where they are. But always remember what your College is telling you today. “Friends that do not increase you, will eventually decrease you”. Our advice is simple. “Don’t follow anyone who’s not going anywhere”. It is better to be alone than being in a wrong company.
PREDICT YOUR UNIQUE PURPOSE
You can predict your future by an awareness of your unique purpose. Too many people know where they are running from, but not where they are running to. First, concentrate on finding your purpose, then concentrate on fulfilling it. It has been said that having a powerful “why” will provide you with a necessary “how”. Purpose, not money, can be your strongest asset. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “If a man hasn’t discovered something that he will die for, he is not fit to live”. The purpose of life is to have a life of purpose. At the beginning of each year from now on and for the rest of your lives, ask yourself what your life purpose is? Pursue the answer and you will never fail in life.
NO EXCUSES PLEASE
When it comes to excuses, the world is full of great inventors. So invent a way, not an excuse. Do not spend half of your life telling people the great things you would have done and the other half giving excuses why you did not do them. An excuse is a foundation used for building a house of failure. The book of Proverbs says, “Work brings profit, talk brings poverty” Do not make excuses, make progress.
LET YOUR IMAGINATIONS FLY
Great ambassadors of Mason College, never forget that you were created for creativity. Your eyes are designed to look for opportunities, your ears to listen for direction, your mind to demand challenges and your hearts to believe in success in life. Unlike an air plane, your imagination can take off day or night in any kind of circumstances. Let it fly! I wish each of you the best you can imagine
Please remember the major points of this valedictory address in future.