I was also there, moving from one tent to another. It has always been a tradition since my days as a freshman. Many of us do it, not because we are deprived of food, but because we belong to the School of Thought which believes that “party rice is sweeter when compared to that cooked at home”. Pardon us, if you do not agree with our position, but then, it’s our belief which must be upheld. Thus, like previous years, this year didn’t go unattended. To those who fed us (breakfast, lunch and dinner) we say thank you. Well, the convocation ceremony has ended, the gates of fate have been sealed in the world of reality, the food has been shared, the drinks have been served and the merriment has taken place. Now is time for us to take a conscious look and reflect on the lessons which this annual festivity has brought. While you enjoyed the nice plate of rice from the tent of Senior Ciroma, spiced with a full-fledged moimoi handed over by Brother Chukwuma, toppled with a piece of meat from the food given by Brother Kunle and stepped down with a can of maltina, courtesy of sister Zainab, you are probably unawares that the food signifies the seal of fates, in this case, fates which are worthy of emulation. While we shall emulate this incident as a topic of discussion for this week, we shall also look into some special cases which are worthy of public discourse and from which several lessons can be learnt.
While you enjoyed the nice plate of rice from the tent of Senior Ciroma, spiced with a full-fledged moimoi handed over by Brother Chukwuma, toppled with a piece of meat from the food given by Brother Kunle and stepped down with a can of maltina, courtesy of sister Zainab, you are probably unawares that the food signifies the seal of fates, in this case, fates which are worthy of emulation. While we shall emulate this incident as a topic of discussion for this week, we shall also look into some special cases which are worthy of public discourse and from which several lessons can be learnt.
THE CASE OF DANIEL NKEMELU
The fact that Daniel Nkemelu, a graduate of Computer Science, graduated from the University of Ibadan without a CGPA of 7.0 is no longer news. In fact, the news has been reported by national dailies as a result of his achievement of such unprecedented feat. But a major reason for the emphasis of this story is simply the fact that graduating with a 7.0 in the University of Ibadan is no child’s play. However, the case of Daniel is one which is worthy of our prayers, wishes, study and emulation.
Those who were around during the elections which ushered in Mr. Ojo Oluwanifemi as Students’ Union President would remember that Daniel was the Chairman of his campaign team. Active users of Facebook will attest to his solid online presence and conscious readers will attest to how creative his timely piece was, when he wrote an article titled “Once upon a time in Unigoodan”. I say all this not to inform you of the likely content of his curriculum vitae, but to drag your attention to the fact that this record setter is no geek.
He explored other areas of campus life, yet, he graduated as the Best Student of the University for the year 2016. While everyone cannot be Daniel, we can at least strive to still achieve greatness, we can explore other areas aside academics and still have an outstanding outcome, truly, we can do better than we ever imagined. Therefore, the case of Daniel Nkemelu is a lesson to every Uite. Simply because the stars are below the moon shouldn’t mean we have to settle for the stars. We can aim for the moon, grab the moon and have it on our palms.
THE CASE OF OZIBO EKELE
The perception of the average Uite about the Department of History can be summarized to be a department where getting a First Class degree is as rare as sighting the moon in broad daylight. When viewed critically, one can only agree that such perception is closer to the corridors of truth. The department of history is indeed one of the oldest departments within the institution. This probably accounts for the title “Ibadan School of History”.
However, while it is a rare activity to celebrate First Class students of the department of history during annual convocation ceremonies (when compared to other departments), things changed this year, as a student of History was not just produced but publicly commended, appreciated and celebrated by scholars of this great institution as a result of the record he broke. Ozibo Ozibo Ekele graduated with a CGPA of 6.6 out of the attainable 7.0. Indeed, he cannot be described as lucky for it is a result he earned.
This is a lesson for everyone. We must agree that norms are set by men and it is the duty of man to go against such norms. While having such a high CGPA can be described as an exception to previous records in the department of history, Ozibo went against the norm by beating the record and setting a standard of his own. If he can, you also can. It is never too late to strive for greatness, do not limit yourself, make needed sacrifices, pray if you believe in it and work hard if you really want to be excel.
THE MATRICULATION WISHES AGAINST THE CONVOCATION REALITIES
Taking our minds back to some 4,5 or 6 years ago, one would realize that those handsome and beautiful faces, whose rice we ate with pride, whose drink we drank with honor and whose tent we comfortably sat with smile on our faces, were mere ‘matriculants’ seated in the International Conference Center, for their matriculation. They must have jostled from one place to another as freshmen, trying to find their feet. They had wishes, ambitions and visions. But the convocation done marked the end of their visions for their undergraduate days. What they have now is simply the outcome of their deeds.
At inception, many had the intention of graduating with a First Class and some, with a second class upper. However, while some of them who had the ambition of making a First Class achieved their target, some had a second class upper, some had a lower, some had pass and some were requested to leave before they smelt the end of their course. This shows the difference between the wishes they had, the hard work and sacrifices they made and the different realities which stare them at the face. At this point, the deed had been done and nothing can change that which they have earned.
The lesson here is that while are in school, we still have the powers to change our fate, we can still achieve that feat we have always desired and there is still chance for us to top our game. For while our wishes, ambitions and visions are still in play, our convocation day shall be the day when our reality shall stare us in the face.
On a final note, the convocation ceremonies were fun. Everyone enjoyed the plate(s) of rice, as we wined and dined. But then, while those who convoked seem happy to leave this institution, I am certain that not all of them were happy with the outcome of their stay in these walls. Some would have wished for a better academic grade, some would have wished for more time to develop themselves in other areas, some would have wished to start something before convocation, among others. But it is too late to do that as an undergraduate, except in the case of another degree or in the outside world. But for you (those that are still in the system), your happiness lies in your hands. It is left for you to decide what suits you better. Remember, your convocation will surely come and your reality will stare you boldly in the face.
Till next week… Stay Focused, Stay Conscious