Speaking through the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), Prof. Bayo Lawal, the Vice-Chancellor pointed out that the youths are the foundation and future of any country, noting however that an illiterate person cannot be a leader in the modern world.
“If you are not a reader you cannot be a leader. If you are not a reader you are not the future. The first person you must lead is yourself. When you lead yourself well, you will be able to lead others right,” the Vice-Chancellor said.
Prof. Ambali counseled the students to develop the two ‘Cs” of leadership, namely competence and character, explaining that competence would lead to better capacity and capability while character should produce confidence devoid of pride.
The Vice-Chancellor also tasked the students to have mastery of their chosen disciplines by enhancing their strength and removing their weaknesses. He also charged them to be role models and mentors to younger students, while advising them to shun cultism, theft, rape and exam malpractices if they truly want to be leaders of tomorrow.
Prof. Ambali frowned at the situation where Nigerians talk about the “good old days” whereas in the advanced countries, they talk about a better future. He noted that it is not good that we only have our past to be proud of instead of giving a good future to the youth.
The Vice-Chancellor stressed that the reward system in the country is not encouraging to the youth as reward is hardly connected with hard work. He however assured the students that the University has ensured stable academic calendar for their sake. He also assured them that the University is their partner in progress.
In his welcome address, the Dean, Student Affairs, Prof. O. A. Omotesho, thanked the management and other stakeholders for their support for the Student Union Week. He said, “We are very grateful to you, the VC, for the interest and support you have always given whenever it is students’ matter and taking time off from your schedule to attend and open this important Union Week. I also wish to thank the Managements of Diamond Bank Plc, the UMFB, Verve, GTB Asset, Coca Cola, 7UP, Merchandise and Skye Bank for the financial and moral support given to the Student Union of the University. It is also an honour for us to welcome the representatives of the Society for Peace, Medi Plan, NYSC/ PET CDS and other NGOs to the Corporate Day Programme.”
Prof. Omotesho called on the students to endeavour to succeed where others have failed and to purge themselves of the failure mentality, stressing that students of the University of Ilorin pride themselves as the future of tomorrow because of quality academic programme and stable academic calendar.
The Dean told the students, “No matter how bad things go, your concepts are success, strength, victory, love, care, concern, happiness and belief; no one will tell you who and what you can be; no one will tell you what you can or cannot be; belief will change your world, you will change your country. History will remember you, you will define yourself and write your own praises.”
In his own address, the Student Union President, Lawal Ahmed Abiodun, said that the Student Union Week was packaged to improve life, hang on peaceful co-existence, social responsibility and a healthy lifestyle among students.
Lawal stated that the Union deemed it fit to propagate love and unity among the students, adding that as proud citizens of the country, the students believed that “the event would encourage the exhibition and promotion of cultural heritage of our various ethnic groups as citizens of a nation called Nigeria.”
Among the dignitaries who attended the programme were the Relationship Officer of Diamond Bank, Mrs. Adeola Adeniyi; the Executive Director, Passion for Peace Initiative, Mr. Jimoh Olalekan George and a representative of MediPlan Healthcare, Dr. Akindele Akinbayo. (UNILORIN)