On finding out that I have been selected to give the valedictory speech, I had but one worry and that’s whether I would be tall enough to reach the microphone. Betty Reese said “If you think you are too small to be effective, you have never been in bed with a mosquito”. In this I have found consolation. Therefore, I am honored and excited to be here, not only to represent this awesome graduating class of the Federal University of Technology, Akure 2014/2015 academic session, but to stand in the exact spot where great scholars have stood.
The author of Harry Porter, J.K Rowling in her commencement address to Harvard graduates of 2008 said “some failure in life is inevitable. It is impossible to live without failing at something”. That was my consolation on failing my first Post UTME. In the word of Theodore Roosevelt, “the boy who is going to make a great man, or is going to count in any way after-life, must make up in his mind not merely to overcome a thousand obstacles, but to win in spite of thousand repulses and defeats”. Five years ago, on gaining admission into this institution, I was excited and anxious at the same time – excited about the prospect of studying Physics in the Nation’s leading University of Technology and anxious about what the five years would hold. But here I am, with gratitude to the almighty God for making me a recipient of His grace.
While not forgetting the place of diligence and discipline in this achievement, I would not overlook the place of my family; family where life begins and love never end. It was there I learnt to strive for excellence no matter what. At home, biblical and ethical principles for attaining good success in all facets of life were instilled. I am deeply grateful to my parents, Pastor and Mrs. Moses Eki Obakpolor, my twin sister, Blessing, my younger sister Joy and my other siblings for their support this far.
It has been a long five years, but here we are, ready to graduate. We worked hard to get to this point, but we didn’t do it by ourselves. We owe a huge debt of gratitude.
To our parents, guardians, family and friends, thank you for supporting us in more ways than it’s possible to count and for your sacrifices.
To our Chancellor, Pro Chancellor, Vice-chancellor and all the Principal officers of this University, thank you for keeping things running smoothly and making this institution the pride of all.
To our Lecturers, thank you for your unrelenting efforts in imparting knowledge. Your sacrifices were beyond the call of duty.
To our Proprietor/Proprietress, Principals and Teachers in secondary schools, thank you for laying a solid foundation upon which we built on here.
Behind each graduate, there must have been at least a dozen people providing support in at least a dozen ways. Thank you for coming to share in our joy. We will pay the debt of gratitude forever.
Class of 2015, be proud of yourselves. Be proud of every test and exams you aced. Be proud of the times you had to carry the MEE board even though it later became more of a burden. Be proud of the times you had to spend your weekends in the school farm because in that you have learnt the indispensability of agriculture to man’s sustenance. Be proud of the times you had to be awake all night in preparation for a test. Also be proud of the times you wrote tests unprepared for. Class of 2015; be proud of the times you had to put off your own work to help a friend. Be proud of the times you couldn’t answer certain questions because in that you have learnt that no one knows it all. Be proud of when you forgave yourself for a bad grade and gave yourself a break. Be proud of yourself when you do get the job or win the contract because in more ways than you can imagine, you are contributing to national accomplishments.
Be proud of all your accomplishments, because in life, it is not about outdoing others but about being your best. But most importantly, be proud that today, you mark an important milestone in your journey towards fulfillment. Today, we are graduates; tomorrow, we are alumni.
We are here today on the precipice of the future. It’s not a distant reality anymore. It begins here. It begins today. Today my friends we still have mountains to climb and obstacles to overcome, we cannot stop striving yet. As we climb up today, life will get more challenging but when life’s challenges overwhelm us, we must remember our ABC- the ABCs of life.
We should take the A and Accept the challenge; the B and Believe in ourselves; the C and Confess our hopes and dreams; the D, the Determination to achieve our dreams; E, Expect some obstacles on our way; F, we should Fight until we finish our course; G, we should Get God on our side; H, Have a hand in helping the leadership; I, Inspire someone else; and J, take Jesus on our journey; we should K, Keep on keeping on; and L, be Leaders; M, Make every day count and N, Never give up; we must O, Overcome our obstacles; and P, Put on our best performance; we must Q, Quit quitting; and R, Run the race with patience; S, Strive on; while T, Trusting in the Lord, we should U, Use our talent; and V, Value our time; W, Wait for understanding; then X, X-ray, our own lifestyles; Y, Yearn to achieve all that we seek; and Z, be Zealous when reaching the top! Let’s go out there and serve as hope to others.
Let’s create a platform for other to succeed because in this, we would not only make our family and friends proud, but our names would be engraved in the hearts of generations unborn. Let’s allow the spark in our hearts to give birth to flames of excellence. We owe it to our family, our University, our country, our God, and most importantly, ourselves to pursue our wildest dreams.
As we leave today, let us remember these old words of Seneca “As is a tale, so is life: not how long it is, but how good it is, is what matters”. Let’s go out there and live good life. Congratulations once more, Class of 2015.
God Bless Nigeria! God bless Ondo State! God bless the Federal University of Technology, Akure.
Thank you all, it has truly been a pleasure.
Valedictory Address delivered by Osakpolor Eki Obakpolor.