1. It is with great pleasure that I address you today on this auspicious occasion of the 42nd convocation ceremony of this foremost institution of learning – the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN).

2. I commend the management and staff of this University for preparing these young men and women for the honour that has been bestowed on them today. I also commend you for sustaining the reputable traditions of this institution as a safe environment for learning, academic excellence, and for fostering the hopes and dreams of our youths.

3. A Convocation ceremony is a defining moment in the life of a student. Every student, who begins an academic journey, looks forward to this day of achievement and recognition of years of diligence, devotion to studies and respect for the rules and regulations of the University. With every convocation ceremony, our nation’s bright future is better assured as more skilled and educated men and women are empowered to contribute to the task of nation building.

4. With this in mind, I warmly congratulate the graduating students, who have today earned degrees of this prestigious institution. Like worthy farmers, who laboured arduously and so long, today is your day of harvest, and your day of pride.

5. However, I want you all to bear in mind that graduation is not just an end; it signals a new beginning, a new chapter of hope and opportunity for each of you. I am certain that this institution has trained and equipped you to make the best of the opportunities that will come your way.

6. On our part as a Government, we have continued to work hard to make the world you are coming into, one of opportunities. Through sound economic management, infrastructural development, power sector reform and economic diversification, we are making progress towards meeting our employment generation and development objectives through such initiatives as YouWin, SURE-P, etc

7. As proud graduates of UNN, you have an obligation to maintain a vigorous relationship with your Alma mater. All over the world, alumni groups are strengthening their long-standing relationships with their Alma mater and contributing to their growth and development. Yale and Harvard alumni contribute over 27% of the budgets of their alma mater.

8. I would also like to congratulate the distinguished men and women awarded the honorary doctorate degrees of this great University, today. It is a thing of pride that one of Nigeria’s oldest and largest Universities has found you deserving of its most prestigious award. I believe that this honour will not only strengthen your relationship with this University, but will also enhance your contributions to national development.

9. Let me also congratulate the Governing Council and management of the University for its notable achievements within the context of enhanced government support to the educational sector since the beginning of this administration. The ongoing infrastructural developments in the University are quite commendable. They could not have been achieved without prudent management of resources.

10. With the success UNN has achieved, I need not overemphasize the need for other institutions of higher learning to emulate this good model, for accelerating the planning and development of their institutions. As one of Nigeria’s oldest Universities, UNN should continue to lead the way towards better standards of teaching, administration and research.

11. Although our Universities, including UNN, continue to climb the ladder in comparative worldwide Universities ranking, they must not rest on their recent achievements. There is plenty of room for improvement, especially in the fields of research and technology. This administration will continue to support you to attain greater heights.

12. I wish to remind you again, that we are living in an era of globalization, a knowledge- economy, where the search for economic and technological advantage has made competition between countries even more intense. As a developing country, our drive for social progress and economic advancement will depend largely on the progress we make in research and technology. There is no place more suited to begin this process than our Universities and institutions of higher learning.

13. In acknowledgement of the importance of education to our economic growth, scientific progress and social development, our Administration will continue to promote access to quality education at all levels. This is an important component of our Transformation Agenda.

14. I am convinced that the optimal way to derive the benefits inherent in our large population is to get our people educated, skilled and employable. It is for this reason that education has received the highest financial allocation in our national budget for 2013.

15. Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, it is the good quality and high standard of education we are able to give to our children that will assure us of a better Nigeria in the future. We encourage private organizations to join hands with the Federal Government in forging partnerships with the Universities, especially in funding for research and scholarships. We are prepared to work with all relevant stakeholders to improve the education sector of our national economy.

16. Let me once again congratulate our graduating students, their parents, and friends for their remarkable achievements. I firmly believe that our country is full of opportunities and prospects for hardworking and persevering young men and women. Therefore, the sky is the only limit to your dreams and hopes. I wish you all the very best in your future endeavours.

17. Thank you and God bless our country.

Source: www.unn.edu.ng

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