Ado-Ekiti — Former Lagos State governor and National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, yesterday described sound and qualitative education as good weapon that could deliver a country from poverty and ignorance.
Tinubu, who spoke in Ado-Ekiti during the 10 years anniversary and 7th convocation ceremonies of Afe Babalola University in Ado-Ekiti (ABUAD), alluded to education as a light for any nation to navigate its way to greatness and development.
At the occasion, 99 students bagged first class with four of them being students sponsored through Presidential Amnesty Programme out of 57 bankrolled for degree programmes at ABUAD by the federal government.
Tinubu along with the Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammadu Sa'ad Abubakar, the Obi of Onitsha, His Royal Majesty, Igwe Nnaemeka Achebe, and an entrepreneur and Chairman/Chief Executive Officer, Green Energy International Limited, Prof. Anthony Adegbulugbe, were garlanded with Honourary Doctor of Letters (LLD).
Delivering his speech at the ceremony, Tinubu said: "education is the light of a nation and ignorance its darkness. Only with that light can we hope to see where we are and to discover the path we must go to realise our greatness as a nation."
According to him, "To educate a generation is to secure the future. Thus, it is indeed my honour to be here with you for this university stands as a shining beacon, casting the light of education upon our nation and its people.
"This university thus serves as a vital piston in the machinery of national progress. Our young people deserve and require quality education that will unlock their utmost potentials. This will engender critical thinking and build their capacities for self and national development.
"Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti (ABUAD) is dedicated to providing that stellar education. Since its inception about 10 years ago, this university has distinguished itself. Its record is exemplary: the National University Commission (NUC) acknowledged this.
"If we do not board the train of progress, it will pass us by. This means, we must acquire and use the scientific and technological skills of the 21st Century to advance our common purpose. In this manner, we help break the fetters of underdevelopment and expand the boundaries of economic, intellectual and moral growth." He added: "I understand the university accords special attention to the Sciences and Technology. This is it as it should be. I urge that we consider imparting solid knowledge and proper guidance in those areas where our youths can, upon graduation, begin to reshape the world around them by using their knowledge and ingenuity to improve extant economic processes and to embark on novel and innovative enterprises that will undergird national prosperity for decades to come.
"To be considered among this illustrious group is both an honour and a privilege. I deeply treasure this moment. I will continue to do all that I can in order to live up to this acclaim. We must continue to do all that is within our capacities so that we hand over a steady helm and a vibrant and strengthened nation to these young people."
Reminding the leaders about the need for human capital development, Tinubu said: "There is no nation building if people are not built. Afe Babalola is a builder and this has reflected in the qualities of your graduates. We are very proud to be associated with you."
"We know that lack of economic facilities in many of our public institutions is affecting our nation. We promised you that there will be rehabilitation of facilities in the areas of roads, and more infrastructures will be provided in other sectors.
"We will not give you Nigerian excuses. We are practical and pragmatic economists. To many of you graduands today, the future is not bleak, it is real. We can be your symbol, so that you can be more successful than many of us. It is one thing to get the education, but you must match this with character and if you fail to emulate Afe Babalola, your Bachelor degrees are nothing. Let this institution go through you as go into the world," he stated.
The ABUAD's founder, Chief Afe Babalola, in his remarks, described ABUAD as a child of circumstance, adding that the university has arrived and that the 10-year plan with which he prosecuted the development agenda has been improved upon.
"But we need the help of government in the area of road construction. We learnt FERMA has awarded the road, but was badly executed. We also need independent power plant, because all over the world the universities sustain and subsist through endowment and donations from private bodies," he explained.
Fayemi, represented by his Deputy, Bisi Egbeyemi, congratulated Babalola for making ABUAD one of the best universities within a spate of 10 years, promising that the government would be of support to the institution.
Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Tambuwal, in his address, said he was happy about the outstanding exploits being made by ABUAD in Africa, adding that it occupied a priceless position in the world of academics, because it represented quality.
Dignitaries at the occasion were: Governors Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Gboyega Oyetola, Dapo Abiodun of Lagos, Osun and Ogun states respectively.
Others included: Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, former Osun State Governor, Chief Bisi Akande, ex-governor of Ekiti State, Segun Oni, former Defence Minister, Demola Seriki, and Senator Tokunbo Afikuyomi, among others.