Thrill, glamour as Owode Grams hosted commissioner, Onireti, Oyeleye, tutor-general to graduation ceremony
Thrill, glamour as Owode Grams hosted commissioner, Onireti, Oyeleye, tutor-general to graduation ceremony
The 5th valedictory service of Owode Community Grammar School, Ogbomoso, which came up Tuesday, August 13, 2022, was a bumper harvest of thrill and glamour. It was an event that will linger long in the memory of the graduands most especially.
The school, founded in 2003, and which had its first set graduating in 2009, was a beehive of activities that Tuesday, with several invited guests not only making appearances but participating fully and giving valuable pep talks to the graduating students, who were decked in sparkling white attire, with their teachers too honouring them with uniform apparel.
The guests included Hon Femi Onireti, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) House of Representatives’ candidate for Ogbomoso North/Ogbomoso South/Oriire federal constituency, who was represented by whooping 11 associates led by Mr. Edris Olawoyin, and also including Hon Stephen Omotoso; Mr. Kunle Oyeleye, general manager of Crown FC and who was a special guest of honour, accompanied by some other top management officials of the club including Mr. Mansur Suleiman (team manager), Mr. Tayo Oyebowale (welfare officer), Mr. Oyetunji Oyedeji (media officer) and Alhaji Rasak Agara (marketing officer); Alhaja Memunat Sarumi (a special guest of honour); Oyo state commissioner for education, science and technology, Alhaji Abdulrahman Abdulraheem, represented by local inspector of education (LIE) Ogbomoso North local government, Mrs. Adenike Alawode, assisted by Mrs. Emiola Aremu, deputy LIE; and Mr. Olatunde Suulola, tutor-general, Oyo State Teaching Service Commission (TESCOM) Ogbomoso zonal office, represented by three of his supervisors, Dr. Mrs. Oladipo, Mr. Sunday Oguntola and Mr. G.A. Alabi.
Also in attendance were Dn. I.O. Opayinka and Alhaji Bukola Badmus, chairman and member of the governing board of the school respectively; and Alhaji Abdulwasiu Abdulsalami, Arowasi Agba of Ogbomoso. Interestingly, the chairperson of the occasion, Pastor Mrs. Deborah Oyedele, got the date wrong as her representative reportedly came the next day.
Comrade Sunday Adepoju, a journalist and publisher of Pan Nigerian News, an online news site, in his lecture, titled, “Higher education first, then…” told the graduands that the prevailing social-economic problem assailing Nigeria makes it mandatory that they secure higher education certificate as well as acquiring special skills to have competitive edge.
“Distinguished graduands, to stand the chance of living a balanced and comfortable life, you all need to pursue a post-secondary school education. Be that as it may, this must be combined with skills acquisition and development in the areas of trades and vocations. You will agree with me that survival in this country, Nigeria, requires skills development as this will provide a better chance for securing good jobs because organisations will want you to add values in your responsibilities.”
While urging the graduating students to pursue higher education so as to bag relevant certificates, he warned them against falling in the trap of no-white-collar job mantra as the basis for jettisoning higher education noted, “All of our celebrated heroes and leaders are relevant because they didn’t stop at secondary school level. Look at our dignitaries here today, that is what education has done to them,” and added, “Strive and acquire higher education first and make yourself resourceful and become a dream of industries, multinationals, government ministries, departments, agencies, commissions and lots more.”
Adepoju who was a former staffer at The Nigerian Tribune, maintained that education would continue to remain relevant irrespective of what happens elsewhere, “You need to change the mindset about referring to foreign countries that don’t need degree qualifications to offer employments. They should understand that this is Nigeria where certificates matter. We can’t change this overnight; so we need to do whatever we can to sustain ourselves in the country. The only thing I can say that is gradually changing is that skills are becoming important too. So, very soon, certificates alone may not guarantee someone a job in Nigeria.
“Besides, I don’t really know which of the developed countries encourage lack of tertiary education because most of them that I know seek highly educated immigrants that will join their labour force. Some German universities even went as far as offering free tuition to international students just because they need more graduates to work in their system. So, I believe it is not true that developed countries of the world do not value tertiary education any more. But I believe they want skills in addition to certificates. And that is the message that I have brought to you today and I want you to hold dearly to it till you actualise the goals which you might have set from ab initio.”
He enumerated some of the benefits of acquiring higher education which included improved career opportunities and greater advantage in job hunt, learning from people’s experiences, deeper knowledge of your field, acquisition of academic certificates which would make available something to fall back on peradventure someone finds himself in self-employment, peace and stable political system, better status in the society, becoming an authority and having good self-esteem.
Some others are broadening of individual’s knowledge and experience, opportunities to earn high salaries above non-graduates, having an edge in politics as well as acquisition of relevant skills.
Currently an employee at the General Studies Department, Federal Polytechnic, Ayede, Ogbomoso, Adepoju, charged students to also imbibe character and moral uprightness, good moral values, tenets of honesty, truthfulness, obedience, hard work, diligence, politeness, respect for people and their opinions, as well as other virtues of the society just as he encouraged them to dream big.
Chairman of the occasion Onireti in his remark charged students against persisting in social vices especially gambling if they would assume their roles as future leaders while expressing worry over what he described as the degeneration of values among the youths nowadays which he noted is worsened by the advent of digital gadgets.
He stated, “The graduating students should see themselves as leaders of tomorrow. But this will not happen unless you work for it. My advice to you therefore is to avoid what l call gambling. The rate at which our youths take to gambling is frightening. Hardly will you go to any school without you seeing students gambling.
“The leaders you see today were not trained that way. You have to be responsible, you have to excel in your academics and eschew social vices. Ask them who is the president of the country and many won’t know. But ask them, who is Portable? They will jump in chorusing his song.”
He further asked, rhetorically, “How did we get here? We are in the digital age. Hardly will you see any youth here without digital gadgets but check the gadgets, you will be surprised at what they are watching on their gadgets, all kinds of nonsensical things.”
He consequently urged teachers and other stakeholders to address the problem urgently, stressing that students should be aligned to using these gadgets positively.
Likewise, Oyeleye, Crown general manager, harped on good character averring, “Nobody can amount to any reasonable thing without good character. In fact, character is quite different from education though education polishes someone if it is pursued to a great and logical end, above all, character will earn you what your influence, affluence and confidence can’t earn you.
“What your religion and denomination can’t earn you character will do. You must always be seen as someone of high character and training. So, I’m charging you as you go on to pursue your career in further education and vocation, take along a very good character and be honest in whatever capacity you find yourself.”
The Ajilete Warriors boss also encouraged them to seek “goldmine in sports,” especially those who have the talents.
Speaking on behalf of the commissioner for education, Mrs. Alawode similarly enjoined the graduands to be focused, pursue their ambition and give indulgence in social vices a wide berth.
The students were also urged to be modest in all they do, emphasizing, “Don’t be involved in what is beyond you. Be patient, everything worthwhile is achievable. Boys, don’t indulge yourselves in womanizing, first acquire adequate education that will usher you into a robust future.”
In his own, the tutor- general, through Oguntola reminded the graduands that graduation didn’t imply cessation of challenges asserting rather that stiffer and tougher challenges lie ahead, and advised them to get prepared and be focused.
He challenged them not to be deterred by the socio-economic maladies prevailing in the country affirming they stay focused, determined and avoid distraction if they want to go far in life.
Suulola further charged them to make the best of the technology and information flow of the present age to better their lot. “So, don’t be focused on trivialities, on things that will not better your lots with your phone. Try to maximize that advantages that you have, to get information on how to better your lot. Also, acquire relevant and useful skills and learn a trade.”
He advised parents also to remain “destiny helpers of their wards through good pieces of advice. Don’t let us encourage them to do what is not worthwhile.”
He finally reminded the graduands to always remember their alma mater and invest in it likewise in the future.
The principal, Mrs. Ayo Olufunmilayo Bello while commending Oyo state governor Engr Seyi Makinde for “his achievements in education” eulogized the graduating students, “This set of students truly reflects everything we stand for here. These hard working, articulate people are a credit to the school and an inspiration to the junior students. It is through such achievements that we can clearly see the skill, the commitment and high expectations of the staff and students which is our most desired hope.”
She appealed to the celebrants to avoid turning into okada operators in the event that their admission into higher institutions is delayed rather “learn a trade with vision to further your education and excel in life, be good ambassadors of the school, keep the flag flying. Do not rest on your oars and let your motto always be ‘still achieving, still pursuing.’… Be determined, work hard, develop your skills, read your books as fast as you can and clear off, Owode Community Grammar School is not your home.”
Boluwatife Joshua Olonade, outgone senior prefect boy, in the valedictorian speech told his colleagues “to be attentive to the words of wisdom that will spurt forth from the experienced elders today and most importantly imbibe the lessons intended so that we can attain our goals and attain greatness in life.
“In that will our efforts all these years, and those of our teachers, parents, guardians, well wishers and governments not be in vain.
“We are just entering life, we must work assiduously, we should keep moving, we must not relent, we must keep striving, keep pushing and not neglecting prayer until we reach our goals. I pray God’s plan for our lives shall come to pass. This is the beginning for us, may God go with us.”
Other highlights of the glamorous programme were renditions by choirs, breathtaking performance by the cultural troupe, presentation of prizes and testimonials, recognition of outgone prefects, special prayer for the graduands, presentation of gifts to the school by the graduands and announcements of cash donations with Onireti making the highest while general manager of Crown FC awarded cash prize to the best graduating student in English Language and Literature-in-English, who happened to be Halimah Tiamiyu, the head girl.
There was no dull moment, the compeer excitedly anchored the event, no wonder the guests waited patiently to go the whole log. Not unexpectedly, guests and students were sumptuously entertained. It was a beautiful day to remember.