At AUN on May 18, 2019, the chairperson of the House of Representatives Foreign Relations Committee, Hon. (Dr.) Nnenna Elendu-Ukeje, challenged graduating seniors at the 11th Commencement to claim the space left for them in the affairs of Nigeria.
The irrepressible parliamentary voice was the Commencement Speaker at this year’s graduation ceremony. She said, “History has shown that every time a generation runs short of ideas, opportunities are created for the next generation. This is one such time. This space is yours to own. The country is starving and in desperate need of fresh ideas.”
She recognized that Nigeria is a country of huge potential and urged the graduates to seize all the opportunities. They are the ones to redefine the nation’s identity, she went on.
“You must chart the alternate course that takes us far away from the ones we currently tread. You must be desperate to want to change our narrative.”
Dr. Elendu-Ukeje who represents Bende Federal Constituency of Abia State in the National Assembly spoke on Diversity, Unity, and the Future, telling the 126 graduates that the solution to Nigeria’s problem must be homegrown.
President Dekle had earlier described the graduates as ‘superheroes whose strength to deliver lay in their diversity’.
“But superheroes also have superpowers. What are your superpowers? You might wish for the superpowers of time travel, invincibility or even excellent vision.”
She went on to say that all AUN graduates had been equipped with the necessary skills to succeed in life.
“But AUN has given you the superpowers of servant leadership, critical thinking, entrepreneurship, and civic engagement. This is all you need to succeed in life. And you will be more powerful than others by continuing to develop these capacities. If you do, not only would you change the world, but you would also enable the world of change.”
Two graduating students shared their AUN experiences. Petroleum Chemistry major, Utseoritselaju Okorodudu, emerged the best graduating student with a CGPA of 3.91 on a 4.0 scale. In his valedictory speech, he described AUN as “heaven on earth.”
“AUN stands very tall in the knees of the giant. It is a university that trains you to be well rounded future leaders, both in Africa and the world at large.”
His said the desire to excel at AUN started immediately after his matriculation. “Truth be told; this was my dream from the first day at AUN. It was not for the fame, accolades, and awards associated with this achievement. It is for what I consider greater.”
He did not plan to attend AUN, but another university. His father decided it has to be AUN, saying, “AUN is the only private university in Nigeria that I can consider.” Mr. Okorodudu the father says he is happy the way things turned out.
Class Speaker Winifred Godfrey said being a student at AUN did not only make her focus on being the best in academics but also on improving herself in other areas.
“I have no regrets coming to AUN because I have met people who have changed my life in different ways.”
Degrees were conferred on the graduates as well as the Commencement Speaker who received the honorary Doctor of Humane Letters. They were then sworn into the AUN Alumni Association by the Interim President, Ifeatu Uzodinma.
There were goodwill messages from eight higher institutions as well as the National Universities Commission.
Reported by Omorogbe Omorogiuwa