UNILAG preaches problem-solving as Guardian on Sunday editor, octogenarian, 2,249 others graduate
It was pomp and pageantry, yesterday, as the University of Lagos (UNILAG) graduated 2,251 persons, including Editor of the Guardian on Sunday, Alhaji Kabir Alabi Garba, who bagged a doctorate in Mass Communication.
The list includes 67 post-graduate diplomas, 2,119 Master’s and 65 doctorates, while two eminent scholars were honoured with the institution’s gold medal award.
In her address, the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Folasade Ogunsola, said in the last 60 years, the institution had nurtured over 200,000 graduates to positively impact the society.
Despite challenges of inadequate funding, decaying infrastructure, inadequate Information and Communication Technology (ICT) infrastructure, high cost of public utilities and constant disruptions to academic calendar, Ogunsola assured all and sundry that her administration would build on successes recorded over the years through innovative and visionary leadership.
She said: “We must remain resolute and committed to working together as stakeholders and friends of the university, not only to overcome present challenges, but to create an institution that can prepare us for the rapidly changing future.
“The university is expected to produce thinkers and change mindsets, thus the core products of a university are new knowledge, innovation and fit-for-purpose human capital, all of which can be achieved through our core mandate of teaching, research and service. As a country, we need to remember the centrality of the university for national development.
An elated Garba, while reflecting on his five-year journey, said determination and faith in God were his motivating factors.
“When you are determined to achieve something, with prayers and determination, you would be able to cope.
There is nothing in life that does not have challenges, but with determination, one will surely achieve his goal.
I will say just two factors – determination and faith – in the fact that whatever you desire and pray for, you will get it.
Despite the challenges of COVID-19 pandemic and eight months strike by university staff union, which affected the four-year timeline, Garba said it’s better late than never.
Eighty-three-year-old Dayo Duyile, who was also among the graduating PhD students, while sharing his experience said: “I feel on top of the world because I’ve been looking for this opportunity for over 35 years, but didn’t have it because all admissions for my PhD were thwarted by other engagements.”
He advised young students and upcoming professionals to be committed, noting that going into journalism demands total commitment.
His words: “When I started journalism in the 60s, my editor told me that in this profession, I may not be rich, but will be famous. People will love you if you are very upright, write well, share societal problems and proffer solutions. But if you are looking forward to being a millionaire, it is not the place for you.
“He (editor) also warned me not to be too familiar with alcohol because an alcoholic person cannot be a good journalist.”
Duyile advised upcoming journalists to be serious and committed to their profession because the sky is the limit for any good writer both within and outside the country.
Best graduating student in Sciences, Yinusa Ahmed Amoo, who obtained his doctorate in Mechanical Engineering, while addressing the gathering, appealed to the Federal Government to release withheld salaries of university teachers to ease their pains and make life more bearable for them.