By Vincent Obi
Mr. Ebiwari Shadrach, a student under the Presidential Amnesty Scholarship Programme, on Saturday emerged the best graduating student of the Western Delta University (WDU), Oghara, Delta state, at its convocation ceremony.
Reports indicate that the environment turned into a field of dreams as Shadrach also bagged a First Class degree in Computer Science.
According to reports, many people in the WDU main Auditorium shed tears of joy when Shadrach, in his speech, thanked the late President Umaru Yar’Adua and his successors, including President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, for continuing with the Amnesty programme.
Thanking God for the Amnesty scholarship, Shadrach said his sojourn in the University has opened many doors which could enable him achieve his academic and career goals.
Shadrach, a member of the 2022/2023 graduating class, challenged his fellow graduates to “work on their weaknesses and proffer solutions to societal problems as they embark on a new journey”.
Eighteen graduating students from the 2020/2021, 2021/2022, 2022/2023 sessions also bagged First Class degrees of the 426 graduating students.
At the ceremony, two persons received honorary Doctorate degrees. They are Mr. Oritsedere Otubu, Chairman, Eko Disco (Business Administration), and Mr. Igho Okotete, Chairman of Pioneer Global Resource and Integrated Energy Ltd, (International Affairs and Diplomacy).
Elated by the honour bestowed on them, the two honourary awardees made consequential bequests to WDU, pledging to construct an auditorium and a science laboratory respectively.
Also, the Emir of Zazzau, Mallam Ahmed Nuhu Bamballi, Dr Ajoritsedere Awosika, and the South Korean Ambassador to Nigeria, Kim Young Chae, were conferred with Honorary Degrees of Doctor of Public Affairs, Science, International Affairs and Diplomacy and Business Administration, respectively.
In her convocation lecture, Prof. Antonia Okoosi-Simbine, Director-General, Nigerian Institute of Social and Economic Research (NISER), calledo n the graduands to make good choices that will shape their lives.
In the lecture, titled “A People – Centred Governance Process in Nigeria: The Role of the Youth”, Okoosi-Simbine said “the challenges facing Nigerian youths are multifaceted but interrelated. They include limited access to quality education, unemployment, underemployment, poverty, corruption, insecurity, a poor health system, culture, cultism, and drug abuse”.
She noted that the average youth had sought refuge in drugs to “weather the challenge”, saying that while the Nigerian population is predominantly young, the young people have not been adequately catered for over the years.
She therefore urged governments at all levels to engage youths in socio-political activities to foster a people-centered, inclusive, accountable, and responsive system.
Ibori urged the graduates to improve themselves in the face of adversity and called on the University management to stick to its academic and educational plan to be a model for other institutions.
In his address, the Chancellor of Western Delta University, Obong Victor Attah, lauded Ibori for his vision and hard work in nurturing the institution.
Attah commended the graduates for their hard work in completing their various courses of study, but warned that the future of Nigeria depends on them and that ”Nigeria needs people who can learn, adapt to change, and persuade others to do the same.”
accomplishments of the University would not have been achieved without Chief Ibori, saying “we remain grateful for your unwavering support over the years and we pledge to never let you down”.
He revealed that the university has significantly expanded its academic colleges from three to six.
He charged the graduates to remember the mission of their alma mater – to produce men and women with capability and a deep sense of responsibility for contribution to development, saying “you have to prove your mettle in the real world where you have to demonstrate the virtues, knowledge, and competence acquired in Western Delta University.
Also, the Governor of Edo State, Godwin Obaseki, who was represented by his Deputy, Phillip Shaibu, congratulated Ibori and the management of the institution for their immense contribution to the educational sector of Nigeria.