By Ekene Agbor, Osogbo
No fewer than 66 students graduated with first class at the 42nd convocation ceremony of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife out of the 6,827 graduating students.
Also, 15 students graduated with distinction from the faculty of pharmacy.
Speaking at the ceremony on Wednesday, the acting Vice-Chancellor of OAU, Prof. Anthony Elujoba, said a total of 6,827 students successfully completed their various degrees.
While 4,646 students were conferred with first degree ; 518 Postgraduate Diplomas; 1,663 got Postgraduate Degrees.
The university also produced 1305 students with second class upper; 2127 second class lower; 606 third class; and 50 students had pass.
Elujonba, while delivering his address identified crises and frequent closure of the OAU as the cause of instability of the university’s calendar.
These problems, Elujoba said, have been identified to be spiritual but could be tackled with divine and strategic approaches.
While narrating his experience as the acting VC of the OAU, Elujoba wondered why many aspirants exhibit a do-or-die attitude to lead universities.
He said, “My convocation address would be incomplete if I do not share my reflections on how tertiary institutions in Nigeria can manage campus crises more conservatively and yet with decisive effectiveness.
“Although, many aspirants pursue selection with a do-or-die vigour, from my little experience in only four months, the Nigerian VC seats (especially public universities) are too hot to be so attractive unless you are divinely chosen.
“The five-year persistent heat radiation inflicted on VCs can even reduce one’s lifespan. Public institutions, particularly those concerned with youth education, need to create avenues for engaging and designing popularly accepted and non-confrontational strategies for managing conflicts in their campuses.
“Mutual dialogue and collaboration should be maintained between the university management and various student and staff stakeholders that constitute the University community in decision-making processes as a panacea for nipping crises in the bud.”
He, however, challenged the graduating students to make a difference in Nigeria by engaging in positive history making achievements.
Among the outstanding alumni of the OAU identified by the acting VC are Dr. Oluyinka Olutoye, who carried out a surgical operation on an unborn baby and returned it the mother’s womb and Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Mrs. Fatou Bensuoda.
He said, “Let me remind you that the nation is facing challenges that require an intellectual response, involving the application of righteousness and cutting-edge research and service to tackle public challenges. You are agents of change, and today, as you get empowered and commissioned to make a difference in different sectors of the nation in particular, and the world at large, yoy must carry along your integrity and honour.
“My charge to you therefore is to explore novel strategies in applying what you have learnt in the lecture theatres, studios, and laboratories in order to provide solution to these growing challenges of our time.”
During the ceremony, graduating students and their parents expressed delight over the Prof. Elujoba’s administration.
Some of the graduands were also seen dancing and jubilating around the university campus with their well-wishers.