AN ADDRESS OF THE VICE CHANCELLOR OF CRAWFORD UNIVERSITY, PROFESSOR ROTIMI AJAYI AT THE 12TH MATRICULATION CEREMONY HELD AT THE MULTI-PURPOSE HALL OF THE UNIVERSITY ON THE 20TH OF JANUARY, 2017.
The Deputy Vice Chancellor, Other Principal Officers, Dean of Postgraduate School, Deans of College, and the Dean of Students, Directors of Centre and Unit, Heads of Department and Unit, Esteemed Staff of Crawford University,
Great Matriculants of today,
Distinguished Parents and Guardians of our Matriculants,
Gentlemen of the Media,
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen.
I am greatly delighted to welcome you all to this solemn occasion of the 2017 Matriculation Ceremony by which our matriculants gathered here today will become bona-fide students of Crawford University. This particular matriculation is very special in the annals of Crawford University because, it is the first time that a Matriculation Ceremony will be conducted for three classes of our new students at once. The three classes of students matriculating today are: the regular students admitted in our two Colleges, the part-time students admitted in our School of Part-Time Studies, (SPTS) and the postgraduate students admitted into our Postgraduate School. This event therefore, symbolically highlights the bold new way our University is taking and the bright new future ahead of the University.
Before I proceed further, let me wholeheartedly congratulate our dear matriculants of today for successfully scaling all the hurdles of the different qualifying examinations to earn your admission to this very unique University. I also rejoice and felicitate with all parents and guardians who are here celebrating today's success with their children and wards.
Please permit me to refer to the Bible in Psalm 37:23 which says, “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and He delighteth in his way.” As a Bible believer, I will want you to understand from this verse that your admission into this University out of the 152 available Universities in Nigeria today, is not a happenstance or coincidence. It had been pre-programmed by God, Who is keenly interested in you and your future. God is the Bringer-on of all the situations and circumstances that surrounded your coming here and your sitting where you are seated in this hall today. I strongly believe He has deliberately led you to this University, the hallmark of God’s Presence as reflected in the University Anthem for the specific purpose of equipping you intellectually and spiritually for a successful and purposeful life he desires for you. I am telling you this beforehand so that, you would remember when you begin to see the manifestations as you progress on in your studies here.
My dear matriculants, your matriculation today signifies the formal registration of your names as students of this University. It marks the formal commencement of your adventure in knowledge acquisition in the University. Its formality helps you to consider the responsibility which rests on your shoulders to fully exploit the opportunity that the University, through your parents, is affording you to separate yourself from all the “Town” involvement and take up the “Gown,” as you are literally doing now and to apply yourselves to rigorous studies so that you can be relevant in today's Knowledge-Driven global economy and be useful in solving some of the myriads of problems facing our society.
I will like to make it abundantly clear to you that, here in Crawford University, we are committed to giving the best of academic training and discipline to support your quest for knowledge. I can assure you that our faculties are available, open and approachable to teach, lecture, advise and encourage you in all manners possible to be the best you want to be. The only impediment you will have here will be you, your personality and yourself! You will of your own decide the height of knowledge you want to reach, the depth of cognizance you want to explore and the latitude of understanding you want to grasp. You are like an eagle uncaged and with the sky above it: you could choose to fly the large expanse of the sky, or you may choose to remain land-bound. Much as we would love you to fly, we may not be able to force you so to do. The onus is on you to decide from this moment onward that “I want to be the very best I could be!”
We have provided modest facilities and resources which are being continuously expanded to serve you and make your stay pleasant and pleasurable. Our main library is well stocked with modern books and journals and it is complimented with a robust e-library. All our courses are fully accredited and we have in place various mechanisms that continuously deepen our academic integrity and make our learning teaching and learning interesting. Our ICT Resource Centre is offering professional ICT training and certification programmes to effectively equip you for the information technology driven world while our Centre for Entrepreneurship and Innovation is promoting creativity and innovation and offering specialized entrepreneurial training to students in different vocations. The Certificate you will receive in the two Centres after completing your training will be additional to your degree certificates at your graduation and will prepare you to be intrepid job-creators rather than job-seekers.
Today’s Ceremony is historic and again marks another milestone in the annals of the University as the pioneer students of the School of Part-Time Studies are here matriculating. The establishment of the School of Part-Time Studies at this time by the University I believe synchronizes with a critical period in the life of the nation which has never had it so bad with the economy plunging into recession. Indeed, Part-Time Studies is training and re-training strategy a for strong, virile, sustainable and balanced economy. It is the hub of lifelong learning which in the present age has become a prerequisite for remaining competitive in the labour market.
The relevance of Part-Time Studies cannot be over-emphasized. It helps to develop workers’ skills and prepare them to set new jobs. It also helps people to get employed, minimize or avert joblessness. Training and re-training help people retain jobs and also assist those who have left job to be employable. It is an avenue to develop the skills of workers, enhance their employability and increased productivity of enterprises.
Globally, training and re-training as offered by Part-Time Studies have become essential component of unemployment policies to address cyclical pressures on the labour market; this way, help to address skills gaps. Skills, it must be emphasized, are great assets for individuals businesses, people and societies. Paradoxically, while the importance of skills is more pronounced in dynamic, developed economies, the same cannot be said of developing nations. In the 21st century, skills as critical asset should be given prominence.
Ladies and Gentlemen, let me at this point salute your courage for taking such a bold decision at this time of serious national economic depression. I also congratulate you for choosing Crawford University to acquire this training. We assure that you are in the right academic environment to acquire your university education and you are going to be treated with dignity and respect you deserve as students of this prestigious University.
To the postgraduate students, I specially congratulate you on your admission but I will like to remind you that Postgraduate study is not a tea party. It is the hallmark of academic pursuit in a university system worldwide. It requires much efforts, hard-work and dedication from you because the goal is to turn you into high-calibre manpower critically needed to turnaround local, national and global industries; to identify and solve societal problems, create jobs and eradicate poverty; and, of course, to equip you with international best practices and skills that will make you become what you want to become.
Postgraduate study is research-oriented and every research is problem-driven. Your capacity to identify critical problems of our society and to provide cutting-edge solutions through your research output is the key required to open the wallets of men to you. Your training in Crawford University is designed to turn you into a solution provider to societal problems. There is no other better way of becoming happy, comfortable and wealthy in life than being a solution to people's problems. Your skills and talents will be demanded and sought after by society and you will have a rewarding life experience. The Nigerian society is plagued by a myriad of problems and challenges requiring optimal solutions. Therefore, I urge you to use your PG research work to solve a clearly identified problem of the Nigerian society.
Your research work should lead to original contribution to knowledge and not involve objectionable duplication. Originality is the basic credit point of any research. Therefore, your actual investigation must be directed towards obtaining novel results. As a researcher you should develop new ideas and obtain deep insight into the problem being investigated in order to get novel and new results which is the hallmark of a good research work. As pointed out by the physics Nobel laureate Ernst Lawrence in scientific work, creative thinking demands seeing things not seen previously, or in ways not previously imagined; and this necessitates jumping off from normal positions, and taking risks by departing from reality.
In doing this, please take advantage of the facilities available in this University: a serene, peaceful and quiet environment, a well equipped library including e-library resources, as mentioned earlier, ICT laboratory and above all, a highly efficient, experienced and dedicated faculty.
As I come to the conclusion of this address, I am reminded of a humourous remark: “The bad news is that, Time flies. The good news is that, you are the pilot.” It concludes by suggesting that you lock on your flight plan and zoom to your desired destination. I can assure as faithful custodians of time-resources, we will ensure that your period of studies is not elongated beyond the minimum period of graduation if you fulfill the conditions required. God willing there shall be no strike, industrial crisis or down-time to warrant any delay in your graduation. We will wisely use our time to equip you to face the great future awaiting you.
As emblazoned on our logo and Motto: Knowledge with Godliness, we put a lot of premium on Spiritual Development. We are a faith-based institution and we have the proud tradition of acknowledging God in all our ways. We are offering all students passing through our portals the opportunity of knowing God for themselves. For you our full-time, resident undergraduate students, you are really privileged to be able to attend services and turn the pages of the Scriptures in fellowship along with your friends and the people of God; to be able to kneel down in prayers and speak with your Maker in heartfelt prayers; to be able to strike a divine friendship and bond with your Maker, speaking to Him as “friend with Friend.” The Student Chaplaincy is set up to facilitate this aspect of your development—spiritual development.
For the past eleven years that the University had existed, it had been the special privilege of authorities of the University to lead many to a sure knowledge of God, many of whom had had theretofore no such exposure. And we have the testimony of many of our alumni that that exposure had made all the difference in their lives as responsible adults and members of the Nigerian larger public. For many of us, we have had the opportunity of experiencing God and our lives have not remained the same. We can freely tell you that it has made all the difference in our lives. In the course of your studies here, you would have the opportunity of this life-changing experience.
For the other classes of students, that is, the part-time and postgraduate students, you may not be able to fully enjoy these facilities, but the Chapel doors are wide open to have you join us in services: Bible Studies and Exposition on Wednesdays as well as Sunday Services. You would discover as others have before you that life is much more fulfilling with Christ in the mix.
Finally, my dear students, as you stand here to solemnly aver to the Oath of Allegiance to Crawford University, I am urging you to more earnestness, more steadfastness and greater resolve to do your very best in your duty, first to yourselves, to your parents or family, to your community, to our dear nation Nigeria and lastly to our Maker, the Ultimate source of all goodness. Apply yourselves to your studies and show yourselves approved and fully-fitted so that in a few years’ time you would yet again stand before this kind of assembly to turn your tassel from right side to the left.
Once again, I most heartily welcome you to this great citadel of learning and pray that all of you will end well to the glory of God, your family and Nigeria.
I thank you for your kind attention. May God bless Crawford University and also bless you.
Professor Isaac Rotimi Ajayi