Success they say is sweet, yet the root to it oftentimes is dark and thorny. However, focus, determination and divine providence have over time proven to be the key to unlocking the hidden treasures man desires and cherishes. The story of the 2018 best graduating student of Babcock University is one that depicts that failure is not total, neither obstacles a dead end to one’s dream, rather a route to a better and brighter future. Peace Obi reports
Babcock University in its 16th undergraduate and seventh postgraduate convocation ceremony recently released a total of 2,269 future creators of a new world. Among them are 91 graduands that stood out as they were awarded first class in recognition of their academic excellence in their respective courses.
Yet, in the pool of the university’s ‘bests’ for 2018, stood a distinguished fellow, who in addition to his excellent performance, satisfied the university’s other criteria to emerge the best graduating student for the 2018 set.
Quoting a popular philosopher, the best graduating student, Mr. Michael Adedotun said success is not final nor failure total, but the courage to continue. Sharing his experience with some journalists after receiving his award and the accompanying prizes – President’s and the Senior Vice-President’s prizes, Adedotun who was visibly overwhelmed with joy, attributed his success to God’s grace, his family and fiancée’s support.
The student of Christian Religious Studies, who along his academic workload, pastors a church in town, said the journey to victory was not an easy one and that it became so tough that at a point paying school fees seemed impossible.
However, he said through divine providence, the phase eventually passed without truncating his dream. “It wasn’t an easy road. There were ups and downs. There was a particular time when it looked like I was going to drop out of school because paying school fees seemed impossible. But one way or the other, God came through for me.
“Another is that while on campus, I also got involved in extracurricular activities and religious activities. I had to carry the responsibility of being the president of my departmental club and I was also pastoring a church, a Seventh Day Adventist Church in town. So, combining all these things was not easy but at the end of that semester when I saw my result, my GPA 5.0. I was convinced that of a truth if one actually works for God, He finds a way to compensate.
On his future plans, the 28-year-old indigene of Ogun State said he would like to further his education and go as far as he could, but he would want to settle down with his fiancée as soon as possible. More importantly, he said he wants to go back to the service of God, which is the source of his success.
Asked how he managed to remain focused on his goal of becoming the best graduating student of his set, Adedotun said he had his priority set, as well as his activities organised. He said his fiancée graduated two years ago from the same university, though they were in a relationship while she was in school, but it never was a source of distraction to him, rather it was a source of encouragement.
“While on campus, I was in a relationship and she is an alumnus of the university. She graduated two years ago. The relationship never posed any form of distraction rather it was a huge boost and encouragement for me. She was very understanding and knows when to give me space.”
While calling on people that may be facing one challenge or the other in their endeavours to remain focused, he said: “Your present situation should not define you. It may look scary and it may look like an end of the road, don’t let that stop you; look beyond that moment because that is how the devil works. It will make you see the enormity of the present situation, but there is a plan; you are in the plan of God.”
In his remarks, the President/Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Adeola Tayo, said the faith-based institution is committed to building a future for the youths through a holistic education.
He said quality manpower resource remains the bedrock of sustainable development and that the institution through its nine schools and one college of postgraduate studies has continued to build leaders with the wherewithal to transform lives and positively impact the society through its quality teaching and research.
Highlighting the university’s achievements in the year under review, the VC said all the 19 academic programmes that were examined for quality in content, material and availability of human resource received approval by the National Universities Commission (NUC) approval and commendation.
He said the institution also received programme and institutional accreditation from the International Board for Education for another five years, adding that the collaboration between Babcock University Teaching Hospital Cardio-vascular Centre and Tri-State Associates has led to over 100 successful open heart surgeries performed on its campus.
On the institution’s academic recognitions and awards, Tayo said “for the third time back to back, Babcock University Law graduates put up a brilliant performance at the Nigerian Bar Examination of the Nigerian Law School.
“Uju Ude and Abimifoluwa Ajala were among the 29 students nationwide that made first class at the Law School in 2017. This has placed the university at the top of about 50 tertiary institutions offering law in Nigeria. Babcock University had emerged first, back to back for 2015 and 2016. The performance gives credence to the quality of training we offer.”
As part of its commitment to support the federal government’s efforts in promoting agriculture and food security, the VC said: “Babcock University is offering 30 per cent tuition discount to all new intakes into the various departments of agriculture programmes with effect from 2018. This is expected to attract more young people into studying and practicing agriculture.”
To the graduands, Tayo said the institution has fortified them with the power to create new future and urged them to become the architects of the future. “We are letting you into the world to make a difference; to make your parents proud, to make Babcock University proud, to make Nigeria proud, and make Christ proud. The world and its internal workings as we have today are facilitated by connected thoughts of individuals who are hungry to make it a better place for all. You can become creators of the future. Indeed, you are creators of the future.”
Also speaking, the President, Loma Linda University Hospital, California, Dr. Richard Hart, urged the graduands to strive for wisdom, discuss great things and to live impactful and meaningful lives. According him, it comes from a deep insight and gives one satisfaction for what he/she does.
He said the best is achievable in life if only the graduands would heed to the seven tips to avoid living a bad life, which he enumerated as wealth without work; pleasure without conscience; commerce without morality; knowledge without character; science without humanity; worship without sacrifice, and politics without principles. He encouraged the graduands to desist from such life style, saying that it is inimical to the best interest of the society.
The Ogun State Governor, Ibikunle Amosun advised the graduands to see their convocation as a clarion call to serve humanity. He urged them to be self-reliant, stressing that the attitude of over-reliance on white collar jobs should not be the only option.
The governor, who was represented by his Chief of Staff, Mr. Tolu Odebiyi said “today’s event is not only about recognising an important accomplishment, but also, it is a gateway to an important stage in your life. A stage of a new beginning, a new chapter, a new endeavour alongside new challenges; this is not the end of a tough journey, it is the beginning of a beautiful one.”
The governor commended the university saying, “the contribution of this citadel of learning to the education development of our dear state is highly appreciated, despite the fact that it is privately-owned. In addition to its academic mandate, the university being a faith-based institution is applauded for propagating good morals and positive virtues without which academic achievements would be worthless. Through this, you have made this university a force to be reckoned with in excellent academic and moral achievement.”
The Executive Secretary, of the NUC, Prof. Abubakar Rasheed commended the institution for its various achievements, saying that it would not have been possible without the capable personnel it has in its system.
“I will like to thank the faculties and the administrators of this great university for a job well done. Without these capable personnel, the extra-ordinary performance enumerated here by the vice-chancellor would not have been. So, the NUC appreciates your labour. The future is indeed bright for both Babcock University and her products.”
He congratulated the parents and charged the graduands to go and bring the country greater distinctions and laurels. “It is not possible to undergo academic pursuit without the support from parents, family and friends. So, proud parents, I like to say well done, thank you for your sacrifices and commitment. You have been partners in progress in nation building.”
To the students, he said “surely, today’s joy wipes away the tenor of scholarship and I bet you academic work is laborious, it calls for discipline. Go forth and impact Nigeria positively and bring the country greater distinction globally. Earning degree at any level has meaning only when it impacts humanity.”