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Friday, July 21, 2017


Today is Covenant University’s 16th convocation ceremony.

According to The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), 1,426 students graduated this academic session. 188 bagged  first class honours degree, 568 with second class upper division, 322 with second class lower, 47 with third class and 301 post graduate students. 
They are leaving the school to face the outside world after much drill on character and learning. 
Congratulations to every graduand, their family members, sponsors and every well-wisher in their worlds. It’s a thing of joy to see a Child or Ward or sibling or relative becoming a graduate after 4-5 years of spending, encouragement, counseling, scolding, guidance, Prayers, …….just name it.

I want to say a big THANK YOU to the every one that contributed to the success of these graduands – Parents, Guardians, Sponsors, school authority, friends, and the like.

Above all, a big Thank you to the Almighty God for making it a day of joy for all concerned.

I want to say this to everyone graduating today and to every other Nigerian graduate, especially recent graduates.  What I want to say is something you may have had over and again.

Read this excerpt from BUILT TO LAST by Jim Collins & Jerry I. Porras.

…. A marital artist kneeling before the master sensei in a ceremony to receive a hard-earned black belt. After years of relentless training, the student has finally reached a pinnacle of achievement in the discipline.

“Before granting the belt, you must pass one more test,” says the sensei.

“I am ready,” responds the student, expecting perhaps one final round of sparring.

You must answer the essential question: “What  is the true meaning of the black belt?”

“The end of my journey,” says the student, “A well-deserved reward for all my hardwork”

The sensei waits for more. Clearly, he is not satisfied. Finally, the sensei speaks. “You are not yet ready for the black belt. Return I one year.”

A year later, the student kneels again before the sensei.

“What is the true meaning of the black belt?” asks the sensei.

“A symbol of distinction and the highest achievement in our art,” says the student.

The sensei says nothing for many minutes, waiting. Clearly, he is not satisfied. Finally he speaks. “You are still not ready for the black belt. Return in one year.”

A year later, the student kneels once again in front of the sensei. And again he asks: “What is the true meaning of the black belt?”

“The black belt represents the beginning – the start of the never-ending journey of discipline, work, and the pursuit of an ever-high standard,” says the student.

“Yes. You are now ready to receive the black belt and begin your work.”  

This is the beginning of hard work and learning. Open your heart to keep learning – formally and informally. There are many ways to learn, outside the four walls of classroom. Learn all you can to enhance your capacity and thinking.

You can acquire more skills in ICT, Trades, blue collar jobs skills and the like. Blue collar jobs are jobs outside of the normal office jobs such as agriculture, baking, catering, Fashion designing and accessories, Beautification, furniture making, welding, Automobile maintenance, electric technician, plumbing, and many more.  

Don’t only acquire these skills; take them seriously and earn from them.  Who knows, you might build a fortune out of them.

To begin the journey, please never catch yourself sitting at home for a single business day. Do all you can to fix up yourself somewhere no matter how small it may seem. You may not get monetary value at the beginning but it will certainly pay off.

You may have set your eyes on the big jobs right now. They will definitely come to you if you persist. But one thing is sure they may not come as quickly as you have thought or planned. You friends and classmate may get theirs early enough; that does not stop yours from coming if you persist.

In the meantime, you need to get busy with something to gain experience that will catapult you to greater height. Do not underestimate any job no matter how small; you never can tell how far it may take you to.

There are businesses around you that you can work with in the meantime while you look out for the big jobs. A lot of graduates in the past have made the mistake of being too selective and staying at home for an unexpected period, hence becoming a liability to their friends and families. I’m sure you don’t want to be a liability any more, after all these years.

No parent, guardian or sponsor would love to see their product still being a liability after investing time and money on them. It’s disheartening.

I could remember some years ago, a boy was sent to the UK upon graduation to further his education, just to equip him better. When he came back after his Master’s degree, a party was staged for him. In less than 1 week his father was very brutal with him at home.

Why? He never leaved up to expectations. Having spent so much on him, his father expected him to be out there looking for something to do with his life. Contrary to that expectation, he was at home sleeping and eating his father’s food.

Only a few fathers will take that from a son.  There are some fathers that will even go on to look for a job for their son after spending that much on him.

You may have parents that are ready to do everything for you, but it doesn’t make you think like an adult. As we all know, when you don’t think you cannot be a responsible individual.

You may want to go back to school immediately, well and good, do it as quickly as possible and settle down with something to keep you going.  

There is this general notion that there are no jobs in Africa, especially in Nigeria. Do not let that sink into you; unemployment is everywhere; even the developed countries like The United States and UK, people still suffer unemployment. It all depends on the way you see the problem.

When you think there are no jobs, it would affect your actions and life. Do not blame even the government for any issue; take responsibility for your life and you’ll see the outcome. Blaming the government will only prolong issues and make them worst.

For those that want to become Entrepreneurs, welcome to the world of world changers. There are principles in every system.  Do all you can to know and follow the principles and you’ll have your heart desires in business.  

To all: Define what you want and go for it. To make it faster, have an insatiable quest for knowledge and look for avenues to apply the knowledge you acquire, for it is the fastest way to the top.

Remember, your competence can only take you up but its character that will keep you there for as long as you desire character.  Build character, for you will be accepted and retained wherever you go by the strength of your character.

Do not hesitate to leverage on technology to make things easy for you. The phone in your hands, for instance is a good tool to transform your life if only you can use it justly.  You can use it for job application, online trainings, get more information & direction, connect with relevant people, get customers for your business, and work online, amongst others.  Use your phone to your advantage!

Short course enhance your chances of getting a job and you can get them on line, some are even free.  Some of the platforms that provide such services online are: courser.org, edx.org, Lynda.com, and a host of others. Do well to identify with these platforms.

“Whatsoever thine hand findeth to do,do it with all thine might.” Please, do not be complacent in your pursuit; some destinies are tied to you. Be good at what you do!

Above all, have a good relationship with your maker and always carry Him with you to the market place; the market place is a place with other forces that you cannot withstand of your own strength.

Encourage and inspire them. Do not leave them to themselves; assuming they are old enough to know what they are doing has ruined some destinies.  Use your wealth of experience and knowledge to direct and guide them when necessary, after all they are still young folks.

There’s this popular adage that goes thus, “What an elder sees sitting down, a child can never see even when standing on an Iroko tree” (paraphrased). Their being established is for everyone’s benefit, directly or indirectly. Do your best and leave the rest to God. Together we’ll make the world a better place.

I wish every graduate all the best in all your endeavors. Welcome fully to The Enterprise!  

Once again, Congratulations!!!!

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