Being a speech delivered by His Excellency Seyi Makinde, at the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology 14th Combined Special Convocation Ceremonies for Admission to Higher and Honorary Degrees, held on Saturday, April 23, 2022.
We are here today to witness the 14th convocation ceremony of the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology. But as has been acknowledged by other speakers, this is a convocation like no other. It is a joint convocation of graduands from 2015 down to 2021.
Seeing you all seated here to receive your certificates, some have waited seven years for this moment. In fact, to show how much time has passed, for some of the 2015 graduands, the 2020 and 2021 graduands were not even in year 1 when they wrote their final year exams.
It’s important to reflect on these things because part of the reasons we are having a joint convocation ceremony is the electoral choices we made or did not make some years ago. And next year, we will be facing a similar choice.
When we make electoral decisions, we may not think those choices will affect how many years our children spend at the university. Well, here we are.
But today is not a day to talk about wrong choices of the past; it is a day to celebrate the good decisions of the present. It is a day to be merry because this is a milestone moment for some of the graduands. Today is a day to celebrate new beginnings.
After spending all these years studying various courses, it is now time to test how prepared you are in practical terms and how equipped you are to face real-life situations. So, I’m going to ask, are you ready to face the real world?
I’m going to share with you something that you will need in this next phase of your life: Resilience. Because it’s going to be challenging. You are leaving here with high hopes, believing you have all it takes to take on the world. But if you aspire for great things, you will face many challenges.
In fact, I would say that if you are not challenged, you probably have not aspired high enough. So, you will need resilience to recover quickly from challenging or disappointing situations and try again.
Without resilience, some of us won’t be where we are today. I was a successful businessman before I decided to get into politics. Like you, I faced a new terrain. I failed so many times at it. But each failure was a call to try a new strategy. Did I feel like quitting sometimes? Yes. But resilience kept me going. And today, here I am addressing you as the Governor of Oyo State.
And look what great things we have accomplished here: LAUTECH is solely owned by the Oyo State Government. And let me use this opportunity to appreciate those who made this happen. We will be honouring them along with others receiving Honorary Degrees today. We have reduced school fees by 25%. LAUTECH now has 13 recently approved degree courses by the National Universities Commission. In the World Scientist and University Rankings 2022, LAUTECH is ranked the ninth-best university in Nigeria and 67th in Africa, up 7 places from 2021. Admissions into the university have almost doubled. Also, as the Pro-Chancellor mentioned in his speech, at the point of taking over administration of this university, they met a backlog of payments which they have been working to defray. And let’s not forget, we are having a convocation after a six-year break and we will be commissioning the Innovation Technology Hub right here on campus.
Now, each of you here today has something to offer. I believe that’s the education that LAUTECH has given you. But we will never know what you have to offer if you give up at the first disappointment. So, if there is something you will take away from here today, let it be this: Be Resilient.
Some of you may have been led to believe that success is easy. You may see celebrities showing off shiny things on TV or see people suddenly start driving flashy cars, and you may say to yourself: That’s easy. Reality check! To be truly successful is not easy. You may have to fail many times before you succeed.
Yet, the fear of failure should never be an excuse not to try.
Think about all things that have been accomplished around you because people did not accept the fear of failure as an excuse not to try.
Imagine if we had thought: why pursue sole ownership of LAUTECH now? We are PDP; the governor we have to deal with is APC. They will never agree.
Also, what if we had made excuses and said we would not take the multi-campus approach towards expanding the activities of this great institution. Thinking: people will resist it. Would we have the College of Agricultural Sciences and Renewable Natural Resources at Iseyin?
So, dear graduands, be determined to overcome any obstacles that may come your way. This is the time to be focused on success.
On our part, we will continue to remain focused on engineering a modern Oyo State and creating an enabling environment for growth and development.
We will continue to increase your chances of getting better jobs by attracting more private investors into Oyo State.
We will also continue to invest in projects that can help you become more innovative and creative entrepreneurs. For example, as mentioned, in just a little while, we will be commissioning the Innovation Technology Hub.
Do not allow the fear of failing to stop you from taking advantage of these opportunities.
Thank you, and God bless you.
Governor Seyi Makinde, April 23, 2022