1. Let me on behalf of the Government and the good people of Akwa Ibom State; welcome the Chancellor of this great Citadel of learning, His Eminence, Ntenyin Solomon Etuk, the Oku Ibom Ibibio, Chairman, Akwa Ibom State Council of Chiefs and the Paramount Ruler of Nsit Ubium.
  1. Few days ago, I was reliably informed that at a competition organized by the Nigerian Association of Petroleum Explorationists in collaboration with American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG) African Region aimed at showcasing the technical strengths of the participating institutions;   this university was among the five of the universities selected from numerous other universities across the nation for this year’s “Basin Evaluation Competition”. It is noteworthy that the other four universities such as Universities of Lagos, Nsukka and others that were equally selected are older universities.
  1. What this achievement illustrates in concrete terms is the level of academic rigor and excellence that students of this university are exposed to, and the discipline you have injected into the pursuit of knowledge. You have shown that in the open field of academic inquires; age is just a number; that the injection of the right passion is the deciding ingredient of success.
  1. Permit me therefore, to commend and salute  the Governing Council of this University under the able leadership of the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of the Governing Council-Engineer Samuel Inyang, the Vice Chancellor, Professor Eno James Ibanga, the Senate, the academic community, and indeed the entire students,  Management and Staff of this university for turning this institution into a highly desirable and success-driven fountain of knowledge and intellectual curiosity  in line with the Vision of this University.
  1. To the excited and obviously exhilarated graduands of the combined Class of 2019, let me congratulate you all for the success you have attained today. It took passion, discipline, commitment and the drive to succeed for you to have achieved this feat. You must and should feel very happy and proud of yourselves, same way I believe your parents must also feel.
  1. As you step out to face the world and chart the course of your lives, let me give you a few insights into the world you are going to encounter. The world you are about to step into is not defined by the comforting instruments of community; it does not owe you anything – therefore, you do not have any sense of entitlement to its vast opportunities. It is fiercely competitive and it is only the brave, the innovative and those imbued with the spirit of drive and dare that will luxuriate in its endless possibilities.
  1. The world you are about to step into, in terms of geographical spread, may be vast and hugely expansive but in terms of the appropriation of its resources and opportunities, it is unfortunately very small and shrinking – thanks to globalization. You must therefore, excel beyond the ordinary to be a full partaker of its feast of opportunities and the pursuits of the inherent layers of happiness.
  1. As I said last week at the University of Uyo which I wish to reemphasize here: Three critical elements will make you a very happy and fulfilled member of this highly competitive and shrinking world:  Character, Integrity and Honor. These three elements will be the first set of ideals your recruiter or a future business partner will look at before your Great Point Average (GPA) and these traits must never be in short supply or you will constantly receive the short end of the stick in spite of your glowing credentials.
  1. On May 24, 2013, the 43rd President of the United States, Barack Hussein Obama while addressing the graduands of the United States Naval Academy had advised the newly commissioned officers thus “Never forget that honour, like character is what you do when nobody is looking”. He went to admonish the officers to “live with integrity and speak with honesty, take responsibility and demand accountability”. Let these inspiring invocations of President Obama constantly ring in your ears as you step out to explore the world and you will be the better for it.
  1. While it is fundamental for you to imbibe the above ideals, you must not also lose sight of the fact that we are living in a fast and furious changing world. You must strive to be self-reliant; you must apply yourself to the realities or the fluidity of the post-modern world.
  1. It was the same former President Obama who gave this very thought-provoking advice while addressing the graduands of Arizona State University – “It is now abundantly clear that we need to start doing things a little bit different. In your own lives, you need to continuously adapt to a continuously changing economy. You will end up having more than one job and more than one career over the course of your life; to keep gaining new skills; you have to keep on taking risks as new opportunities arise”.
  1. I urge you therefore, never to stop acquiring or updating your skills as you go out there to navigate the difficult terrains of building careers or seeking employment opportunities or establishing businesses. The world is dynamic and only those who move with its ever changing waves will live a happy and fulfilled life.
  1. I like the Motto of this Institution: Knowledge and Technology for Development. This motto reflects the central element of our educational philosophy, which is to engender in our graduates an entrepreneurial spirit; a desire to look into the endless possibilities that lay before you and to apply yourselves and learning to utilize its benefits.
  1. If students from Stanford University in California helped change the way we live think and relate with one another through the application of science and technology, I think Akwa Ibom State University can and should be in the vanguard of this   approach.
  1. And so to the Class of 2019, don’t look up only to government for jobs, look into yourselves and see what creative energies or skills you can use to create wealth. The 21st Century world is knowledge and technology driven, don’t limit yourselves.
  1. My Administration will continue to invest in education and Human Capacity Development is one of the eight pillars in our Completion Agenda. We will continue to do all we can, given the lean resources available to us, to advance the growth and development of this university. We will continue to ensure that students here study under conducive and pleasant environment and this is reflected through the physical infrastructural amenities we have provided here and at the Obio Akpa campus.
  1. Let me commend the students of this university for the peace and order that exist here. You have forsworn cultism and other anti-social activities and this is very encouraging.
  1. Finally, let me wish the graduands God’s mercies and Divine favour as you set out on the next phase of your lives. Today, you have been confirmed, certified and found worthy in character and learning to be admitted into the circle of scholars. I implore you, therefore, to be great ambassadors of this University and let the light of the knowledge you have acquired here brighten your road as you navigate your way around career paths and service to humanity.
  1. Thank you for your kind attention and God bless us all!
  1. God bless you all!

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