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At On December 4, the Lagos Marriott Hotel, Ikeja Lagos came to life when Obafemi Awolowo University (OUA), Ile-Ife, Osun State, recognized 60 distinguished alumni of the institution.
The awards ceremony was part of the activities marking the university’s 60th anniversary. That day, the school also launched the Foundation for the Advancement of the OAU. The foundation was inaugurated to garner support from alumni and other stakeholders to address facility gaps and other critical needs of the institution.
Special Advisor to President Muhammadu Buhari on Media and Advertising, Mr. Femi Adesina was among 60 distinguished alumni who the institution deemed worthy of awarding the Distinguished Great Ife Alumnus Award. He was chosen to have made the school proud and a good ambassador in its field of journalism.
Reacting to the recognition, he enthusiastically told the Daily Sun that the award came to him by surprise. He said he couldn’t imagine the number of students who could have graduated from OAU over the past 60 years, noting, therefore, that his award was a rare privilege. He said: âIt was very surprising news for me, but I’m pretty happy. In order for someone to be counted among 60 illustrious alumni, one must be grateful to God. I thank God and the university leadership, the Vice-Chancellor, the Alumni Association and all those who have helped to deem me worthy of this award.
“Me? Yes, I common, simple, ordinary, being invested with such a prize of honor. All praise and thanks to our God who judged me worthy. I am of the number saved by grace. I am also of the number. honored by Great Ife, an institution I graduated from 35 years ago. It can only be God.
âGreat Ife, as our university is commonly referred to, is a leading institution for higher education, research and training in Africa. I am proud to belong to the only Grand Ife in the universe. Anything else is a forgery, âhe boasted.
His wife, Ms Adenike Adesina, accompanied by her younger brother, Dr Olubiyi Adesina, gladly received the award on behalf of the laureate, who was not in the country at the time.
University Vice Chancellor Prof Eyitope Ogubodede said the university has experienced rapid growth and development, especially in the areas of academic programs, research, infrastructure development and human resources. .
However, he said that funding has been a major challenge for the university as the government grant becomes grossly insufficient hence the need for the foundation of advancement.
âOur university boasts of very versatile and accomplished alumni whose tentacles have spread into all spheres of human endeavor across the world. Our alumni community around the world has continued to distinguish themselves, making a positive impact in their immediate environment and at the forefront of the advancement of humanity.
âThe alumni of the university have been a great help in supporting various projects and programs at the university and we are extremely grateful to them. Sixty of these alumni are honored today as part of the Diamond Jubilee celebration.
âWe graciously recognize your contributions as esteemed ongoing partners. May I also add that the university has a long list of needs which includes: student hostels; renovation of laboratories; vehicles, including tankers, generators and fire trucks; renovation of some buildings; and the resurfacing of campus roads, âhe said. The Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of the University Council, Mr. Owelle Oscar Udoji urged all former students not to slacken their efforts by making a generous and continuing donation to the school that shaped them.
Some other award recipients are: Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State, Former Governor Olusegun Mimiko, Senator Oluremi Tinubu, Judge Amina Augie, Mr. Gbenga Oyebode, Senator Olorunnimbe Mamora, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), Mr. Segun Adeniyi, Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, General Lucky Irabor, Professor Koyinsola Ajayi (SAN), Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Senator Babafemi Ojudu, Chief Dele Momodu, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, Chief Mike Ozokhome, Mr. George Etomi, Bisi Adeleye- Fayemi and others.
Reacting on behalf of all the recipients, Chief of the Defense Staff General Irabor said the award was to showcase the Citadel of Learning which created the platform for former students to achieve everything they had achieved and live up to expectations in their various fields.
âThe values ââimparted to me at Great Ife are integral to what has helped me build my career to this level. I know education remains a powerful weapon, far more powerful than bullets. Bullets, as the constitution has authorized, should only be used to address those who have not benefited from education.
âAs we look forward to the next 60 years, I pray that Grand Ife remains, not only the most beautiful campus, but the best institution in Nigeria, Africa and the world,â he said.