Twenty-six-year-old son of a plumber whose mother is also a trader in Iseyin, Oyo State, Mr. Nurudeen Adegoke, has emerged the overall best graduating student at the 24th convocation ceremony of the Federal University of Technology, Akure, on Saturday.
Adegoke, who read Mathematics, shone like a star at the occasion as he won other awards and had to shake hands on different occasions with special guests and other principal officers of the university to receive his prizes.
He told our correspondent that the road to his success was rough and challenging as he had to put in personal efforts to get himself through his degree programme at FUTA.
He said, “I really worked very hard. No unserious student can survive the rigour at the Mathematical Science department from where I graduated. I was very prayerful too.
“Right from my first day in FUTA, I was determined, focused and diligent. I was humble too because humility is very essential in anything one is doing.
“I was at the Osun State College of Technology, Esa Oke, for my Ordinary National Diploma in Statistics. I got direct admission to FUTA, doing everything on my own.
“My dad is a plumber while my mother is a petty trader. I am really from a humble background. Being the first child of my family, I made up my mind to be serious and hardworking so that I could help my parents in taking care of the academic needs of my younger ones.
“I always had it at the back of my mind that I must pass very well if I really wanted my certificate to be useful to me and I was always prayerful and focused.
“I used to get involved in tutorials. I didn’t play with my academics. I am not sure I had any social life because I didn’t want any form of distraction,” Adegoke submitted.
He advised students to face their academics instead of engaging in activities that would not add value to their main reason of being in the university in the first instance.
The Chancellor of the institution, who is also the Emir of Lafia, His Royal Highness, Alhaji Isa Mustafa, described the five-year degree programme at FUTA as stimulating and intellectually enriching.
He congratulated the graduates for attending an institution with world-class academic curricular which made it the best university of technology in Nigeria.
He admonished the graduates to be entrepreneurial and creative and to tap from the vast natural endowments and economic resources in the country instead of looking for salary jobs years after graduation.
He said, “I exhort you to be lawful, peaceful, and God guided in your pursuits of livelihood. I beseech you to follow the path of honour, integrity and righteousness at all time.”
The pro-Chancellor, who is also Chairman of the Governing Council, Brig.-Gen. Raji Rasaki, said FUTA would remain focused in its determination to contribute towards the development of quality human capital to meet local and global needs.
He also pledged that the university would continue to intensify efforts to attract indigenous and foreign students at both undergraduate and post graduate levels by acquiring facilities that meet their demands.
The Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Adebiyi Daramola, said 15 out of the 1,960 students that graduated had a first class degree while 561were in the second class upper division.
He added that 998 graduates were in the second class lower division; 331 in the third class; while 55 of them graduated with a pass.
Daramola said the university agreed to confer honorary degrees on Lt. Gen Theophilus Danjuma and Prof. Daniel Mireku-Gyimah from Ghana because of their generous contributions to human capital development.
He reiterated his determination to “take FUTA to the market place” by focusing on policies and programmes that would lead the institution to a higher height of global recognition for excellence.
He said, “We are also going to harness, package and market the great potential of the university to be financially solvent.
“We are starting by focusing on completing all on-going projects, upgrading our entire infrastructure to international standards. It is a daunting task that requires a lot of reforms, system re-engineering and economic utilisation of human and material resources,” he added.
Daramola also explained that through the introduction of entrepreneurial training to the students, electrical and painting jobs that were usually contracted out were now being handled by the university’s works and services personnel with the active participation of students, saving the institution, millions of naira.
He commended the Ondo State, Governor, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, for his efforts when the university was in the process of acquiring one of the state’s housing estates near the campus for its centre for continuing education which is responsible for pre-degree programmes and short-time certificates.
President Goodluck Jonathan, who was represented on the occasion by the Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission, Prof. Julius Okojie, charged the university to focus more on research which he described as a veritable tool for development.
Mimiko, who was also represented on the occasion by his deputy, Alhaji Ali Olanusi, pledged the continuous support of the state to the institution and provision of an enabling environment for the members of staff and students at all times.