Nineteen-year-old Wukeh Egem-Odey penultimate Friday emerged the overall best graduating student of the Covenant University, Ota in Ogun in the 2011/ 2012 academic session.
Egem-Odey is among the 88 first class students produced by the university in the academic session.
The first class students were among 1,389 persons conferred with various degrees at the university’s seventh convocation ceremony at Ota.
The Vice Chancellor of the University, Prof. Aize Obayan, said that 10 of the graduating students were less than 19 years old.
Obayan said that 646 of the graduands had second class, upper division while 576 graduated in second class, lower division while 79 received third class degrees.
The vice chancellor said that the institution’s School of Postgraduate Studies graduated a total of 89 students out of which 70 had master’s degree and 19 PhDs.
Obayan said that the university had, in its first 10 years of existence, laid a solid foundation for raising a generations of new leaders.
In his address, the Chancellor of the University, Dr David Oyedepo, decried the heightening insecurity in Nigeria and appealed to the Federal Government to address the problem urgently.
Oyedepo said that young Nigerian graduates were ready to shun the National Youth Service Corps scheme because of insecurity.
“Everyone today can see that the greatest threat to our nationhood is the ongoing mass killing and attack on churches, since December, 2010, which has claimed over 1,500 souls and left many wounded.
“The state of insecurity in our country today seems to have defied all logical approach but it remains a duty to stamp out this ugly situation from our country before it claims further casualties,’’ he said.
He pointed out that standard of living in the country was declining because of insecurity, regretting the increasing unemployment in the country, saying that about 40 million youths were jobless or underemployed.
“We can only make a loud call for a ‘stop and think’ approach because we need intellectual bravery in our universities if we must attain relevance and secure our environment for peace and progress.
“We desperately require the right kind of education that will culminate in the emergence of the right kind of leaders and promote the right values,’’ he said.
Oyedepo told the graduating students to be of good behaviour and to contribute their quota to national development.
A former Minister of Education, Dr Obiageli Ezekwesili, said there was an urgent need for African countries to bridge the productivity gap between men and women through institutional reforms and effective public investment.
She said that women had poor access to education and skill acquisition opportunities.
Ezekwesili said that empowerment of women to participate actively in a modern society would enlarge the scope of human capital that would power economic growth.
“Every society that disrespects the right of women to access basic services ignores their right to participate in the decision-making process in the family and the general society,’’ she said.
Ezekwesili advised the graduands to be focused in the pursuit of their visions.
Responding on behalf of the graduands, Egem-Odey pledged that they would be among those to improve Nigeria’s economic fortune.
Egem-Odey, an accountant, said that Nigeria had the potential to compete favourably with great economies but needed to strengthen various institutions to achieve the feat.
On his achievement, he said: “I denied myself comfort and pleasure which a lot of our youths are not ready to do.
“I wish to advise those looking up to me to place emphasis on long-term plans and proper execution in order to soar,’’ he said. (NAN)