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Once referred to as a dullard, bullied, despised by classmates and even exploited by friends, Mr. Opeoluwa Fasoro, 22, of the Department of Microbiology, Redeemers University, Osun State did not allow these to deter him, but with hard work and God in him, Mr. Opeoluwa Adewale Fasoro was called to the podium to receive his prize for emerging the overall best graduating student with a Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) of 4.97, the highest Redeemers University has ever produced, he got a thunderous applause from guests and students present at the Eighth Convocation ceremony of the institution held at the auditorium.
He was among the 25 graduating students that made first class out of a total of 619 graduands tagged the ‘Chosen Generation Set’ that the institution produced at the end of the 2015/2016 academic session.
For his feat, he secured automatic employment at the institution and also got a cash prize of about N250,000 as the recipient of the Visitor’s and Vice-Chancellor’s prizes for the best graduating student with the highest CGPA; best graduating student in the College of Natural Sciences; the best graduating student in Microbiology programme, among others.
Fasoro expressed delight about his success saying, “I feel humbled. This is a miracle; I wasn’t the best of brains while growing up but I have come to realise that with God in a person’s life, the difference will be clear. For me to graduate with such CGPA the best so far in the school, it is indeed the power of God.”
Recounting his experiences while growing up, he said during his primary school days, his classmates used to make fun of him; he was bullied and called a dullard, but all that changed when he was admitted into a Christian secondary school and had a life-changing encounter with God which set him on a new course in life.
He said the encounter was further strengthened when he was admitted into Redeemers University, adding that he worked hard to achieve the feat.
On the challenges he encountered during the course of his study, he said: “I actually applied to the university to study Applied Biology and Genetics, but by the time I got to 200 level, the course was yet to be accredited, so they had to merge us with Microbiology, I particularly didn’t want to study Microbiology because the person that taught me in secondary school studied Gynecology so I wanted to be better than him and even impress him, but that really discouraged me.
“However, something happened after then during the 100 days of fasting and praying of the Redeemed Christian Church of God. I heard the voice of God that told me to check a particular scripture in the bible in Isaiah 55 verse 8 which says: ‘My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither your ways are my ways’, that was a major point in my life where I felt discouraged. I would have given up.”
He described his experience as a potpourri of emotions and mixed feelings, saying that God saw him through. “For every second I spent in the university, I have always seen the hand of God in my life and also in my academics. My target was to get 5.0 from the point I entered the university and I set my mind to it.” Fasoro, whose father is a chartered accountant and mother a facilitator/trainer, advised his fellow graduands not to be discouraged by their background, saying, “I encourage you today no matter the class of degree you are coming out with to put aside the report of men. Don’t allow your background to pin you down. Do not be limited by what you have or do not have. Those three digit numbers used to classify students are not enough to describe your true potential.
“I encourage you to put your past behind you and make up your mind to succeed in life, look to God and to his word as your source. He has declared that He knows the thought He has towards us that they are thoughts of good and not of evil, to give us an expected end.”
The ceremony also witnessed the appointment of a new Chancellor, General Theophilus Danjuma and the conferment of honorary degree on him, as well as Dr. George Valencia Samson for his healthcare delivery to humanity at the global level through his organisation, the World Medical Relief.
In his remarks, the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Debo Adeyewa, appealed to the government to design a policy that will support private universities through the provision of incentives and access to funds that would aid the acceleration of research and the development of the education sector and the nation in general. He said the move would discourage educational tourism that has helped institutions overseas to flourish with billions of naira frittered away each year at the expense of burgeoning home institutions
He congratulated the honorees, saying that the Danjuma Foundation has passionately supported the poverty alleviation, education and medical aid initiatives across the country and that the World Medical Relief has been a blessing to the institution in particular.
To the graduands he said, “we heartily congratulate you and your parents on the successful completion of your programme in spite of the challenges you might have faced. As usual some of your colleagues could not complete the programme with you because they were found wanting in either learning or character. The training both formal and informal that you have received is to enable you fullfil God’s purpose for your lives and to be a blessing to your generation.”
The General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, who is the visitor to the institution, Pastor Enoch Adeboye, congratulated the graduating class, saying that the set has been particularly chosen to run a truly dynamic and victorious race here and beyond.
Adeboye, who was represented by the VicePresident and Chairman, Board of Trustees, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, advised youths to learn to be versatile and technology-savvy by understanding its uses in their areas of endeavour.
“You have to learn to multi-task which is now the order of the day. You have to follow the trends in the stock market and understand how money works,” he said, while recalling the visit of the chief executive officer of Facebook to the country, adding, “many are too lazy these days, talent comes from diligence.”
Delivering the convocation lecture titled, ‘Nation Building and Nigeria’s Economic Challenges’, the Chairman, African Capital Alliance, Mr. Richard Kramer, appealed to the Buhari administration and future governments to build quality infrastructure, education, healthcare and other enablers which meet the needs of all sectors of the economy.
He added that it should also evolve government’s role away from operating and controlling the economy to becoming an enabler which motivates and guides the private sector to build a strong responsible economy.
“As an expatriate, it is not in my place to extensively define the economic end result for Nigeria. Suffice it to say, I have contributed in the past to Nigerian Economic Summit Group activities, the vision 2010 project, and many other similar projects. Patriotic well-meaning Nigerians have done the major work and have gone beyond self-interest to focus on the national interest. The Buhari government should continue this nation building process and involve Nigerians from all walks of life in this type of endeavor.”
To the graduands, Kramer said, “your challenge will be to anticipate the new Nigeria you will live in and prepare your future accordingly. The answers will need continuous study and you must anticipate what Nigeria will look like in the future. Your personal interests then need to be linked to Nigeria’s future opportunities. Think hard about the future and make well informed choices now.”
In his inaugural address, Danjuma thanked the entire management of the institution who contributed to its success story since its relocation to the permanent site. He described success as a journey which is like a building project where everyone has a role to play.
“God in his infinite mercies has ordained that we are given critical responsibilities in this decisive period in our nation to make meaningful contributions that would unleash the capacity of our youths for the fulfillment of their great destinies.”
He said his desire has always been to contribute his quota towards worthy assignments, adding that he accepted the appointment as the chancellor of the institution because of his personal conviction to continue to serve at different levels and contribute to the development of the society.