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Valedictorian Speech By IFEOLUWA BEJIDE, Best Graduating Student(2016/2017 Graduating Class)
On behalf of the 2016/2017 Graduating Class on the occasion of the 9th Convocation Ceremony of the Redeemer’s University, Ede, Osun State, Nigeria
What an amazing God! Three times now. I was the best graduating student in primary school, best graduating student in secondary school and now best graduating student in the University. What a mighty God!
This journey started nine (9) years ago, yes, as far back as that. I was in JSS 2 and was staying with Professor L. B Kolawole, who today is being honoured as an Emeritus Professor. He took me to the first convocation of Redeemer’s University and that day started it all. To some people, that day was a Convocation of this great University, but to me, it was a life-changing encounter. When we got home that day, Daddy Kolawole gave me the Convocation Booklet and he said “It was a female like you that collected those prizes and became the Valedictorian, you too can do it”. I am sure he cannot even remember saying those words to me. I was eleven (11) years old then, but I clearly remember. That night, I sat down and took paper and biro and calculated the whole amount the lady, Seun Peters, received. Do not mind me, I was a kid and the money was attractive. I thought getting the money and giving it to my Mum would make her happy and maybe stop her lack of money. Anyways, I got inspired that night and from that moment, I had determined I must be the best graduating student if I ever got the chance to come to Redeemer’s University and make my mother proud. I want to say thank you, Sir, Prof L. B. Kolawole, for taking me that day and for the words you said to me.
Coming to school at Redeemer’s University was not easy, it was a miracle, my family could not afford it. I had only my mother, being a single parent, and she was even struggling to provide for her children’s needs, talk more of paying for a private school fees. When I approached her and said I wanted to come to RUN, I could see the look on her face, she wanted me to come of course, who does not like a good education for her children, but then there was no money. I then promised her that day, that, after my first year fees, I would make sure I got scholarship from the school. But the God I worship is a miracle working God, from nowhere, God raised a woman, the former Bursar of the school, Mrs B.O. Warizo, she approached my mum and said she would pay for my first year in RUN. The Lord truly does miracles, and that was how she paid. I want to say thank you to her wherever she may be, without you, I probably would not be here today.
I want to acknowledge my Creator, the Almighty God, the One who gave me the brain, strength, energy, courage, knowledge, wisdom, understanding, determination, the All-sufficient God, the miracle Worker… the One who makes difficult situation look simple, the problem Solver, the One and only God that answers prayers, the great Provider and the greatest Father one can ever have. Lord, I cannot thank you enough.
Furthermore, I would like to acknowledge the University who provided the platform for education and for the scholarships that take care of the tuition fees of the academic scholars. The University has not only imparted one academically, but morally and spiritually. I learnt how to consistently go early for Sunday service, and many other good things from guest speakers, lecturers and men of God, which were out of academic box.
Of course, after all these acknowledgements, I cannot fail to acknowledge one special person here today, my friend, my coach, my supporter, the most hardworking person I have met in my entire life, my lover and the one who this achievement is for. This person is my mother. Thank you for sweeping classrooms and cleaning houses to send me to school, thank you for bringing food for me almost every day, even when it was not convenient- since I do not eat outside. Thank you for going into the bush with me to gather plants for my project, thank you for all the sacrifices you made for me and my sister. Thank you for borrowing money around any time my fees were not complete. You are my time-keeper, my personal alarm clock, for the times you called to wake me up during exams, thank you, Maami!
In order to pay back a mother like this who has always been struggling for her children, I decided to not only be a First Class Student, but to also be the best. This is for you Mum, thank you for everything! I am unashamed of you, I love you. I would like to acknowledge my beautiful sister who supported me all through and always checked up on me. I pray God would bless you abundantly. To my friends and supporters, Ayo, Tanitoluwa, Tobi Ogungbe, Grace and Bakare, thank you for everything. A big thank you to my H.O.D., Professor I. O. O. Komolafe for his encouraging words, Mr. Atilola, Mr. Kayode, Dr. Durugbo, Dr. Ayorinde, in fact all my lecturers, and Dr. Arogundade, they were all wonderful. I want to thank Dr. (Mrs) Adeniji, Mrs. Raji, Dr Arekete and Dr S.O. Adesanya for all the big things they did for me. A big thanks to Redeemer’s High School also, for giving me a solid secondary school foundation.
How did I go about my success? I always said to myself, am not the first person to come from a not-so privileged home. If Daddy G.O could make it, why can’t I? If so many of the professors here who had poor backgrounds could make it, why should I not? I believe the key to success is one himself/herself, but with God. I was faced with challenges, health challenges, emotional breakdown, financial breakdown and so many others. I did not get pocket money throughout my University days, but I struggled because I had a determination to succeed.
I would have missed the opportunity to graduate this year, because my mum could not get my 400L fees, so I wrote a letter to defer my final year. But before I could submit the letter, God sent Daddy and Mummy G.O my way through Pastor Oluseyi Alakija and paid for my 400L fees. I had lost hope, even though I kept praying. Thank you Mummy and Daddy G. O., may you continue to remain a blessing to generations. Thank you Pastor Alakija, God bless you!
To all of us, the graduands, we have fought well and it was not easy to reach here. Some people entered higher institutions the same time we entered, but some had to drop out for one reason or the other, some died along the way and some got expelled. But here we are, alive and well because God kept us. We should give some credits to ourselves for coming this far. As we go forth in life, leaving the walls of this great school, I want us to remember to always put God first in whatever we do and to always remember our parents even after we make it. We should strive for the best and never give up in achieving our dreams. Always be a dreamer… an achiever, but never a quitter. Don’t ever quit on yourself!
To our parents and sponsors, thank you very much, for sacrificing so much to pay our school fees for four years. I pray that you all will enjoy the fruits of your labour. May you always be proud of us and may God protect you for us and also, us for you. God bless you, we love you!
I, Bejide Ifeoluwa, the girl who sold plantain chips, who sold pepper and tomatoes, who sold fish, who also swept the classrooms is now a graduate!
We are all graduates!
We are “Divine Champions” for life!
With God, our ever strong Redeemer, we are able to conquer the mountains!
Divine Champions, are you ready???
Congratulations to us all!