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Why I Accepted Honourary Award –Obasanjo

Former President of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo had recently shocked many people at Tai Solarin University of Education (TASUED) Ijebu- Ode, Ogun State, when he said that he does not believe in Honourary Awards.

The former president made the statement after being conferred with an honorary doctorate of Education in Political Science by TASUED at the institution’s combined 6th & 7th Convocation ceremonies.

According to him, his decision to accept the honorary award was borne out of his respect for late educationist, Tai Solarin and the love he has for the late Chief Mrs. HID Awolowo.

The institution, which is the first University of Education in Nigeria, also celebrated its 10th anniversary where Obasanjo and two other eminent Nigerians, the richest man in Africa, Alhaji Aliko Dangote and late HID Awolowo who was honoured post-humously.

Speaking shortly after the receipt of the award, Obasanjo said that he never wish to get any honouray award, saying that, he even declined an award from Bell University of Technology, Ota Ogun State.

“I don’t want to be involved in honorary award, not even, one from Bells University of Technology. There are many cases why this is important to me.

“First, the person and personality this great institution was named after was a great man this state has ever produced. During his lifetime, I had a lot of time to relate with him when he was alive; his memory was something one can never fault. “Secondly, wherever the name, Mama Awolowo is mentioned or she is to be honoured like this, we must all join hands to be part of the celebration, she is our mother and wife of our Baba Awolowo.

”Thirdly, a decade in one’s life is not a joke, so I believe, coming here to celebrate with those of you here in the institution, is an exercise of honour and lastly, this is the first University of Education in Nigeria, and if we take education seriously, any agency or institution that take education seriously, we must support them. These are the reasons that made us to be here today” Obasanjo said. He however charged Nigerians to see education as a development, which according to him, “is a meal ticket and means of breaking poverty cycle”

The former president challenged government at all levels to prioritize education in the country, which according to him, will in turn provide jobs and opportunity to develop the society.

“If University is for development, then education is also for development. Anywhere in the world that we have university education, it should be for development in all aspects of life. We should not disregard the University of education; it is a meal ticket and a means of breaking poverty cycle. If after education, you cannot provide for yourself, then you don’t have education.

“I challenge people at the government level, the federal, state, local, community, even at the family level, how do we ensure that with our children education, we can have job employment, they can be seen as contributing meaningfully to the society. If we can’t do this successfully, we are deceiving ourselves” Obasanjo stated.

–  Stories: Titus Eleweke

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