Immediate past speaker of the House of Representatives, Rep. Yakubu Dogara, has charged youths on the value of patriotism, adding that the greatness Nigeria yearns for will only manifest when citizens place premium on the pursuit of freedom, rather than the pursuit of personal happiness.
He, therefore, urged them, as the future of the country, to support Nigeria at all times.
Dogara disclosed this while speaking at the 8th and 9th Convocation Ceremony of Achievers University, in Owo, Ondo State where he was also conferred with a honorary Doctoral Degree of Law and installed as the Chancellor of the University.
Congratulating the graduands, he stated, “As you leave this hallowed academic ground, I admonish you to take to heart, two things Mark Twain, ‘the father of American literature’, once said. The first will help you to realize and release the genius in you and the other will help our country in our quest to deepen governance.
“The first is, ‘A person who won’t read has no advantage over one who can’t read’. The second was his definition of patriotism: ‘Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it’.
“Nigeria needs true patriots – those who will place premium on the pursuit of freedom rather than the pursuit of happiness. This is true if Nigeria would be a great country, especially now that demagogues who are immune to the norms of established society litter the political landscape.”
He also felicitated with his fellow honorary doctoral degree awardees, noting that the honour done to them is in recognition of their “little achievements and contributions to the Nigeria project and humanity in general.
Going further, he charged Nigerians to take the honour as a call for greater service, saying, “We must continue to work hard until we achieve the Nigerian state of our dream.
“It is said that Rome was not built in a day, implying that the Romans did not stop working any day until Rome was built. This must be our culture in Nigeria. The culture of going to work without let until we build a nation that serves our collective aspirations.”
Hon Dogara also thanked the Board of Trustees and the Council of Achievers University for finding him worthy of succeeding his “amiable and education-loving” predecessor, Senator Dr. Bode Olajumoke, and pledged to discharge all his responsibilities to the best of his ability.
“My acceptance of this responsibility as the chancellor of this university bestows on me to be more present in the university, at least once a year during the convocation ceremonies. In accepting this academic title, I recognise the fact that it is a great responsibility to step into the very big shoes of my predecessor, Sen. Bode Olajumoke, who has made a great impact in providing quality leadership and mentorship to generation of students in the university.
“My solemn pledge today is to join hands with the council, Senate and management of the university in lifting higher the bar of academic excellence for the benefit of humanity. As Rev. Dr Martin Luther King Jr. reminded us, “When education flourishes, we all flourish.”
Earlier, the pioneer chancellor of Achievers University, Sen. Dr Bode Olajumoke, disclosed that the choice of the former speaker and other awardees was purely based on merit as the “university’s awards are not for sale but offered to those who deserve it.”
He further explained that Rt. Hon Dogara was nominated to succeed its outgone chancellor and take over as the 2nd chancellor the school has had since inception, in recognition of his outstanding qualities and track record, and for his contribution to the development and growth of education in Nigeria. He also noted his commitment to the university in spite of his tight schedules, such as he demonstrated when he delivered the 4th convocation lecture of the institution in 2016.
“The university is happy to have you as it will benefit largely from your benevolence, goodwill commitment and sense of purpose,” he added.