VALEDICTORY SPEECH DELIVERED TO 2004/2005 GRADUATING STUDENTS OF LIGHTHOUSE INTERNATIONAL SECONDARY SCHOOL IKORODU (LISS) ON WEDNESDAY 20TH JULY 2005 BY O.O.ODUMOSU PROPRIETOR MASON COLLEGE ,FESTAC TOWN.
The Chairman of the Governing Council, Rev. T.O. Mobolade,
Members of the Governing Council,
The Guest Speaker and other Honorable Guests,
Parents and other Invitees,
The Principal and members of LISS management,
Members of the Press,
Staff members and other students.
It gives me great pleasure and pride to be here today honoring the invitation given to me by my senior brother at Christ’s School Ado-Ekiti. We never had any idea then what God had in store for us. But today we are happy that we attended that great school because a lot of what we are today were acquired there. We do not know whether there are students who are present here today to whom God will thrust the same mantles in future. But as usual of me at ceremonies such as this I say may the Lord’s name be praised. Amen.
To our graduating students, today is to mark your passing out of LISS and to congratulate those of you with academics and behavioral laurels as decided by the school’s management. Today we shall send you forth, give you your testimonials and bid you goodbye into a world of unknown variables. In a way it also indicates a milestone in your journeys as alumni of this school. From tomorrow LISS will become your “alma mater”. It also represents the end of punishment for late coming, absenteeism, unobserved “lights out” etc.
THE BEST DAYS OF YOUR LIVES?
While in school you competed in the classrooms and on the field of sports. You shared beautiful occasions during co-curricular activities and excursions outside the school. You also shared the joys of victories in both internal and external examinations. After leaving school you will continue to remember these events and your personal school experiences. Some of the memories will be about the physical things but others will be spiritual. You will remember the tutors who made the greatest impact on you. You will remember your school Matron and House Masters. You will remember and compare your notes about principals and other members of the management. Yes you will definitely remember Rev. Mobolade and other members of the Governing Council who directly impacted on your lives. Some of those memories will be happy ones .Some will be wishful and a few will bring a little tear to your eyes. You will remember many of your classmates and the pranks you played, the nicknames you gave yourselves and your narrow escapades. You will remember your seniors who have passed out and the junior students right behind you. You will remember the food that was not served with what you call a ”full hand”. You will look at your lives then and your relationship with God and many of you will come to the usual conclusion that “MY SECONDARY SCHOOL DAYS AT LISS WERE SOME OF THE BEST DAYS OF MY LIFE.” I think i can safely assume that many of us sitting here with you today have been there before. But we can only pray that your future days shall be brighter and that your days here shall constitutes only part of the glorious days of sunshine that God has in store for you. Amen.
You have been special and lucky children, however. Not too many Nigerian children are able to attend private schools such as LISS supported the way you were by your parents. Somehow you have lived in bubbling cocoons. And today is the day for you to coming out. Yes, you are about making your entries into the real world where you have to take decisions about the following:
(a) Higher Studies
(c) Relationships(to God/family/others).
Whether you received guidance and counseling in school or not, you must pray to God for higher direction on this. You must ask God to lead you and you must believe that whatever you are eventually admitted for will manifest the will of God. It does not matter whether if it is a course in medicine or in linguistics. Many of us have come to realize later in life that we were not really in charge when we thought we were choosing career courses in our days. And you too will also come to know how your “chosen courses” will fit into the natural order God has outlined for you in advance.
If you are continuing your studies outside Nigeria you should also seek for proper counseling by your parents before you go .The world has become smaller but somehow not as safe as it used to be .May the good LORD continued to keep and watch over all you. Amen.
In many schools holding valedictory ceremonies these days you will hear a lot of people say that you and your colleagues are the future leaders of the country. You will also hear people say things like “heaven is your limit “and that “the world is at your feet “.These words are not exactly correct. Don’t be lulled into sleep. To be a future leader in our country you will need to join politics or be in the military. There are personal questions you may need to ask yourself or personal revelations you might need from the Holy Spirit on the matter.
The world is not at your feet either. There are no clear career patterns in Nigeria defined by the usual management books we have read from the Western world. Many people tend to think that our country is like a jungle where anything goes. You will need to have focus, abiding strength and discipline to be able to wade through the maze. They said the American CIA estimated that Nigeria will become a failed state by 2015. They are very wrong. This country would have been a failed state more than 45 yrs ago but for God’s grace. Even today there are signs everywhere that we should have been at each other’s jugular by now. The way God has kept Nigeria going should be reason why you should ask God to pilot you through the future maze.
After Youth Service you may secure a job in a bank, an oil company, a telecom or multinational company. At that stage you are just starting what you call a” career”. Everyone including your parents will rejoice with you. You might eventually have a nice car, a fine house, a beautiful wife or a handsome husband and productive children to go along with the job. This is the prayer for you by your parents and everyone wishing you well today. But what if you cannot secure a job or the type of job you want? What are you going to do? You must start to ask yourself that question from now. How would you know if God has a hand in it? How would you know if it is God’s wish that you develop a particular talent or vocational aptitude he has programmed in your DNA which had been indicated to you all along without your paying due attention? In the case of this speaker i first became a Chartered Accountant before realizing that my God-given natural habitat is education.
You must start to ponder on these matters from now. All those fine houses and good “rides” you see on Nigeria movies are not there for your taking. What if it’s God’s plan that you go on a mission to Southern Sudan, Ivory Coast or Rwanda? Are you going to measure your success in life by the number of houses at Lekki or cars parked in your garage or by the number of souls you are able to deliver?
Whatever career you start with is not as important as what you are going to retire with at the end zone. On the whole pray to God that whatever you do, the number of lives you are going to touch positively will be what will be used to judge your achievements in life. Amen.
RELATIONSHIPS (GOD / FAMILY / OTHERS)
At this juncture I wish to quote copiously from the suggestions I gave to graduating students of Mason College in the recent past.
“As you leave you must accept God with all your hearts. Do not leave (LISS) and be found in the midst of atheists who believe they are accidents of nature. Avoid evil company. There is no such thing as white devil. Avoid cultism. There is no positive balance to you in joining such groups. Do not let us see your name or pictures in the papers as one of those arrested for cultism or who died from such. Don’t give deep pains and anguish to your parents and school.
Avoid liquor or it will destroy the genius that the Lord has given to you. Do not swear by Heaven for it is God’s throne. Do not glamorize violence. The Bible says those who live by the sword will perish by it. Remember God hates arrogance and vanity. And do not practice the act of deceit or 419. Beware nothing is enough to the man to whom “enough” is too little. Don’t be garrulous in your discussion. They talk most who have the least to say. Don’t be hypocritical. A bad man is worse when he pretends to be a saint. Don’t be idle. The Holy Bible says “go to the ants and be wise”.
Continuously educate yourself. Education is never ended. Ignorance is not a virtue or innocence. It is a sin. Reject it. Encourage and continually examine new ideas. Never let computer and its rapidly developing technology out of your mind. It is part of the human future which cannot be ignored. Your education will become obsolete if you neglect it whether you are a Law student or a Lawyer. As an Engineering student or as an Engineer, always think constantly on how you can apply computer knowledge to your studies, vocation or profession.
Don’t be flatterers. You cannot be a friend and a flatterer at the same time. Care for others not by your words but by your deeds. Be charitable and feel for others through your pockets too. Encourage others when you lead them even after you correct them. Remember all of us are equal before God, even those we regard as servants. Be examples to others. The Holy Book says you are better by deeds than by precepts. By the way a precept means a rule on how to behave. In dealing with subordinates remember that to err is human and to forgive is divine.
At LISS you were taught that honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom. To your employers be faithful and loyal, same to your friends and family. Shakespeare says “to thy self be true”. Yes honesty can sometimes be painful. But remember “no pain no palm, no thorn no throne, no cross no crown”. The Bible says keep God in mind always when you are young. Meditate and pray constantly. There is no other way. Blissful are the simple for they shall have much peace.
Be courageous in your human endeavors. Courage is the fear that has said its prayers. Listen always before you answer. Avoid mob opinions. The mob has many heads but no brain. Today as you go forth I dare you to be different if and when you have to. Only God holds our lives in his hands. He alone knows our future. Be optimistic always. Always keep your eyes on the doughnut and not on the hole.
If God puts you in positions of leadership within or outside the church, remember that you must learn to work with others. If you become a hall leader in your universities you must learn to appreciate the spirit of cooperation with others. When you go for Youth Service or start work thereafter these words will become clearer and more relevant.
As previously mentioned start thinking more about becoming an employer of labor instead of being an employee or going around looking for jobs. Ask God to reveal your DNA connected environment to you that will be your habitat of prosperity. Spend some time to learn the basics of any profession you belong to. Grab each detail and apply your mind to it while you are in pupilage. Thereafter go as directed by God and God will add water, manure and other minerals nutrient to your seeds of honest endeavor.
You must also respect your environment. Do not encourage dirt or filth wherever you stay. Where ever you might be create some oxygen by planting flowers in your homes or at your place of work.
You must restrict your use of Pidgin English to places like local markets, mechanics’ workshops etc .Even though it has become the lingua franca of your colleagues and our university students generally ensure that you are what your school expects-A TOTAL MAN OR A TOTAL WOMAN. For this same purpose Covenant University calls its students future kings and queens.
I have more news for you boys. Respect your wives and avoid polygamy even if you are rich to marry many of them .When you marry two women you will be a slave to two masters.
Build up a reference library in your homes with books and the WEBRARY that is available on you system. When planning your future home please remember that a library should be a very important integral part of it.
Don’t be extravagant about things that are not spiritually based or God-connected. But continually educate yourselves through Newspapers, Magazines, Novels & Self-help Books. Read Shakespeare. Have a complete volume on your shelves. Read and appreciates poetry .it will help you understand the Bible the more especially King James Version. Remember to shave your beard of pride each day and as regularly as you must.
Above all, encourage and join others to form a closely-knitted alumni of LISS through which you must continue to bond and support yourselves closely throughout your lives. Some of you may become billionaires while others may not to be so well endowed. Some of you might be ministering at Aso Rock or in Rwanda or Ivory Coast. But remember your alma mater and the fact that you will always remain the same to school. Remember that your relationships at LISS cannot be erased by time, marriage, positions in life, riches, poverty or even death. I urge you today to see yourselves as siblings acting in unity on all good things especially in the vineyard of our Almighty Father. May the good lord develop you to be excellent ambassadors of your school and humble children and citizens of your parents and country. AMEN”
Well, the market is coming to an end, boys and girls. The buyers and sellers will be going home soon. But the coming morning will yield to you new lives in higher institutions of learning, we pray. May God be with you until we meet again. AMEN.
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