(picture:Vice-Chancellor,Njala University, Prof,Abu Sesay;Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Dr.Felixtina Jonsyn-Ellis; National Leader of All Progressives Congress,Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu;Pro- Chancellor Njala University ,Dr .Sandy Bockarie;during a Confermention Award of Honorary Doctorate Degree at NjalaUniversity ,Freetown,Sierra-Leone; Photo;Taiwo Okanlawon)
Sierra Leone and the campus of Njala University, best rated University in Sierra Leone lit up for Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the former governor of Lagos State on Saturday February 15th, 2014 as he stepped forward to be honored with honorary Doctorate degree of Civil Laws, (Honoris Causa) by the 50 -year old institution. The University court said it picked Tinubu for the award because of his contributions to the deepening of democracy in Nigeria and the sub-region and also because of the tremendous transformation he brought to Lagos while he was governor. Njala University contends that Tinubu towers above many people considered and remains active in public service. Tinubu’s virtues, political exploits, intellectual acumen and strategic thinking came in for mentioning by the university even as the over 1, 550 graduands clapped. The University described him as a great son of Africa.
Tinubu, read an acceptance speech titled-The Best is Yet to Come- to the applause of
the audience. In his remarks, Tinubu saluted the comeback spirit of the people of Sierra Leone, a country that has risen from the ashes of war to a new vista of rebuilding their lives and their country. “From the ash and dust of war, you have stepped forward. A small nation engulfed by such a big war. You persevered, defying the odds and resurrecting and steering yourselves toward hope and peace. As a nation, you have stepped forward. You, as individuals, have stepped forward”.
The former governor of Lagos State asserted that Sierra Leone has stepped forward after years of deaths and destruction and the best is yet to come as the people rebuild their lives and their country. He rallied them to a new cause. “Sierra Leone, no nation, no people ought to have suffered as you have. You teetered on the brink of extinction. Yet with some help from your friends, you averted disaster when disaster seemed inevitable and permanent. You held fast to a thin ray of hope until it grew to fill the sky above the nation. Where there was nothing but breakage and destruction now is learning and the building of new buildings, new lives and new dreams. A new nation has risen from the old. Yes, scars and wounds from the battle are there but the spirit is a different one. It directs us toward a better future and away
from the bleak past. The worst has passed. The best is yet to come”.
The key to our future is by investing in education and the lives of the youths who are the limbs, the hands of our development, Africa will remain stagnant. Tinubu praised the University for the Quality Education it has continued to offer thousands of youth through the years and urged the institution to maintain a high standard.
He further harped on leadership and insisted that without good and committed leadership, Africa will continue to lag behind. ”What I see here encourages me. What I see beginning to evolve in this great country under the competent leadership of Ernest Bai Koroma. His commitment to change and good governance excites me. Old ways crumble.Old things pass away. Something new approaches. Oh yes, the best is yet to come.In Nigeria, a unique political movement is afoot and gains traction. Joining other progressive leaders, I recently helped establish the All Progressives Congress (APC). This is more than a political party or organization. It is a mission, a calling forth of the nation to realize its better self.
We realized that if Nigeria continues as is, it would soon collide into the barrier of its internal contradictions. A land of vast wealth yet vast penury. A people of great talent and energy but also of despair and unproductivity born of their jobless poverty. A land that exports the raw material that helps fuel, electrify and lubricates the global economy but one that lives more in darkness than in light.
We formed the APC so Nigerians from all walks of life and social station might gather under one tent to develop the nation on the basis of equity and shared prosperity. What we seek is a fair social compact that we may avoid social calamity”.
In conclusion, Tinubu weary of failure and worried that things might not get better, urges all to be committed to the same cause.“I have worked too hard and long for the progress of our people to countenance such a broken outcome. We must reform ourselves so that we can fully occupy the destiny our people deserve”.
Tinubu excited the University faculty, students, their parents and community when he announced a 5-year rolling scholarship for 50 indigent students of the Njala University and also donated a building to the rebuilding efforts of the University. He said he had no other
choice than to be part of rebuilding Sierra Leone, particularly a campus that was destroyed and abandoned for 15 years. He thanked the University for the honor awarded.
Njala University, marking its 50th anniversary was agog with over 6,000 people in attendance.