Wednesday, 9 November 2016

OAU 2016 Convocation: Who Are Those Elujoba Will Be Convoking?

I waited for so long to know who Tunde’s sister, aunty Oyinkansola will be getting married to. My absence from home most times because of school works made me miss meeting with Uncle Felix whenever he comes visiting.

He isn’t based in Nigeria, but from what Tunde told me the last time we saw each other, he [Felix] has been in the country since last week, and he finally left for Madrid, Spain only three days before I returned from school. I missed another chance of meeting him again!

Just like the Yoruba people put it, I believed ‘egberun Saamu o le sa mo Olorun lowo,’ I was so sure I was going to meet Uncle Felix soon since the Introduction ceremony was just three weeks away.

Unknowingly to my poor self, Tunde’s family had something ‘weird’ in stock. On that fateful morning, having left campus a day before, stabbing my Botany laboratory class, I realized this runaway Uncle Felix won’t be coming for his own Introduction ceremony. Now, you can relate to why I said ‘weird’. He was represented by a medium-sized portrait framed picture of himself. I was once again denied a feel of who he was.

The same experience seems to be playing out in my beloved alma mata. Some days ago, the Obafemi Awolowo University finally announced its 42nd Convocation ceremony. According to the information on the institution’s website, the programme of events lined up for the annual ceremony will run from Wednesday, December 7, 2016 to Friday, December 9, 2016.

Just like recent ones, this year’s convocation isn’t different. Only the members of the 2014/2015 graduating class are supposed to be convoking for the event since there is no deficit graduating set that is yet to be convoked. However, viewing from some standpoints, questions are being asked if the ceremony is actually meant for this set of people – the 2014/2015 graduating set.

Professor Anthony Elujoba’s vice chancellorship of the institution came with many hopes and expectation. It didn’t take much time before its effect, or perhaps the goodwill that accompanied his emergence started to manifest and being felt by students.

For the first time since I got familiar with OAU, students had a lecture-free day for the matriculation ceremony. That was impressive for me. On the same day I was matriculated some years back, I had to attend a laboratory class alongside the ceremony. So when I heard this year’s development, I could not help it but ask myself in 3 Idiot’s Silencer style if OAU is gradually moving away from its archaic ‘screwing’ mode, all in the name of doing things differently, just to prove a point that the school is tough. That is not the topic for today, maybe next time.

Graduating students were not left out in the newness arguably brought over by Elujoba. I can’t vividly recall the last time graduating students were presented for the compulsory Youth Service the same year they graduated. But this time, most of those who finished upon the completion of the 2014/2015 academic session will be mobilized by the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) in a couple of weeks.

In all honesty, I had zeroed my mind for Youth Service this year, upon the advice offered me by my senior colleagues. I remember Walexy constantly told me as I rounded up my final year project to look for something to keep me busy till next year when Service would be realistic.

Now, it looks like the unexpected and forthcoming mobilization for Service is not coming without a price for the lucky OAU graduands, in fact a huge one and the price here is the ‘convocation events’.

NYSC had released its 2016 Batch ‘B’ time-table over a month ago and the 3-week orientation course, otherwise known as ‘camp’ for Prospective Corps Members (PCMs) will begin November 24 and end December 14. Don’t forget OAU’s convocation which is meant for the same PCMs has been announced for December 7 – 9. I believe you understand what that means. Apparently, you are going to ask yourself that the OAU 2016 Convocation is for which graduands then?

For the soon-to-be corps members to be able to attend the convocation ceremony, they’ll have to secure permission from their various camp locations. This is worrisome because of the risk and expenses this may come with.

For instance, if I am posted to Taraba state, apart from about N25,000 that i’ll have to look for in this recession time for my transport fare to and fro my camp base, I also risk travelling on the bad and unsafe Nigerian roads. But why are we doing this to ourselves?

You may want to say it is not compulsory to attend, but I want to ask if that is the same opinion shared by the university management. If it is not necessary for these students to attend their own convocation ceremony, then why is it in place in the first place when the feasibility of attendance is obviously straining?

The University of Ibadan fixed its convocation events for November 11-17. The Federal University of Technology, Akure had its own planned for November 19. Some other schools will have theirs next year when the orientation course is over. They all considered the availability of those graduating students.

I want to be present in my own convocation events. I don’t just want to pay for what I won’t be part of. I only hope the Elujobic effect comes into action once again. I know it may be difficult to change the dates because of the many arrangements already in place, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t possible. Orientation course ends December 14 and OAU can have its convocation after then in order to avoid the avoidable and stories that touch afterwards.

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  1. You are right. I would love to be at the convocation ceremony. I'v even canceled all the plans my parents have been making Bcoz of d date d convocation falls in. Moreover, I can't risk my life bcos of convocation on d antidulivian Road we have been using for ages in 9ja.

  2. That's it. No one will risk his/her life to attend a convocation ceremony that will last some minutes. I hope the school consider this.