Homily Delivered at the Convocation Service of Federal University Lokoja (FUL) on 14th November, 2021 By Revd. Fr. Paul-Kolade Tubi, Chaplain, Catholic Chaplaincy, FUL
In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit + Amen.
In the mighty name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, I warmly welcome you all to this Convocation service. May the Holy Ghost recognize our presence, accept our praises and also plant His words in our hearts. Amen.
Song: All Hail the power of Jesus name
Bible text: Psalm 125:1, Those who put their trust in the Lord are like mount Zion, that cannot be shaken, that stands forever.
The Awesome God
Convocation is a milestone achievement in the life of any higher institution. It is the culmination of the entire efforts of parents, staff and students. A new life has opened for these young grdauates.
On occasions like it is good to make self-reflection. In a nation ridden with despondency, fear, hunger and instability, I wonder how we have succeeded in raising the bar of success in Federal University Lokoja to such an enviable height in so short a time? We say; Awesome God, we thank You. The Pro-chancellor, Chancellor, management, Vice Chancellor and his team and the entire staff, the onerous task of improving the national and global rating of the university is a monumental achievement, on which I commend you. In addition to the improved ranking, I have noticed that everyone is very busy these days in the university. The campuses, faculties, departments and all sections of the university have become beehives of activities.
Beloved in Christ, with trust in Almighty God, suddenly, ours have become a new song of justice, joy and peace. If I look at the past few years ago, I cannot but give praise to God for this unprecedented peace that has descended on the university. Awesome God, we thank You. The Talibans and the Crusaders, the Checkmates and Humanity first, and all contending groups etc., have returned their swords into the scabbards. All we can say is ALLELUIA, and TO GOD BE THE GLORY. We pray that these swords will not be drawn out again. The Bible recommends in a powerful way in Psalm 133, verse 1, that unity is indispensable in human community. The original words in Hebrew are; “hin-neh mah to-wb, umah na-im, sebet ahim gam ya-had” (How good and pleasant it is, when brethren dwell together in unity”, (Psalm 133:1)). This biblical text underscores the fact that there is no alternative to justice and peace.
I also place on record the synergy that exists between all segments of the university. May this reign of peace continue unabated in Jesus name. Amen. With trust in our awesome God, peace shall endure. Amen.
We are celebrating the faithfulness of God. We say; to God be the glory.
The Graduands and Students
Dear children, I can vividly recollect when you formally resumed to this university. The processes of molding you to whom you are today were accomplished by God through your lecturers, staff and parents. We must thank them for this singular important task of your lives. Dear graduands, in your lives are reflected the awesomeness of God.
In ideal and saner climes, what Professor Toyin Falola observed succinctly saying, “… graduates are generally more financially successful than people of their age who did not acquire higher education”, is the truth. That was what we thought, until religiosity become the most successful job in Nigeria. How can these graduates and even those millions before them, get financial leverage in a nation where churches are more than industries, and mosques are more than factories? In the same vein, according Professor Falola, “Education liberates the human mind” and “education engenders critical thinking and self-reflection”. That was what we thought, until in Nigeria, seasoned academics abandoned critical thinking and becomes disciples of prosperity preachers. It is to this type of world that these young graduates are been released. In this nation, the most sort after job is the priesthood of all religions.
As you go, I charge you, never forget your Alma Mata. In years to come, you ought to think of investing back into this university. Also, appreciate your lecturers and staff. They have been part of your lives. This undeniable fact cannot be erased from your life’s journey. Those who were good to you, have been used by God to elevate you and those whom you think weren’t good to you, have also been used to drill you and fortify you. The Bible says, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another”, (Proverbs 27:17)..
An important charge, I give you is that you should have immense love for your Creator. The inspired biblical writer of Ecclesiastes (12: 1), states; Memento creator rui (Remember your creator while you are young). It will do you a lot of good to do so. You will soon realize, as life goes on, that the human heart is restless. The vagaries of life are intimidating. Thus, according to St Augustine, “Our hearts were made for You, O Lord, and they are restless until they rest in You”. Dear children, the world and its allurements cannot offer you rest. You are in constant need of your Creator. Hold on to Him.
Beloved in Christ, I urge you; Don’t lose Christ amidst the struggles of the world, wherever the tides take you, hold on to Jesus. The word of God enjoins us in 1 Thessalonians 5:9-10, “God chose us to possess salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us in order that we might live together with Him, whether we are alive or dead when he comes”. In Romans 11:36, we are told, “For all things were created by Him, and all things exist through Him and for Him”.
The journey is long. Max Lucado says, “God never said that the journey would be easy, but He did say that, the arrival would be worthwhile”. Jesus emphatically states, “Carry your cross and follow me”. Don’t be fooled by the words of motivational speakers. I tell you the plain truth; the journey is long.
Dear graduands and students, be focused. Aim high. And live a well-ordered lifestyle. The Bible says, “Look anxiously to the ordering of your lives while your stay on earth lasts” (1 Peter 1:17). There is no alternative to an ordered life.
Let me tell you of someone who lived an ordered life and what he accomplished. At 18 years Alexander the Great has conquered the entire known world of his time and searching for peoples and lands to fight and conquer, he wept when he found none. He exclaimed, “Are there no worlds that I might conquer?” My beloved children, become conquerors. According to St. Catherine of Siena, “Nothing great is ever achieved without enduring much”.
We are releasing you as eagles that will soar high. Imprint the motto of the university into your minds: Ad Astra (aim at the sky). Aim high. Go and conquer, my beloved children in Christ. With trust in God you will rule the world.
Esteemed staff members of the university community, these graduands are the fruits of your immense labour. You have molded them. Impressionable as they were, your presence in their lives have made an indelible mark. May your labour not be in vain. Amen.
Our elders say, alagemo ti bi omo re tan, aile jo ku si wo re” (the masquerade have sired a child, if it cannot dance, fault is not with the parents).
It is a clear sign of your thoroughness and the depth of your scholarship, that no graduate of FUL can give a testimony and say, “I did not go for lectures and didn’t read, but passed my examination”. Such testimonies have no place in this university. Even, it has no biblical foundation. But that is what hear these days as testimonies.
Dear colleagues, with trust in God, we are moving on despite IPPIS, and other challenges.
The Parents/Guardians and the worshipping community
The parents and guardians, we congratulate you. These children, I am proud to say, have been formed in learning and morals in one of the best universities. Every certificate has been earned. They will be proud that their sweat and perspiration carried them thus far. Dereliction of duties is praised in our churches as testimonies. “I claim it in Jesus name”, does not work in such situations in this university. Students don’t claim success here, without rigorous intellectual effort. In FUL, students earn their scores by studying.
The university management has released your children and wards to you, formed and molded in learning and character. May their future be great in Jesus name. amen.
Youths and children who are worshipping with us, I say to you; You must embrace perspiration and prayers. I urge you to labour and sweat to the point of honour. Success depends on perspiration essentially, supported by prayers. Let our youth discover the dignity of sweat and labour. Prayer alone wouldn’t achieve much. One thousand Alleluias cannot earn you a university degree.
Dear members of the worshiping community, let us commend by our prayers these fresh graduates to God’s grace. We appreciate what God have helped you to implant in them. With trust in God these graduates will do exploits.
The Governing Council and Management
The members of the Governing Council and management, we congratulate you for this occasion. The university system is a continuum, therefore, we recognize your exceptional progress and as well as those before you. With dedication, you are increasing the achievements of the institution. I must say that your own peculiarities are quite noticeable. You are breaking new frontiers in development and academics. In a clime like this, I wonder how you have succeeded in raising the bar of success in the university. We notice the improved rating of the university. The commencement of new departments and various academic programmes, the movement to Felele campus and the various projects going on and the new ones that are initiated. Again, I reiterate that everyone is now very busy in this university. I am very pleased with the movement of administrative and academic activities to Felele campus. It has no alternative.
The Vice Chancellor sir, I wish to draw your attention to two points for consideration:
- Be resolute in pursuing your goals. Don’t be daunted. Stand on the promises of Christ.
- Take notice of Kogi’s tribalistic jingoism. It is impossible to avoid it. In this State, everything is measured and determined by one’s ethnic colourations. Our address is [email protected].
Avoid Kogi’s tribal traps. There are many tribalistic banana peels. Be watchful. With trust in God, your tenure will be fruitful.
The Governing Council, management, staff and students, we praise God for you as you partake in this worship. I thank the chaplain and members of the Chapel of Grace who put this joint service together. Pastor Ajibade, we cherish you, your beloved family and your team.
I now commend the Governing Council, management, staff and students to the grace of our awesome God in all your endeavours. I solemnly invoke divine favours on the graduands, that they will all move to the next level of their lives. Amen. I ask God to bless all who are gathered here. May God perfect whatever concerns all of you. Amen.
May the next convocation be for us another moment of joy. Amen.
As we say, TO GOD BE THE GLORY. Awesome God, we thank You.
IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER AND OF THE SON AND OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.