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Valedictory Speech by Mariam Ibrahim, Best Graduating Student 2021/2022 Session Delivered at the 6 & 7'' Combined Convocation on Sat, Oct 21, 2023



The Visitor,

The Chancellor, Federal University Lokoja,

The Vice-Chancellor and other members of the Management Committee,

Kindly permit me to stand on the already well-established protocol.

Valedictory Address on behalf of the Graduating Students of the 7th Convocation

With deep appreciation and overwhelming pride, I stand, with a huge eulogy, to address you today on the occasion of our esteemed university's combined 6th and 7th convocation. My intention is not to merely recount my individual journey but to narrate a story of collective resilience, unity, and personal development. As we embark on this journey of reflection, I am reminded of the rich tapestry of experiences that have collectively woven us into the remarkable individuals we have become.

Becoming the valedictorian of the 7th Convocation of our dearly beloved University was a dream I never dared to envision when I first set foot within the hallowed gates of this prestigious Institution. The bustling campus life left me in awe, marking my first venture far from home. The liberty was exhilarating, yet it was equally balanced with the sage advice I carried from my traditional Nigerian upbringing - "Remember your roots and heritage, which literally means tamayi iza mau hure ve in Ebira dialect."

These words served as my guiding star, a constant reminder of my identity as the first child of Mr. Suleiman Ibrahim and Mrs. Khadijat Ibrahim, who may not have had formal education but held a fervent belief in the power of knowledge. Their values have become my compass, guiding me on this remarkable journey.

Let me begin this chapter of my speech titled "Finding My Purpose" by acknowledging that my path has been paved with failures, serving as poignant reminders that even the tiniest victories are worth celebrating. I embarked on my academic journey with a singular aim - to explore the art of learning with unwavering dedication. It was an enlightening period, marked by the absorption of an abundance of knowledge. I was a stranger to the grading system, and my family lacked experienced scholars to lean on for guidance. It is to the gift of those who unwaveringly stood by my side that I owe my deepest appreciation. You have been my guiding light, offering steadfast support and imparting in me the resilience to persist through adversities. My journey has taught me that purpose is an unceasing cycle of learning from mistakes, refining one's path, and perpetually improving to excel in the game of life.

The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted global socio-interpersonal dynamics, compelling us to adapt to an unprecedented "new normal." However, our resilience as a cohort shone bright. We learned a critical life skill that classrooms cannot teach: the capacity to adapt, endure, and rebound from experiences. In the midst of the pandemic, I had the honor of representing our institution in the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Equity Research Challenge 2023, propelling us to the national level on our maiden attempt. This achievement would not have been possible without the unwavering belief and support of... Read the full text here