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Address by the Class Speaker 2020 Raihanat Mohammed Monguno at the 12th Commencement Ceremony, on July 10, 2021

The Class of 2020, we are unique one! Just a few weeks before our much-anticipated graduation last year, the world went into an unprecedented lockdown. And if I were to think of a word to describe our time here, it will be: Unprecedented. I am certain we have heard this word numerous times over the last year. My intention is to connect this word with us all; We are unprecedented, because we are a graduating class that has experienced something never done before in the history of education.


Greetings to our esteemed dignitaries, distinguished members of the board of trustees, senior administrators, incredible faculty and staff, our co-graduating class of 2021, beloved parents, invited guests. Welcome to our campus, Nigeria’s best- kept secret. I am truly humbled to be standing in front of such a great audience to share my thoughts on our incredible journey and to be the voice of a remarkable set of achievers. The AUN Class of 2020.


A single email on a Friday morning brought an abrupt end to our 4-year journey at the AUN campus and threw us into a world of zoom classes, virtual exams and so much uncertainty. That’s unprecedented.

Despite trying periods however, we made it to the end and got to experience life after AUN before coming back to celebrate our achievement. Some of us got mobilized for National Youth Service. Some of us enrolled in masters programs. Some of us started working and some of us even launched new businesses. Yet here we are today, reuniting after unimaginable times. Class of 2020, permit me to say ‘the tassel is the worth the hassle.’ Indeed, it is a great feeling when your graduation is more like a reunion. Now that’s unprecedented!!!


We have no doubt attained a level of academic excellence and recognition that is the dream of many, but the reality of a few. According to UNICEF, 1 in every 5 of the world’s out-of-school children is Nigerian. It is a fact that no nation can thrive without education. In the words of our Founder Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, “We cannot grow Nigeria if we do not invest in Education” “Education is the principal thing, once we get that right, we will get Nigeria right”. We must therefore understand that we are privileged to be here. Today should not mark the end, but rather the beginning of our pursuit of knowledge. The Greek philosopher Socrates once said that “The only thing I know is that I know nothing.” The wisdom behind this statement is that there is so much more to learn and that knowledge knows no boundaries.  Therefore, the most important part of our education here at AUN is learning how to learn.


We’ve had an exhilarating journey…...I wouldn’t know where to begin from. Only in AUN, could you be addressing dignitaries such as Samantha Power of the United Nations by day and be jamming up to your Wande Coal concert at night; You could be at a Halloween hunted house but the scariest thing on your mind is Dr Ajayi’s statistics exams the following morning; You could be at our grand cafeteria where N50 is wayyyy more valuable than a N1000; You could be Yusuf Ayman debating for Student president at the auditorium or you could be our all-girls team Number Two emerging as global finalists in the Hult Prize Competition; You could be battling numerous overrides, overloads and undecided moments (btw you really can be undecided about your major here at AUN); You could be at a silent rave dancing to lyrics you did not understand in the song called “man’s not hot” or you could have Nollywood veteran actor Sadiq Daba (May his soul rest in peace) show up on campus and decide to be your instructor for a day. You could be me, Maihanat at the United Nations conference in New York where my delegation and I participated in a rigorous simulation process with students from Harvard, Princeton, and numerous other top universities but come out with an honorable delegation award.


My point is we could be anything because this university an incubator of visionaries. We could rise like the AUN stallions that we are because we do not have to wait until we are graduates to turn our dreams into reality.


To the incredible faculty who have taught us with dedication and passion, we will forever cherish the teachings and wisdom you have shared with us. Dr Lucky Imade who will drill you until he’s sure you are a “Super Jumbo” student. To my Math Instructor Dr Olumoh who gave me my first and only F grade in life my very first semester at AUN. He said to me “there is no failure except in no longer trying Maihanat”. Thank you for believing in me Dr Olumoh because we did turn that F into an A grade the following semester. To Dr Ash, you were not only an outstanding instructor, but a great mentor, guardian and friend.


I must not proceed without congratulating Dr Margee Ensign on her reappointment as the AUN President. I will leave these gates confident that my Alma Mater is in safe hands with you. To our dean of students Byron Bullock, the monthly “dinner on me” you host taught us an essential lesson. “Reply to your emails on time” I am sure I speak for many members of both graduating classes you owe us a final dinner before we leave Yola. Lionel Rawlins and his entire security team you have no doubt made AUN the most secure campus. To the American University of Nigeria and its entire community, I cannot mention all of you by name but I want you to know that I am truly grateful for every lesson I have learnt, for without you I will not be standing here today.



To my amazing parents Mohammed and Zainab Monguno, you will forever be the beaming light in my life. To my beautiful brothers, you are my strongest pillars of support. Parents and faculty, look around and witness the beauty you helped nurture. a garden of knowledge that will continue to yield bountiful fruits. Thank you for educating, supporting and believing in us. For this, there is no reward that will ever be enough.



Outside this hall lies the real world... Today our country is at a crossroads. Poverty, insecurity and a weakening economy are key issues. Looking into the future, our primary focus should be the advancement of our country and of our people. As a graduate of this prestigious institution, The American University of Nigeria, my speech wouldn’t be complete without an giving American quote. So, as JF Kennedy once said, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country” “If not us then who, if not now then when” So we must act now, for knowledge comes great responsibility.


Everything about you class of 2020 is unprecedented, because for the first time in the history of the American University of Nigeria, your class speaker can give a review of what life after AUN is. You see, unlike AUN, there is no core curriculum or syllabus in the real world, the whole place is just a free elective. So go, make your choices and never stop learning. As the AUN saying goes “the best is yet to come” We will stand on a far bigger stage to share our success stories,


As we leave these gates, we will carry fond memories in our hearts and all the friends we have gained through the years. May the wind always be at your back, and the sun always upon your face, and may the winds of destiny carry you aloft to dance the stars. Goodluck and Goodbye.

Raihanat Mohammed Monguno