Parents, Family and the Phenomenal Covid-19 classes of 2020 and 2021, Ladies and Gentlemen, Good Morning!
Nnoo, Kaabo, Barka Da Zuwa, Bein Venu, Jabamma, and Welcome to the first day of the rest of our lives.
Class of 2021, It seems just like yesterday we stepped into AUN. Young and tender foals; today look at us emerging as strong, majestic Stallions; Confident and well Equipped ---- Ready to conquer the world.
I look at all the beautiful faces of strangers turned family and I can’t help but ask – WHO DEY BREET???? I say WHO DEY BREET??? Ahhh... E Choke!
After four years of laughter in the dorms, presentations in Dr. Agatha’s Classes, Dr. Ash’s emails, and heated debates in Paddy Fays courses, and of course the special phobia for 11:59 pm! After the Pandemic that threw the world off balance, teaching us all social distancing, and isolation forcing us to go “Zoom, Zoom, Zoom”! After all this, we have arrived at our graduation, Yes we made it! And I can boldly say we didn’t just exist, we lived through AUN and left our footprints on the soil of AUN
Permit me to share my AUN story in a nutshell. From the onset, AUN was never an option because I nursed ambitions to have a career in aviation. But then, AUN happened. So on coming to AUN, I came with just one plan – To live a quiet life, mind my business, and graduate – Well, AUN changed all of that! I went from the Nonchalant Freshman in my first semester, to being an SGA Dorm Senator, Community Service Leader, an ELA Ambassador, a Member of the Judicial Council and a host of other responsibilities that transformed me into the strong and ambitious young woman who stands here today! Truly a lot can happen in four years.
Talking about change of plans! Yes, I earlier had ambitions to fly someday; Today, I tell you that Fly I shall, because AUN has equipped me, and all others who will walk across this stage today to fly; In the words of the great philosopher, Nicki Minaj, We came to win, to fight, to conquer, to rise….. to fly! And we shall fly, because we leave this hall today with the AUN dream, the AUN story, the AUN voice, and indeed the AUN experience!
Class of 2021, my message to you today is a challenge. I challenge us to be different from our generation! To go out there and continue to live, not just simply exist! To walk tall, but be humble, to see our worth and the worth of others, and amidst all that is happening in the world today to always remember as we have been taught in AUN - that there is strength in unity and beauty in diversity!
As Ralph Emerson said, truly what lies behind us and what lies ahead of us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.
Today, we cannot forget to be grateful to those who made our AUN experience possible.
To Our Founder, His Excellency, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, thank you for enabling us to stop wanting change and begin to create it! In light all of all the happenings today I want to end my thank you to you, your Excellency with a quote by Malala Youshafzai – With Guns you can kill terrorist, with education you can kill terrorism, much still with education you can kill poverty, insecurity, hunger, and all other ailments that plague our society and the world today, and education is what you, your Excellency, have equipped us with.
To all the parents of the class of 2021, I want to assure you that you have made an investment decision with the highest return on investment possible.
To my Father Arc. Iliya Mamman thank you for all your sacrifices to make my stand on this podium possible.
To my Mother Hon. Gladys Mamman who knew the value of a quality education and homeschooled my siblings and I; thank you for always encouraging me to reach for my dreams.
To My eldest Siblings Godiya Paya & Kyauta Olaniyan, thank you for teaching me to do ordinary things in spectacular ways.
To Murna Naomi Mamman, the AUN Class Speaker of 2017, thank you for making my transition into AUN seamless, and for all the friends I inherited from you!
To Idris Iliya Mamman, the AUN Student Government President of 2017-2018, thank you for teaching me the value of service to fellow students and humanity.
To my AUN Squad and family Oyine, Fawziyyah, Sophia, Joke, Rebbeca, Falmata, Faith, Abouma, Yumana, Ojiechezona, Jamila, Princess Attah and all my other friends. You are friends turned family and I can’t wait for the amazing things we are set to achieve in life.
To the President Dr. Margee Ensign and Vice Presidents, thank you for making the founders dream a working reality.
To Dean Byron Bullock, thank you for the priceless mentorship that has transformed us into the leaders we have become, and of course we can’t forget the free meals at your house. We see far by standing on the shoulders of giants - You have proven to be a giant on whose shoulder we shall stand tall.
To Mr. Bello, and the entire Res life staff thank you for making sure we were always comfortable.
To the exceptional AUN faculty and staff; Truly you have shown us what it takes to succeed through your energetic approach and in instilling excellent character in us! THANK YOU
Class of 2021, Can you all kindly stand up!
Ladies and Gentlemen, standing before today you are Africa’s Heroes’ and incubations of His Excellency, Atiku Abubakar, The future Jeff Bezo’s, Dangote's, Okonjo Iwealás, and Adeshina’s; the future Don Jazzy’s and Aisha Yesufu’s – Standing before you are Africa’s Future; I look at Odinaka Okemini and I see African Judicial Reforms, Yanice Akoh and I see the first Cameroonian Female President, Jaguar Abel and I see the new face of African Entertainment, Olugbenga Jacobs and I see the next Nobel Laureate, Progress, Mr. Everything Life and I see Narratives changed through YouTube Views to mention but a few.
I look at all your faces and I See stars, Stars that together form a constellation of success that inspires a galaxy of greatness - And we will be great because AUN has taught us to not just exist, but to live happy, impactful, and fulfilling lives! Let’s go forth, and make our dreams, not just Africa’s future, but the world’s future.
Kindly take your seats!
Thank you for listening, I am Abijah Gladys Mamman, May God bless you & God bless Nigeria!