Convocation Ceremony

Speech by the Founder, Chief Kola Daisi, CON, Bashorun of Ibadanland at his Installation as the First Chancellor of KolaDaisi University, Ibadan, on Thursday, 04 November, 2021



I give thanks to the Almighty God for giving me grace to witness today’s epoch-making event heralding my installation as the Chancellor of KolaDaisi University, Ibadan.  The blessings of God come at different times to mankind.  People attain greatness/glory at different ages; 20, 30, 40, 50, 60 and so on, mine came in natural order, remarkably at the 90th year of my sojourn in life.  I cannot find any other time more auspicious for this honour than this day and event.  This occasion is historical and significant in my life, as it marks the climax and glorious landmark in my life.

It is a honour to address this great audience as the First Chancellor of KDU.  I am grateful to see so many of you in this hall to celebrateChief Kola Daisi, CON, Chancellor this occasion.  I am grateful to God for all blessings bestowed on me, since I didn’t bring anything to this world and certainly I am not going to take anything along when I depart this world, giving back to my community, my state and my country have always been my pre-concerned decisions in life.

First and foremost, I thank my late parents Papa Shittu Ajeigbe Ojuolape Ayinde Kudaisi and Mama Alhaja Ayisatu Segilola Abebi Kudaisi, neither of whom saw the inside of  any western model school setting, yet sponsored my education.

KDU is a symbol of my life as it serves the essence of living.  It is not a challenge, but a commitment and contribution to humanity.  I humbly remember my late wife; Chief Alhaja Sherifat Agbeke Kola Daisi MFR, for her support and contribution towards what I have become today, may her gentle soul rest in perfect peace.  I also appreciate the support of all my children in the actualization of this project.

I would like to appreciate Your Excellency, the Vice President of Federal Republic of Nigeria, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, GCON for gracing this occasion and deliver the Maiden Convocation lecture.  It is an honour to me personally, and the University as an entity.  We are indeed privileged to host you today.

Oyo State government’s role in the actualization of the siting of the University is worth mentioning.  Your Excellency, Governor Seyi Makinde, I pray, your tenure will continue to witness the desire growth of our dear State.

I thank the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Governing Council, Prof. Adeniyi Osuntogun OFR, who also doubles as the Chairman KolaDaisi Foundation (KDF) for his invaluable role in taking the KDF to its present level with significant feat leading to the founding of this University.

I must not forget to appreciate members of Board of Trustees, most especially the pioneer Chairman of thee BOT, Late Emeritus Professor O. O. Akinkugbe, who successfully steered the affairs of the University, till his last days. Even after his demise, his contribution still continues as evident in the endowment of a prize today, to the best student in Economics, in his honour as contained in his Will. I am very grateful to the family for keeping his legacy of a good name on.

I also appreciate the members of the Governing Council for their invaluable contribution which has resulted in this significant event.

I thank my bosom friend Otunba Subomi Balogun and his wife, friends and relatives for their steadfast support over the years.  I must reiterate that of all complexity dictating lives, my career paths and businesses dovetailed in the establishment of KolaDaisi University (KDU).  KDU being a private University is set up to provide qualitative education for the Nigerian youths. I pray that students that had passed and will pass through this institution will be noted for academic excellence and impeccable character.  I also pray that their performances shall speak for them in all their endeavours.

In accordance with the Vision Statement of our University to be a world-class institution for excellence in the production of graduates, able to respond to the socio-economic needs of a knowledge-driven economy, the University is striving to nurture graduates with high employability attributes and competencies to help transform our country into global reckoning and position of pride in all human endeavours. My words of inspiration to the Graduands of today is to dream high, aim high and work hard in life in order to accomplish their goals. As the pioneer graduates, I congratulate you all and I wish you good luck and success in all your future endeavours.  Be good ambassadors of your University – KDU-I.

As you constitute the Alumni Association, you should strive to project lofty ideas and give back to your Alma Mater.  I congratulate the proud parents and guardians for investing in these graduates, may the good Lord further provide abundantly for you, and may they continue to be sources of joy to you all. Your joy over them will be permanent.

KDU has been growing on a remarkable momentum.  Like many of my close associates, I have always been inspired by the history of this place.  Since our founding, five years ago, when we acquired 500 Acres of land, it was a thick forest, but gradually through the special grace of God, we have been transforming it to a living habitat.  It is my hope that what started small will blossom to become an international institution of repute.  As stakeholders, now we have the opportunity and responsibility to define our University’s future.  Over the years, public universities have been playing a major role in the development of Nigerian society and our economy, but in recent years, there has been a steady rise in the establishment of private universities providing veritable platform and access to higher education for many vibrant, intelligent youths.  I believe that an educated society is essential to a successful democracy.  In this era of technology, it is most likely and very certain too that 70% of jobs in our future economy will require university education.

To commemorate this occasion and to further enhance quality, to attain excellence and distinction, I endow the sum of N1, 000,000,000.00 (One billion naira only) to KolaDaisi University, Ibadan.  This endowment will serve as a start up in furtherance of achieving future steady steps towards attaining the desired world-class status. I have always dreamt of establishing an Institution like Harvard, Oxford, Cambridge, etc which started like this before becoming the world-renowned Universities they are today and I pray that other friends and stakeholders will key-in into the actualisation of this lofty dream for the University.

Once again, I thank you all and congratulate the pioneer graduands who I will tag “Kola Daisi Gems”, for the attainment of the first degree in their various disciplines. For the prize awardees, I enjoin you to continue to soar and be great ambassadors of this great University, bringing positive goodwill to your alma mater.

Chief Kola Daisi, CON

Chancellor, KolaDaisi University, Ibadan



Your Excellency, the Vice President, Federal Republic of Nigeria, Professor Yemi Osinbajo SAN, GCON

Your Excellency, the Executive Governor of Oyo State, Engineer Seyi Makinde

The Honourable Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu

The Honourable Minister of Works and Housing    Mr. Raji Babatunde Fashola, SAN

The Honourable Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Architect Olamilekan Adegbite

Other members of the Federal and State Executive Councils here present

Your Excellency Engineer Abdul-Rauf Aderemi Olaniyan, Deputy Governor of Oyo State.

Your Excellencies, Members of the Diplomatic Corps

The Executive Secretary of the National University Commission, Professor Adamu Abubakar Rasheed

The Founder of Koladaisi University, Bashorun, Kola Daisi, CON

His Imperial Majesty, Oba Saliu Akanbi Adetunji, Aje Ogungunniso 1, Olubadan of Ibadanland

Other Royal Highnesses.

Members of Olubadan in Council

My Lords Spiritual and Temporal

Chairmen and members of Council of Chambers of Commerce

Members of Board of Trustees of Kola Daisi Foundation

Members of Board of Trustees of KolaDaisi University

Members of Governing Council of KolaDaisi University

Pro-Chancellors and Chairmen of Governing Councils of other Universities

The Vice Chancellor, KolaDaisi University, Professor Adeniyi Olatunbosun

Vice Chancellors of Other Universities

Members of Senate and Principal Officers of KolaDaisi University

Graduants of today

Very Distinguished and Proud Parents of Graduants

Distinguished Friends of the University

Staff and Students of KolaDaisi University

Gentlemen of the Press

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen

On behalf of the Founder of KolaDaisi   University, (KDU), Bashorun Kola Daisi, (CON), Board of Trustees, Council, Senate and Students of this University, I warmly welcome you all to this occasion.

We are delighted and we most heartily welcome, His Excellency, the Vice President, Federal Republic of Nigeria, Professor Yemi Osinbajo SAN, GCON. We express our appreciation to your Excellency for honouring our invitation to deliver the first convocation lecture of this University.

It is also our pleasure to welcome the Executive Governor of Oyo State for finding time to grace this occasion.

A very warm welcome to all parents and guardians of graduating students. We appreciate the sacrifice and investment that you have made on your children. We pray that God will reward you bountifully. (Amen).

We congratulate and rejoice with all our pioneer graduating students, 52 of them in number.

All our special guests, friends and well – wishers are warmly welcomed. We appreciate your joining us to celebrate the joy of this special day with us.

This convocation ceremony is unique and historic in many respects. First, it is the occasion of the installation of the Founder, Bashorun Kola Daisi CON, as the First Chancellor of this University.

Second, it is an occasion for the delivery of the first convocation lecture at KolaDaisi University.

And third it is the maiden convocation ceremony for the pioneer   graduating students of this Institution.

On behalf of the Board of Trustees, the Governing Council and the Staff and Students of this University, I congratulate the Founder and Proprietor of this Institution on, Bashorun Kola Daisi, on his installation as the Chancellor of this Institution.

The license for the establishment of this University was granted by the National Universities Commission in November. 2016. Since its establishment, the commitment of the Founder has been commendable in providing funds and resources for running of the University. This is in spite of his involvement in other philanthropic initiatives such as the Itunu Fund and the Community Health Development Project (which are executed in collaboration with the University College Hospital), the Youth Empowerment Programme and the Poverty Alleviation Scheme.

He has continuously provided for the development of infrastructure and other essential facilities to promote conducive learning environment in this University.

It is worthy of note that since the establishment of this University, staff salaries are paid regularly.  To be specific, KolaDaisi University remains one of the few universities in Nigeria that pay salaries as at when due.

In order to promote the sustainability of the University, an Endowment Fund has recently been established. The Founder, Bashorun Kola Daisi, has recently released the sum of one billion naira (N1,000,000,000) for the take-off of the Scheme.

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you for acknowledging the benevolence of the Founder and Proprietor of this University whose main objective of establishing this Institution is to leave a legacy.

I wish to acknowledge others that have contributed to make today’s occasion a reality. First in the list is  the Board of Trustees under the  Chairmanship of  Late Emeritus  Professor  Oladipo Akinkugbe.CON,CFR,NNOM.  The other members of the Board of Trustees  include His Royal Majesty (Oba) Abiodun Kola-Daisi, Chief Akin Delano, Chief (Mrs.) Ebun Delano, Chief Akin Olujimi SAN , Mrs. Olasumbo Obaseki, Chief Abiodun Salami and the Pro- Chancellor & Chairman of  the Governing Council.

I acknowledge the valuable contribution of   my   colleagues on the Governing Council of this Institution. They made their rich professional  and technical experience  readily available for  charting the path of developmenot  of this University. My colleagues on  Governing  Council include Professor Adeniyi .Olatunbosun, Vice-Chancellor, Hon. Justice Bukunola Adebiyi, Architect Olamilekan Adegbite, Professor Oladapo Afolabi, CFR, Professor Olufemi Bamiro, FAS, Dr. Odunlami Kola-Daisi, ,Mrs. Olasumbo Obaseki  Alhaji Oladiti Oladapo and Dr. Anthony Marinho .

We appreciate the commitment of  the  Principal Officers, Members of Senate and Academic and Non-Academic Staff of this University. We commend the Vice Chancellor, Professor Adeniyi  Olatunbosun  for his  visionary and quality leadership since his  assumption of duty.

We appreciate the contribution of the former Principal  Ofiicers of this University- Professor  Kolawole T. Jaiyeoba, Pioneer Vice Chancellor, Professor K.L. Ayorinde, immediate Past Vice Chacellor  and Mrs. Omotayo.O.  Ikotun, Pioneer Registrar.

The maiden convocation Lecture of this University will be delivered  by His Excellency, the Vice President, Federal Republic of Nigeria, Professor  Yemi  Osinbajo, SAN,GCON .who is well known to all Nigerians including all of us that are in this gathering. Details of his  background and professional accomplishments  are contained in the convocation programme  which we all have. The citation on His Excellency, Professor  Yemi  Osinbajo, SAN,GCON .,  will be made  later in this programme.

Once again, we express our deep  appreciation for your acceptance of our invitation to deliver the maiden Convocation Lecture.. In addition, we are more grateful that you are here, in person, to deliver the Lecture.

We heartily congratulate and rejoice with  all our pioneer  graduating students, and their parents and guardians, on successful completion of their degree  programmes.  You have been  found worthy, both   in character and in learning,  hence  you  are being awarded the prestigious degree of this great Institution  after four years of hard work and  perseverance.  Your   graduation marks an important  milestone in your lives . We pray that this achievement will be a stepping stone for greater attainment for you in years to come. You should note that university degrees  equip  graduants  with the competence to deal with the  ever- changing challenges of life. You,should, therefore,  be creative, be focused and be  diligent.  You should be determined and pursue excellence. With a  rapidly changing world economy , it is necessary that you should be dynamic in acquiring transformative knowledge in order to remain relevant .You should pursue the culture of discipline  and invest  your time, talents and resources into positive ventures.

You must always keep the flag of Koladaisi University flying. As pioneer  graduates, you must be  foundation members of KolaDaisi University Alumni Association.

I wish you all God’s guidance and the best in years ahead. May Almighty God order your steps as you go into the world. May  your aspirations come true. May your needs be met. In the name of Almighty God, you will all be successful in life.. Amen.

Your Excellencies, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen  thank you for your   attention.

Professor Adeniyi Osuntogun, OFR

Pro-Chancellor & Chairman of Governing Council

KolaDaisi University,  Ibadan.




 His Excellency, Vice President of Nigeria, Professor Yemi Osinbajo SAN, GCON

The Executive Governor of Oyo-State, His Excellency, Engineer Oluseyi Makinde, FNSE

The Chancellor and Founder- Chief Kola Daisi CON, the Bashorun of Ibadanland,
The Pro-Chancellor and Chairman, Governing Council, Prof. Adeniyi Osuntogun, OFR

Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission, Prof. Adamu Abubakar Rasheed mni, MFR, FNAL

Registrar, Joint Admissions & Matriculation Board (JAMB), Prof. Is-haq Oloyede, OFR, FNAL

Members of the Board of Trustees,

Members of the Governing Council,

Royal Fathers here present,

Public Affairs Officer, US Consulate General, Lagos, Mr. Stephen Ibelli,

Former Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission, Emeritus Prof. Julius Okojie

Visiting Vice Chancellors and Registrars,

The Acting Registrar,

The University Bursar,

Deans of Faculties,

Acting Dean, Student Affairs,

Acting Directors of Academic Programmes,

Other Members of Senate,

Other Members of the University Community,

My Lords Spritual and Temporal,

Invited Special Guests,

Friends and Associates of the Chancellor,

Parents and Guardians of Graduating Students,

The Graduands,

Gentlemen of the Press,

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen.

I give glory to the Almighty God for making this day a reality, as I join the Chancellor and Pro-Chancellor in welcoming you all to our great University to celebrate with us this milestone events of the installation of the first Chancellor and the maiden Convocation Ceremony. We are pleased to welcome you all and count it a great honour to having you great men and women from various spheres of life sitting in this hall to identify and show your support for our University.

I also specially welcome the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, a Legal luminary and erudite jurist, His Excellency, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, GCON, who has honoured us, not only with his presence, but is today delivering  the first Convocation Lecture.

On behalf of the Senate, Staff and Students of the KolaDaisi University, I humbly again welcome the Founder, Proprietor, Members, Board of Trustees and Governing Council, highly distinguished friends and family of the Founder and other eminent guests to this special occasion.

I heartily welcome our pioneer graduates to this ceremony. I congratulate you on your achievement and rejoice with you, your parents and guardians on this success. May it be the beginning of many good things to come. Let me reiterate here that the past four years have been your modelling stages. Each of the years marking a stage in the modelling process. Now, you have a modicum of what you need to accomplish your goals already deposited in you. As pioneer graduates, we expect you to register the University’s presence in the society with great and positive impact.

The University has been striving for quality education in all her programmes through raising the standard of staff employed and offering sabbatical appointments for senior academics in some of our programmes. Our activities in the University have therefore been guided by the University’s vision of being a world-class institution for excellence by producing graduates who will be able to respond to the socio-economic needs of a knowledge-driven economy.

The University has in place the infrastructure and equipment for teaching, learning and research. This has been followed by various collaborations and linkages with other educational institutions within and outside the country to place the University as a major player in the education sector in Nigeria and the world at large.

In this regard, permit me to highlight some of the University’s modest achievements in the core areas of academic research, local and international networking collaborations and partnerships.

  1. The University has invested in human resource development with resource verification and the accreditation exercises of the University by the Nigerian University Commission (NUC) in November, 2019 where all the eleven programmes presented were fully accredited. The exercises recorded a huge success as all the programmes presented received full endorsement of the NUC.
  2. The Faculty of Law has also been accredited by the Council of Legal Education after the approval of the NUC had been given for its commencement.
  3. The Public Affairs Officer and other staff of the United States Consulate General Office visited the University on Wednesday, 10 February, 2021 to verify facilities and personnel of the University with a possibility for networking and collaborations.
  4. The Consulate approved the Fulbright Exchange opportunities for students and staff of the University and the University has been granted the status to be a hosting institution for the US Fulbright Scholars on visit to KDU.
  5. The US consulate office Lagos on Wednesday, 06 October, 2021 donated over 224 volumes of books worth $24,000 on various courses being taught in the university.
  6. KDU signed a memorandum of engagement with EDU Alliance Group USA, a consortium firm providing services on management of higher education, leadership development, strategic planning and networking international partnership opportunities.
  7. The Central State University, Ohio, United States is partnering with KDU on exchange of senior academics and professors in the Law, Economics and Business Administration programmes to enhance quality teaching and research in these programmes.
  8. The University has instituted a working proposal with Florida University, USA to establish exchange programmes for students and staff.
  9. Through its networking and partnership arrangement with Media School of Indiana University, KDU received books on Mass Communication and Media Studies from the University.
  10. KDU is collaborating with Gime American University, Cyprus on dual and joint degree awards for undergraduate and postgraduate programmes.
  11. KDU is collaborating with Missouri State University, USA on academic partnership and dual degrees opportunities for students of both universities.
  12. KDU signed a MoU Agreement with Universiti Teknologi, MARA, Malaysia under the Faculty of Business Administration for academic research purposes.
  13. KDU is collaborating with Global Technology Knowledge corp. (GTK) located in Union City, NJ. GTK is being represented by Tsoriel Solutions Ltd in Nigeria, with the intent of fostering strategic partnerships. GTK provides high value knowledge based ecosystems through international cooperation and partnerships. The engagements between the two parties will focus on Research and Higher Education internationalization, creating international links and international projects between the two institutions.
  14. KDU signed agreement with Bredhub, an IcT outfit in the areas of Artificial Intelligence &Robotics.
  15. KDU signed MoU with New Horizon for digital skills empowerment and professional trainings leading to ICT certification for undergraduate students.
  16. KDU signed a MoU with University of Ibadan on collaboration and networking opportunies on areas of diverse interests for the purpose of expanding and providing high quality education relevant to globalized work
  17. KDU recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Chartered Institute of Management Accountants. CIMA is a global certification in accounting and the professional body is headquartered in the United Kingdom. KDU-I is the first University in Nigeria to sign an MOU with CIMA.
  18. The CIMA professional examination is open to all students offering any of the Social Sciences, Computer Sciences and Law degrees.  All registered candidates of CIMA will be given an opportunity to undertake Industrial Training in Blue Chip Companies and Global Audit Firms with the objective of getting the candidates acquitted with best global practices which culminates to gaining employment in reputable organisations.
  19. KDU is having a working realtionship with the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) under the programme tagged MUTUAL COOPERATION AGREEMENT WITH TERTIARY INSTITUTIONS (MCATI) so that our accounting graduates will only write the final level of ICAN professional examination. Currently our students have been writing Accounting Technicians Scheme for West African (ATSWA) examinations. ATSWA is a sub- regional accounting examination conceived by the Association of Accountancy Bodies in West Africa (ABWA) to fulfill many needs, one of which is to provide opportunity for the Accounting Technicians to progress towards full qualification as professional accountants.
  20. The Nigerian Bottling Company (NBC) in partnership with IBM Computers organised workshop and intensive trainings for all students of the University on self-employment and youth empowerment schemes.
  21. The Nigeria Connect Inc of 105 Cedarmont Way, Dallas, United States of America donated over 2,000 volumes of Books to KDU Library on Mass Communication, Communication and Language Arts, Media Studies, English and Literal Studies, Intellectual Property Law and Media Law.
  22. The University organised seminars, conferences and workshops on the following: Capacity Development Workshop on Effective Partnership and Research Collaborations facilitated by the Research and Development Unit, Workshop on ‘The Pathway to Eminence in the Academia’ By the Faculty of Arts, Management and Social Sciences’, Seminar with Science Olympiad Nigeria on the promotion of the Sciences through school tournaments and workshops.
  23. The University completed the construction of additional Hostel facilities with 180 rooms’ capacity for students.
  24. The 4th Matriculation Ceremony was held on April 27, 2021.
  25. The Parents Forum Meetings with the Management.

Today we are having convocation for graduands of the 2020/21 academic session with a total of 52 candidates.  The breakdown is given in Table I.

Table 1:  Summary of Graduands for 2020/21 Convocation Ceremony



2nd Class


(Upper Division)

2nd Class Honours

(Lower Division)

3rd Class Honours Total
B.Sc Computer Science 2 4 6 12
B.Sc Industrial Chemistry 3 3
B.Sc Biochemistry 3 1 4
B.Sc Microbiology 3 2 5
Sub Total 24
B.Sc Accounting 2 2
B.Sc Business Administration 1 1
B.Sc Economics 3 3
B.A. English and Literary Studies 2 1 1 4
B. A. History & Diplomatic Studies 2 2
B.Sc Mass Communication 2 7 2 1 12
B.Sc Political Science 2 2 4
Grand Total 52

With the adequate educational infrastructure and equipment for teaching, learning and research and the competent hands that groomed our students, we are confident to say the graduands seated here today are well-rounded graduates. They have been exposed to both the professional and entrepreneurial benefits of their individual course of study and can make great impacts wherever they find themselves. We urge you to go out there and make us proud. We have deposited in you the employability attributes, competencies and qualities that are required in transforming our country into global reckoning and position of pride in all human endeavours. As aptly represented in our motto “Scientia ad Serviendum generi Humano” (Knowledge for the Service of Humanity). As you leave this campus today to start the next stage of your journey, you take with you the knowledge, professional skills and maturity to make a major contribution to your chosen field and the society. Use these attributes wisely and as a product of KolaDaisi University, we will watch for those contributions in the years to come. May the Almighty help you all in accomplishing this great task ahead.

In the world of today where technology is rapidly changing and transforming our worlds, always equip yourself with knowledge development through the addition of new skills so as to remain relevant in the changing world. Let me leave you with these words of wisdom. I urge you to always let this be your driving force in all your future engagements. I commend the words of Will Rogers to you “Even if you are on the right track, you’ll get run over if you sit there”.

Today, the University graduates 52 students. 12 students graduated with first class degree, 22 with second class upper division, 17 Second class lower division and 1 third class.

I wish to extend my sincere appreciation to all our benevolent donors, who have endowed some prizes to our outstanding graduands. It is so encouraging to have this number of Awards during the maiden convocation ceremony, which is a pointer to the great future that awaits the University. I want to assure you that all the graduands are truly worthy in learning and character. In actual fact all of them and a few others have shown the stuff they are made of right from their first session in the University. It may interest parents and guardians that the University has put in place a system whereby academically gifted students who have cumulative grade point of 4.5 and above at the end of each session are encouraged through the University Scholar status, which attracts a certain percentage off their tuition. It is therefore not surprising that all the recipents of prizes today have been University scholars at onetime or the other. I am then calling on parents and guardians to encourage their children and wards to take their academics seriously, as KolaDaisi University is a place for exceptional students to thrive. The University will not compromise her standard; rather she will continue to raise the bar until the desired world class status is achieved.

I also congratulate you, our pioneer graduands. You shall all fulfil your destiny. To our trusting parents and guardians, you shall continue to receive good news on your children and wards.

I wish you all safe trips back to your various destinations.

Thank you.


Professor Adeniyi Olatunbosun


04 November, 2021







Mr. Vice Chancellor, thank you very much for the warm reception and generous hospitality extended to me and my team.

I am honoured to have been invited to deliver the first convocation lecture of the University. I also note with great satisfaction the fact that the Chancellor, the Vice-Chancellor and my humble self are lawyers. At last, we are accepting the fact that lawyers make the best administrators, with all due apologies to my distinguished aunt, Chief Mrs. Nike Akande who you know is a distinguished accountant.

When a few months ago I received the request from the Chancellor of this University Chief Kola Daisi, to give this convocation lecture, it was clear to me that it was an order, not a request. Where I come from, when your father makes a request, that is an order. Chief Kola Daisi is a man for whom I and many in my generation have always had tremendous respect and admiration.  And in many ways, the KolaDaisi University is a unique place of learning and inquiry because of its foundations.

The founder and visioner of this University, Chief Kola Daisi, represents in Nigeria and around the world, a unique Nigerian brand, a man whose professional career as a lawyer, pioneer executive of several Chambers of Commerce and co-founder of the British Nigerian Chamber of Commerce and later a businessman, tells a story of how the pursuit of success must not just be for self and family, but for the good of others and society.

Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, Convocation Lecturer at KolaDaisi University ConvocationEvery step of the way, especially through the Kola Daisi foundation, he has designed ways of putting his resources to the use of his community and those who need help. This university is a culmination of that life of sacrifice. An institution that will offer world-class university education not as a commercial venture but as a service.  Sir, it is a high form of enlightenment to recognize in one’s lifetime that what endures after we are gone is how much of ourselves, our ideas and our resources benefit the coming generation when we are gone. Congratulations sir on your preferment for the Chancellorship of the university.

I must also commend the academic and administrative staff of the university, for keeping faith in the vision and mission of this university. Indeed, you have the enormous duty of nurturing the men and women who will shape the destiny of the largest number of black people gathered anywhere in the world and Africa’s largest economy. Well done so far.

And to the parents, friends and family of the graduands, what a joyful and proud moment. Congratulations.

And to the reason why we are gathered today, the class of 2020, the pioneers, the freshest graduates of Kola Daisi University. Many congratulations!  I hope you will host me for lunch today at the Ella Fritz restaurant or famous cafe as it’s called when we leave here.

As you sit here today, glad that at last, you have a degree and proud of your achievement, you are probably anxious about the future. After youth service, you wonder whether you will find a job, whether even if you find a job, you will be paid enough to rent decent accommodation, get married and bring up children, or travel on holidays or take a post-graduate degree. Your parents also worry about how long they may need to support you while you are searching for a job.

In short, what does the future hold and how should you approach it?

I will mention a few important facts that I will like you to remember merely as a guide in the coming years.

  • The first is that you must believe that you have all that it takes to succeed and that you will succeed.Do not accept or believe the story that you will not succeed or that the years gone by are better than yours. In fact, always be suspicious of those who are always talking about the “good old days” they probably have a bad memory. Every generation has its bright spots and its troubles.
  • The second is that you are graduating at the most advanced moment in human history. The Smartphone you have in your hand today has 100 times more computing power than the computer in the Apollo spacecraft that took men to the moon in July of 1969.I have in this device, my iPad and many of your smartphones, the space, and memory for 1000 times more books and materials than all the law books that were in the Elias Law Library at the University of Lagos, where I studied Law.
  • The third point is that success means continuous learning and self-development.
  • The fourth point is that collaboration and partnerships are important for businesses today especially tech-related businesses.
  • The fifth thing is that the greatest mistake you can make is to think that character does not matter. It does. Integrity, and self-discipline in particular.

Now let me assure you that there is plenty of hope, and there are many opportunities. The world you are living in is changing. In my days, it was believed that you needed to be either a lawyer, a doctor, an accountant to be successful, today there are many different options.

There are more avenues for success now than ever before. There is a whole new world of opportunities that have opened up especially with the internet and digital technology.

I will share some of the stories of young men and women like you who in various endeavors have done two things. They have taken advantage of the many opportunities and they have demonstrated that the rules for success have not changed.

In the past few years, we have seen Nigerian start-ups owned by young men and women grow from scratch to billion-dollar businesses.

As of 2021, more than six(6) of such companies have been named Unicorns. A Unicorn is a company that is worth over a billion dollars.  I will give examples of two companies, Paystack and Flutterwave.

Paystack was co-founded in 2016 by Shola Akinlade, and Ezra Olubi, both graduates of Babcock University, in their twenties. Paystack is a payment processing company. It is now estimated to be worth a billion dollars.

Flutterwave, also a payment processing company was co-founded by Gbenga Agboola and Iyin Aboyeji also in 2016. Iyin was 24 years old when they founded Flutterwave in Lagos. Flutterwave is now worth nearly $3billion and both companies employ hundreds of young men and women.

There is also PiggyVest, co-founded in 2016 by Odunayo Eweniyi, she was then 21 years old. PiggyVest is a wealth management platform, at the end of 2019 had helped one million users save about $80million dollars. Her co-founders are John Chibueze and Somto Ifezue. They were all classmates at Covenant University.

In agriculture, you have the digital agriculture businesses. I will give two examples of those I have actually met and who I have had an occasion to interact with except one or two. Two examples of agricultural technological companies; Thrive Agric and Farmcrowdy. Farmcrowdy, for example, uses technology to connect farmers to investors and provide a platform for trading raw agro products, inputs, and commodities, they have a farmer network of over 400,000 farmers.  The founders are Onyeka Akumah, Akindele Phillips, Temitope Omololani, Christopher Abiodun, and Ifeanyi Anazodo.  All in their early 20s when they started.

Onyeka Akumah a serial entrepreneur also started the highly successful Travelbeta, an online travel agency, that has raised over two million dollars in funding.

I am sure you all know that Nairaland, the popular Internet forum now listed by Forbes as the biggest African internet forum, was started by Seun Osewa at age 23, while still at the OAU.

Also, right here in Oyo State, there are four award-winning small businesses, I will mention two. Soupah kitchen owned by Ifeoluwa Olatayo; a female entrepreneur, her company won the National Best MSME awards for 2019. She studied English at the University of Ibadan but she found a unique line of business making cooking easy. So, she collects vegetables such as tomatoes, pepper, and spices, processes them into various soup ingredients, packs, and preserves them so that all you need to do is add your vegetable and palm oil, and your stew is ready. Her company is at Mokola Army Barracks Road.

Another company Planet 3R owned by another lady, Adejoke Lasisi, her company won the Best MSME award for 2020 and they are in the business of recycling and waste management, they convert used ‘pure water’ cellophane bags, after thorough sterilization, into clothes, bags, shoes, using locally made wooden equipment. They are at New Ife Road.

There is Silas Adekunle, the robotics engineer who invented Mekamon, the world’s first intelligent gaming robot. Max Chinnah who, at 26, invented the Genesys Cooker, a smokeless stove that addresses the problem of smoke pollution which kills an estimated 4 million people every year. Or take Ejikeme Patrick Nwosu, an organic chemist who has invented a fire-retardant paint that could drastically mitigate the risk of fire outbreaks.

There are some using technology for humanitarian work Saadat Aliyu, who runs a tech hub in Kano, has developed an app for reporting cases of sexual assault. Last week, the Canon Young Champion of the Year Award – which celebrates the achievements of young people around the world who are driving social and environmental change, gave the award to Samuel Anjolaoluwa Alabi, (under 21) for his inspiring project, ‘Students of Ibadan,’ which shines a light on the struggles faced by under-served students in the city of Ibadan.

I have here with me two exceptional young Nigerians, my personal photographer Tolani Alli. Another Ibadan girl, started off thinking that she wanted to be a doctor, but later realized that her real passion is photography. I found her here in Ibadan for the first time, at the time she was the photographer to the late Senator Abiola Ajimobi of blessed memory. She is a multiple award-winning photographer; she has been featured for her work in many foreign magazines. Just yesterday Netflix invited her to Los Angeles to represent Africa in a docu-series on filmmakers, photographers, and creatives from 5 continents.

Also, my videographer, Timmy Davies is also an award-winning cinematographer. He has travelled the world being invited to shoot films.  He shot the debut of Christian Dior in Africa. I am sure you know Johnny Drille; Timmy shot all the videos for his music. I caught him and invited him to spend some time in public service.

Just yesterday I met with some members of the association of Skit comedians online comedians. Taaoma, who has over 2 million followers on Instagram, studied Tourism at Kwara State University. There was also Woli Agba (Ajewole Ayobami), a graduate in Economics from Lead City University here in Ibadan.

Just too funny graduated from Federal School of Science and Tech, Yaba in Computer Craft, or Mr. Hyena, who graduated from Olabisi Onabanjo University in Computer Engineering. These are all comedians, who make three or more skits weekly online and work very hard. But millions watch them and so they too can make money from using their channels for advertisements.

How about teachers? A teacher in a primary school Henry Anumundu developed an effective learning process for school children in poor areas. He is also a well-celebrated award winner.

On teachers’ day at my office, I hosted Oluwabunmi Anani, the 2020 Winner of the Maltina Teacher of the Year Award, recognized for her revolutionary teaching methods in English and English Literature for senior secondary school students in Yola, Adamawa State. There are many more examples trading online, selling their skills from clothes, handmade shoes, to beauty products.  Some trading stocks, cryptocurrencies, and even forex. This is a new age and new workplace. Young men and women have different lines of opportunities.

What are some of the key lessons?

  • First is that most of these successful young people did not just stop at a university degree. They learned something extra, for some it was programming, some took extra courses online in management and entrepreneurship, some followed their passion into fashion, beauty, and there are others who are not entrepreneurs, but they are interested in being effective managers or policy people.

In my office, I have as many as forty extremely bright young men and women advising on policies ranging from power, to finance and the economy. Most of them are under the age of 35. The key is that they kept improving themselves.

Today you don’t need to go to Harvard Business School to do one of the best postgraduate courses in entrepreneurship, you can do it online on EdX. EdX is an online educational website co-founded by Harvard University and MIT. They have a wide range of excellent courses, many for free, others for as little as N50,000 if you want a certificate. Or the other great website for continuous learning, Udemy which offers a wide range of programs including web development, game development, digital marketing, and business analytics and design.

  • The second point is that all of these businesses we looked at a moment ago started small. Don’t be afraid of starting small and growing slowly, that is exactly how great businesses are formed. Don’t be distracted by “yahoo yahoo boys” who suddenly show up with a fancy car. Trust me, their days are numbered. They will go to jail one day.  What is the point of making money if you cannot sleep well at night?
  • The third point is that of all the examples I have given you, not one of them had rich parents and all of them did most, if not all of their schooling here in Nigeria.

It is important to bear in mind that a Nigerian education is an important credential because you understand the terrain and the lay of the land.

You must find out about the support that is available, either from the private sector or the government. For example, the Federal Government has established a N75 billion National Youth Investment Fund. This provides financial support for small businesses in any field.  The Central Bank of Nigeria has also established a Creative Sector Fund. This is for young people in entertainment or technology.  There is also the new programme called Investing in Digital and Creative Enterprises (iDICE) with over $600million to support young tech and creative sector entrepreneurs and other entrepreneurs through the provision of finance, skills development, and infrastructure.

Earlier this year, the Federal government partnered with the UNDP and the private sector to start a programme called the Jubilee Fellows Internship Programme. For the next 5 years, every year 20,000 students after youth service will be given internship opportunities in private sector companies and in public agencies. The idea will be for the participants to gain relevant career and life skills that will enable them to transition seamlessly into professional, business, or public sector careers, while also earning very good pay during the internship. These opportunities exist, make the effort to access them.

Before I close let me dwell briefly on a point I made earlier, I said

“ don’t be fooled, character is key to success”.

It is not an old-fashioned or religious thing. It is a business and success decision you must make. Be known for your integrity, and reliability. Also, be diligent and be prepared. Character is self-discipline. There are many talented people who do not succeed because they lack self-discipline.

It is the self-discipline that enables you to take opportunities when they come. Opportunity knocks as they say, but I think it’s probably truer to say that sometimes opportunity whispers. Besides as Leonard Ravenhill said, “the opportunity of a lifetime must be seized in the lifetime of that opportunity.” You must be prepared. Most people have great hopes and dreams, but they are hardly ready for the opportunity when it comes.

Let me tell you a quick story. A lady worked with me many years ago. One of her greatest ambitions was to do a Master’s Degree in Law in the US. She prayed hard about it. And everyone in the department knew of her desire. One day out of the blues, we got an offer from a US Foundation through the US Embassy to nominate a candidate, preferably female to do a Master’s and fellowship in a US University. Wow!! The rejoicing that day. We were all so excited. We had only two days to the deadline. We had to submit her passport that afternoon. Then the bombshell, she didn’t have a passport! We tried desperately, the next day to obtain a passport but it didn’t work. To cut a long story short, she lost the opportunity. She had everything else but missed her moment.

So, there are some here who will say I want to work in an international organization, maybe the UN, and you know that to stand a good chance you need a second language apart from English. So, if you haven’t started yet, now is the time to learn French, Spanish, or even Mandarin. So, you won’t be like the young man who was asked if he spoke a second language and he said yes, English and Shekiri.

The second part of that is integrity.  Basic honesty, trustworthiness. You must be trustworthy. Trust, not money, is the real currency of interaction whether it is commercial or social. If you can be trusted, if people find you trustworthy, the class of degree you have will not matter. Everybody is looking for a trustworthy person to partner with or to employ. Even thieves are in search of trustworthy people to keep their money with.

Third aspect of trust is respect for obligations. When you borrow, make sure you repay. Whether it is from a friend, a relation or a bank. Credit is the lifeblood of business. If you can be trusted to pay back you will always have enough credit. You are dead in business if your credit dries up.

So, there will be many paths out there as you step out into the world, never be afraid to try, never be afraid of failure, every great success usually also has stories of many failures, don’t let the past tie you down, your past is history, it is not your destiny, you will always be better tomorrow than you were today.

I pray for you that the days and years ahead will give you much joy, fulfillment, and prosperity and that you will be a source of pride and joy to your families, this university, and our nation, in Jesus’ name. Amen.


Thank you.

Professor Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, GCON

Vice-President of Nigeria.