AN ADDRESS BY THE VISITOR MOST REV. IGNATIUS A. KAIGAMA AT THE 4TH AND 5TH CONVOCATION OF VERITAS UNIVERSITY OF NIGERIA, 8TH MARCH, 2017
It is with joy that I address you today on the occasion of the fourth and fifth convocation of our esteemed and unique Veritas University of Nigeria Abuja. We are happy with how far our university has come, with an increasing number of students and more infrastructural development and your growing into a strong family beyond just being a mere academic community. We rejoice with the graduating students and we say hearty congratulations to you all. Your audacity in academic adventure has yielded positive results.
Let me express my appreciation to the Governing Council, the Senate, the Management, Staff and students of the university, who in spite of the daunting challenges of moving to the permanent site of the University in Bwari, have gradually settled down. Today we gather to send out into the world yet another two sets, fruits from our university. Go and touch others with your knowledge, skills and spiritual, moral and social values.
The Vice Chancellor Prof. Michael Kwanashie, in addressing the VUNA BOT a few days ago was optimistic about the positive growth and development of VUNA and he said he and his team take responsibility to produce the best students with the quality that the proprietors expect. He also informed us about the 10th anniversary of VUNA. Congratulations on being ten!
We continue to earnestly seek funds to further develop our university. All should be involved. May I bring to your notice the planned Endowment Fund launch as part of the activities to mark the 10th Anniversary of the University slated for the first week in December 2017. I invite you all to be part of that great event to raise funds for the University.
My dear youths, please do all you can to be a positive factor in the building of Nigeria. Today we witness all sorts of human rights violation as exemplified by Boko Haram, marauding herdsmen, kidnappers and criminals. To deprive anyone of life or to damage their means of livelihood no matter the reasons is not only immoral but criminal.
Beware too my dear youths that religious conflicts are needless. Religion should not be used as a weapon of war. We should use religion to conquer evil and promote only that which is good as all our religions in Nigeria talk about love of neighbour. The cause of religious fundamentalism is often attributable to ignorance of sacred books, fragmented understanding and interpretation of religious texts, negative indoctrination by families, teachers and religious leaders and the willingness of youths to be used as agents of destruction.
Dear youths, please take your destiny into your hands. Do not waste your generation. Do something with your life and do not enjoy the blame game of saying the elders are responsible for your problems. I know of youths who are very enterprising and creative. I know of a lady mechanic, a lady okada or Keke NAPEP rider, a young man making hair for women, cooking “mama put”, frying kosai (bean cake). Please do not be ashamed to earn your living decently and legitimately. Remember that time waits for no one. Do not think you will remain young forever. What will you be remembered for? Wasted life? Fruitful life? The choice is yours.
I am pleased to note that during my convocation address in 2015, I charged the University to establish a Centre for Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution. I am told that the Senate of the University has approved the establishment of the Centre which will soon be functional to respond to the needs of the Nigerian nation.
Let me also appreciate the Federal Government of Nigeria. Through the Ministry of Environment Ecological Fund for erosion control the university was supported in the construction of the internal road network. The National Universities Commission (NUC) deserves commendation for the issuance of a permanent licence to the university and for approving the expansion of academic programmes in the university.
Before I close this address I wish to appeal to the Federal Government of Nigeria to continue to support our university in whatever way it can. The involvement of the Church in providing university education is a social responsibility which the Church has taken upon itself. It is not a business enterprise.
Finally, let me once again congratulate all the graduating students especially those who have been awarded postgraduate diplomas and Masters degrees. You came here seeking knowledge and you are going away richer in intellect.
Thank you beloved parents for supporting your children and wards inspite of the hard economic times. Thank you Church societies, groups and individuals for contributing in different ways to the structural development of our cherished University.
For the students going into our sometimes troubled Nigerian society, I pray that you will shine like brilliant stars, having been given integral and holistic quality education in VUNA.
May the good Lord go with you and bless you!
May his face shine continuously upon you.
+Most Rev. Ignatius Kaigama
Archbishop of Jos,
President, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria and
Visitor to Veritas University, Abuja