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An undergraduate president
by Amin George Forji
2006-12-04 09:40:54
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The National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) confirmed the application and admission of the country’s incumbent president, Olusegun Obasanjo, into the School of Arts and Social Sciences of the prestigious institution as an undergraduate student.

A special matriculation ceremony was organized for him at his Abuja presidential palace, and personally officiated by the School’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Olugbemiro Jegede. Jegede. In his welcome address, President Obasanjo, who has been matriculated as NOU060323192+, happily announced that despite his rank rightly chose to follow the normal admission process to gain a place at the institution.

"We are here today to matriculate our indefatigable President, who having worked tirelessly to project education to the front burner of national development has decided that the taste of the pudding is in the eating,” announced Professor Jegede.

Obasanjo never had any university studies, but rather came to prominence through military ranks. Despite that, he is said to have shown enormous leadership and administrative skills, which is the reason he rose rapidly from one military rank to another. In 1975, General Murtala Ramat Mohammed led a military coup to overthrow the government of Johnson Aguiyi-Ironsi, even though Obasanjo did not participate in the coup Murtala surprised many by naming him as deputy.

When Murtala was assaninated in another military showdown, a year later on February 13th 1976, Obasanjo was chosen by the governing military commission to replace him. On Nigeria’s Independence Day, October 1st 1979, Obasanjo made his name in Nigerian history by becoming the first military leader to hand over power to a civilian government, led by Shehu Shagari, who was voted in a democratic ballot.

On May 29th 1999, he was re-elected as a civilian head of state after 16 years of successive and uninterrupted military rule. Prior to his election, he had just been released from jail, having been put there by the former dictator, General Sani Abacha, who accused him of planning to overthrow him through his so-called human rights campaigns.

Jegede also reminded the audience that Obasanjo was to become the world’s first sitting president to enrol in an undergraduate programme in his own country, “Our president has become the first, in many respects. While inventory of serving heads of state/government who have taken open and distance learning courses is still being confirmed, it is interesting to note that whereas President Nelson Mandela of South Africa and President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe took their degree through ODL before becoming Heads of State and Prime Minister Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia graduated with an MBA through UKOU in 1996, no serving head of state anywhere in the world has enrolled into an open university in his country,” Jegede read to the applause of the audience.

Obasanjo, 69, spoke after Jegede, believes it is never too late to go after knowledge, which is why he opted to be known simply as “student Obasanjo” after his presidency in six months time. He further pledged to be a respectful student, and to take this business of studying very seriously.

“I pledge to refrain from any act calculated to disrupt the activities of the University or likely bring the university into disrepute….I will not seek any privilege except those conferred on me by virtue of my studentship status. No matter how high one rises, one can never be too big, too high or too old to learn. I will study and develop myself for as long as I have breath in me. I will leave no stone unturned and will take my academic work very seriously and would do what I have to do,” pledged the president.

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Carlos Eyl2006-12-06 05:35:16
Atleast he enroled, the honduran president didnt even finish highschool!

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