Former President Olusegun Obasanjo bagged a master’s degree in Theology at the fifth convocation of the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) in Abuja.
In his address, Vincent Tenebe, vice-chancellor of the university, Obasanjo was among other notable Nigerians in the list of the 10,653 graduands in which 15 of them made first class honours.
Tenebe listed other outstanding graduands as Adamu Abubakar, emir of Hadejia, Jigawa state, and Felix Okechukwu, traditional ruler of Awgu, Enugu State.
Others were over 70 years Rear Admiral Orisha, (Rtd), who bagged fist class in Mathematics and a 78-year-old, Femi Balogun, who bagged LL.B from the School of Law. The vice-chancellor also listed a blind student, Obinna Bede, who bagged a bachelor of arts (English), degree and Udo Effiong, who had the highest cumulative point in first class grade of 4.71.
“It is interesting to note that Obasanjo will be graduating with a Master’s Degree (MA-Christian Theology) having met the requirements for the award during this convocation,” he said. “Having been given the admission to study MA/PhD in Christian Theology, Obasanjo will continue with his Ph.D fully. “This is very unique considering his age and commitments; he also made a very good cumulative grade point.”
Tenebe said NOUN had achieved its primary mandate of having study centres in all the state capitals across the country. According to him, the institution will commence the last aspect of its mandate, which is to establish study centres in all the 774 local governments in the next 15 years. He said the total number of study centres across the country stood at 72 alongside four new research centres.
Tenebe appealed to relevant authorities to admit graduates of NOUN into law school as was done in other countries. “We will not relent in our appeal to the Council for Legal Education to give NOUN Law graduates the opportunity to attend the Law School and be called to the Bar,” he said. “If other countries such as UK, India, South Africa, Tanzania, among others allow their Open Universities’ Law graduates to attend Law School and are called to the Bar, Nigeria has no justifiable reasons to hold her Open University graduates down. “We must move forward in all these areas as a progressive country.”
In his address, Lawrence Agubuzu, NOUN’s Chancellor, said there were 59 open universities in the world, adding that their graduates were treated differently from graduates of conventional universities.
Agubuzu called on the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) and the Nigerian Law School to allow NOUN graduates to participate in their progammes. Obasanjo received the award by proxy as he was said to be unavoidably absent. NOUN’s 2016 convocation was held for the first time at University Village, Jabi, which was allocated to the institution in 1983.