27th Convocation: Olaniyi, wood seller’s son, is LASU’s Best Graduating Student

By Adesina Wahab

The Best Graduating Student in the 27th convocation ceremony of the Lagos State University, LASU, Mubaraq Olawale Olaniyi, said despite his humble background of being the son of a wood seller and losing his mother while growing up, he did not allow the challenges of life to distract him from pursuing excellence.

Olaniyi, who read Accounting Education, added that the notion some people have about education courses, also did not discourage him in realizing his ambition.

He graduated with a CGPA of 4.98 from the department of Accounting Education, Faculty of Education.

He stated this while delivering his valedictory speech on Wednesday.

“It is with great humility that I address you today as the son of a wood seller father and a late mother, who has defied expectations to emerge from a faculty wrongly adjudged as an asylum for students with low intellectual quotient and for students gifted with courses different from their desires.

“Mubaraq Olawale OLANIYI is my name. The Best Graduating Student, Lagos State University, 2022/2023 Academic session. Without mincing words, I state categorically that I am neither a low IQ student, nor given the course different from my desire. I chose Accounting Education.

“Today, I got to know the huge difference between dreams and DREAMS. The semantic meaning of Walt Disney’s quote: “If you can dream it, you can achieve it”, turned out to be true. In part, my standing here today is the result of personal aspirations, brought into animation by the inspiration gotten from the previous LASU’s Best Graduating Students whose legacies are replicable. But before I proceed:

“The visitor to Lagos State University; His Excellency, Mr. Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu, Governor of Lagos State. The Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of the 12th Governing Council of Lagos State University, Sir David Sunmonu. The Chancellor, Professor Gbolahan Elias, SAN. The Vice Chancellor, Professor Ibiyemi Ibilola Olatunji-Bello, mni, NPOM.

“The Deputy Vice-Chancellor Administration, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academics, Registrar, Bursar and the Librarian. Deans, Directors, Heads of Department, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen.

“Dear Fellow Graduands, allow me to be the 304th person to congratulate you on this great achievement. Despite the challenges, we have reached the end of our journey at LASU. Four years here is truly remarkable! We’ve all worked hard to be here today.

“Remember, grades do not define us—our critical thinking abilities and skills are what define us. Our certificate is like a receipt, and our capabilities are the products. A receipt is worthless if the product is not valuable. I am however strengthened by the realization that Lagos State University has equipped us with the right skills and values to excel in the world of work.

“Achieving only two Bs during my time at LASU wasn’t easy. While balancing academics with my work in fashion design, I managed to achieve a 5.0 GPA in six out of eight semesters. This reminds me of my favorite quote by Colin Powell: “There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.”

“My position as this year’s BGS results from the choices I made in previous years. Determination, hard work, consistency, good associations, mentorship, and prayers brought me here. I wasn’t just an A student; I participated in various activities, joined impact-focused organizations, served humanity, volunteered, and held leadership roles.

“One notable role was as General Coordinator and Project Lead of the Excel Minds Academic Group at Lagos State University, where we have positively impacted over 15,000 members.

“I am acquainted with what the future holds. I am not oblivious to the fact that there is a great disparity between higher institutions and the corporate world. But we believe that the Lagos State University has adequately invigorated us conceptually, technically, human relations-wise, and character-wise to confront, change, adapt, and contribute to the dynamic nature of the world. On behalf of my colleagues, I assure university stakeholders that we will always represent the university well.

“I want to acknowledge those who have been instrumental in my journey. To my late mother, Mrs. Ganiyat Olaniyi—may she rest in peace—and my father, Mr. Semiu Olaniyi, who took on both parental roles. My supportive siblings: Qudus, Ganiu, Quadri, Sauban, and Widaad Olaniyi, and my stepmom, Mrs. Kafayat Olaniyi.

“A special thank you to the Lagos State University administration, especially Vice Chancellor Professor Ibiyemi Ibilola Olatunji-Bello, for fostering an environment of academic excellence and self-development. I also extend my gratitude to the Dean of my faculty, Professor S.O. Makinde; the head, Department of Educational Management, Professor J.P. Gbenu; and the Department of Accounting under Professor Abolarinwa.

“While avoiding the unavoidable quagmire attached to names mentioning, I want to say a big thank you to all my lecturers, mentors, friends, family, members of Excel Minds and ‘The Royal Elite,’ I express my deepest thanks. Finally, I appreciate the entire LASU academic and non-academic staff for their immeasurable impact on my life. Thank you all.

“As I wrap up, I want to commend the efforts of the Lagos State government in our citadel of learning. I believe I speak for everyone when I say the visitor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu has really done well. Thank you so much for all you did, all you’re doing and the ones you’ll still do. We hope to see Lagos State University realize its near objective of being crowned the best University in West Africa.

“I must acknowledge my roots and home State, Osun State. I am optimistic that my accomplishments here at LASU will ignite a fire of ambition in the hearts of young people across Osun. I commend the Osun State government for their tireless efforts in developing education and empowering future leaders. Together, let’s continue to shape a brighter future for our youth.

“To my fellow graduands, it is crucial to understand that dreams are vital—they are fleeting, ephemeral, and beautiful. However, dreams alone do not materialise simply because we envision them. It is through hard work and resilience that we turn our dreams into reality. I hope and pray that as we step out of Lagos State University today, we’ll continue to make accomplishments.

“Ladies and gentlemen, remember that obstacles and problems cannot stop you. Most importantly, other people cannot stop you. Only you have the power to stop yourself. If you are good, strive to be better. Remember that hard work surpasses talent when talent fails to work hard.” (vanguard)

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