A TEXT OF SPEECH DELIVERED BY THE PRESIDENT, NOUN ALUMNI ASSOCIATION AT THE CONGRESS OF THE ASSOCIATION IN ABUJA.
The Vice Chancellor, NOUN, Professor Olufemi Peters
The Chairperson and Members of Governing Council, NOUN
The University Community, NOUN,
Our Esteemed Members of National Open University of Nigeria Alumni Association, NOUNAA,
Gentlemen of the Press,
Ladies and Gentlemen, Good day.
It is an enormous pleasure to be here at NOUN today, as an alumnus and President of the greatest Alumni association in Nigeria. This University deserves recognition as the best place for the training of the best minds within Nigeria’s civil service and workforce. It earns credit for itself in the ways it accords opportunity to people to study at any point in their lives – one of its graduates is a former Head of State and former President of this country.
I am delighted to address you today as an occasion to reflect on the successes and challenges of the NOUNAA journey and set greater paths for the realisation of tomorrow’s dreams. I must begin by acknowledging the generous contributions, encouragement and limitless support of our indefatigable Vice Chancellor, Professor Olufemi Peters, who has been a reliable source of wisdom, knowledge and experience for NOUNAA. His distinguished service selflessly rendered has kept NOUNAA spurring ahead despite all obstacles. He is a shining example of purposeful leadership, inclusivity and a formidable figure for youth mentorship and emulation. The association has achieved remarkable success due to the support, guidance and cooperation of the Advancement and Linkages Unit. The Director, Mrs Omorogieva E. Ileka and her team are doing an amazing job for NOUNAA. The smooth, cordial and productive relationship that exists between NOUNAA and the University is directly attributed to the professional services rendered by the Advancement and Linkages Unit. We thank you earnestly and we look forward to more productive journey together.
Dearest NOUNAA members, the journey so far, daunting as it is, has been very successful. You may recall that we were elected as the National Executive of this important association on the 4th of December 2021. As NOUNAA leadership we came back to NOUN in March 2022 during the convocation programme and organised the ALUMNI Week. It was a whole week of remarkable activities for both the NOUNAA members and the graduating students. It was the first initiative of its kind in the history of NOUN. The event occasioned a lecture by Professor Tamola titled “The Role of University Education to Nation-Building.” Part of these activities were the Dinner/Award Night where we launched the One-Billion Naira Alumni Village. Unfortunately, most of our guests, including the Chief Launcher, Senator Rochas Okorocha, were unavoidably absent due to the APC Congress that was later shifted to that very night. The planned Alumni Village is to be constructed with hotel and guest house as sources of revenue for the association. But NOUNAA is doing its very best to follow up with the invited guests for the realisation of this dream. In May 2022, we were able to secure a brand-new Toyota, 2022 Model, which serves dual purposes as means of transportation for the association and as source of revenue.
Our expedition as NOUNAA Executives has not been sailing and entirely smooth. On the 9th of June 2022, the Association lost its hard working Secretary General. The courage of our late Secretary General was legendary. She braved the fears hovering over travellers to come to Abuja at every minute that her presence was sought. Her ample capacity to shoulder responsibilities was simply exemplary. She managed, quite successfully, the oft conflicting roles of serving a demanding organisation as NOUNAA and the expectations of her family as a wife and mother. In this woman, NOUNAA lost a reliable, generous, and committed sister who was always there for us at any point of need. It is my ardent prayer that her gentle soul continues to rest in perfect peace. May God give us the fortitude to bear this loss. She has left a hole that would remain unfilled for a long, long period of time. We will continue to remember her as long as blood flows in our veins. She was a conscience of humanity and a heroine of our society.
Respected Ladies and Gentlemen, we should all be proud to our contribution and services rendered to our alma-mater. NOUNAA has made its presence felt in the University at several levels. It has invested resources in the upgrading of physical structures of the University. We have assisted in many programs and projects; we have renovated a hall at Abuja Model Study Centre, and we have equally assisted with some funds in June 2022 for the Students’ Week Program. Again, for the first time in the history of NOUNAA, we have made plans for souvenirs for the graduating students. This will start from the 2023 graduates across all the Study Centers in Nigeria. This is meant to mobilise graduating students and intimate them with the activities of NOUNAA as prospective members and future Executive members of the Association. We have also installed security lights at the NOUN headquarters, here in Abuja.
Dearest NOUNAA members, today, all NOUN Alumni members can boastfully say that it is the most cosmopolitan Alumni in Nigeria with members across the country, across different organisations and parastatals. We have members at the National Assembly, the Police, Customs, etc. AT PRESENT, our member and former NOUNAA President is the Comptroller of the Immigration, Kaduna Command. Again one of us is also the SSA on solid minerals to the executive governor of Kwara State.
On 19th July 2022, CRC were inaugurated and mandated to study the Association’s constitution to provide suggestions for review that will meet the present realities and challenges. We expect this committee to present its report today for the general congress. We look forward to robust discussions on this important project. We hope that the review will make NOUNAA stronger, better, and more profound.
Dear Ladies and Gentlemen, NOUNAA has come of age. For the first time in the history of the Association, five people were nominated to replace the position of the Secretary General and other vacant offices as provided in Article 12 (XI) of our constitution. This is a demonstration of the Association’s acceptance by its members. They have shown readiness to join the Executive branch in the pursuits of progress of NOUN and NOUNAA members.
Part of our plans are to organise seminars, and conferences. And God willing, by 2023, we will launch the maiden Obasanjo-Seminar Series as parts of NOUNAA academic activities. This will enhance the status of NOUN and improve its positions in the Higher Education Rankings.
Dear Ladies and Gentlemen, today’s event is historic. NOUNAA has travelled through thorny periods. NOUNAA has received very little attention from the previous leadership of the University. However, there has been tremendous shift and turning point with the present set of University management. As I noted earlier, NOUNAA is heard today in all quarters majorly due to the contribution of the Director of Advancement and Linkages and the Vice Chancellor. We hope that we NOUNAA members will utilize this opportunity to strengthen our ties with the University for the progress of NOUNAA and the University.
Distinguished members of NOUNAA, may I at this point implore all of us to be law-abiding, to exhibit highest sense of civilisation, maturity and refinement in the way we relate with ourselves. None of us is going to be in any position in NOUNAA for a lifetime. Every set of leadership is transient. No NOUNAA leadership will ever progress without the support and cooperation of the congress. I therefore call on us all to desist from actions that will negatively impact our cordial relationship with the management and leadership of NOUN and stall the progress of our Association. None of us is above NOUNAA.
Thank you very much and stay blessed.
Muntaka Abdul-Hadi Dabo
November 5th, 2022.