Obasanjo enrols for Ph.D at 77
A former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, has enrolled for an MA/Ph.D. in Christian Theology at the National Open University of Nigeria.
His admission letter titled, ‘‘Provisional admission for postgraduate programme – 2014 session’’ and dated September 29, was signed by NOUN Registrar, Josephine Akinyemi.
It reads, “With reference to your application for admission to a postgraduate programme of this university, I am pleased to inform you that you have been offered a provisional admission for postgraduate course leading to the award of MA/Ph.D. Christian Theology in School of Arts and Social Sciences of the university with effect from the date of completion of first registration.”
Obasanjo, who arrived the Victoria Island headquarters of the university on Tuesday morning in a black Lexus jeep with number plate Lagos APP 769 DB to receive his admission letter, gave insight into why he was returning to school at 77.
He explained that he chose to acquire the doctoral degree in Christian Theology in order to acquire more knowledge about God.
“I do not want to be a pastor. I only want to know more about my God and to serve Him better,” said the former President.
Obasanjo, who in 2009 obtained a postgraduate diploma in Christian Theology from the university, added that he wanted Nigerians to know that age was no barrier to learning.
He said, “I want to make a statement that no matter the position you have attained in life, it should not be a barrier to seeking knowledge.
“Learning should be a continuous process and if you can do it without the formality of the university, well and good. But I chose to learn by other means and through a discipline and the formality of a university. Again, this admission offers me a fresh challenge in life.”
The NOUN alumnus, who was dressed in a milk-coloured kaftan, added that he wanted to assist in bringing his Alma Mater to the consciousness of more Nigerians.
According to him, the university is a viable alternative that the teeming Nigerians seeking tertiary education in the country can approach for admission.
The former president, who laced the ceremony with humour, noted that eight of his children were doctoral degree holders and that he would reach out to them if he had any challenge in his fresh academic pursuit.
He also urged the Federal Government to allow graduates of the university to participate in the National Youth Service Corps and the Nigerian Law School.
Earlier, the Vice-Chancellor of the school, Prof. Vincent Tenebe, had described Obasanjo as a pacesetter, who had contributed immensely to the country’s development.
Tenebe said, “Admission and registration in universities are not marked by special ceremonies and jubilations. However, when special people are involved, when passionate, sensitive and exemplary leaders whose leadership styles are people-oriented, committed and altruistic in words and in action, special attention and little celebration is in order as we are having it today.
“You are a true father to the nation hence you have been nicknamed Baba by all Nigerians, no one can take that from you. You are a friend and a mentor to all Nigerians and whether any one likes it or not, all Nigerians love you for your selfless services to the nation, first as a citizen, a pacesetter, and then as a leader.”
The former President, who was born speculatively on March 5, 1937, attended Abeokuta Baptist High School, Ogun State.
He enlisted in the Nigerian Army in 1958 and attended the Mons Officers’ Cadet School, Aldershot, England; Royal College of Military Engineering, Chatham, England, and School of Survey, Newbury, England.
He also attended the British Royal Engineers’ Young Officers School, Shrivenham, England; Indian Defence Staff College; Indian Army School of Engineering and Royal College of Defence Studies, London.
He was Head of State between 1976 and 1979. Obasanjo, who returned to power in 1999, handed over to the late Umaru Musa Yar’Adua in 2007.Copyright PUNCH.