I enrolled in UNILAG to avoid boredom, says 77-year-old graduate

A 77-year-old grandma who on Tuesday bagged her first-degree certificate at the 50th convocation ceremony of the University of Lagos (UNILAG), Akoka, says she enrolled for the programme after her retirement to avoid boredom.

Bridget Okonji was among the 1,008 students of the university’s Faculty of Education, who were in the first set of 3,795 students from the Faculties of Arts, Education and Environmental Sciences conferred with the first degree on Tuesday at the ceremony.

The graduand, who was invited to the rostrum for a handshake with the university’s Pro-Chancellor, Wale Babalakin, refused to disclose her name while speaking with journalists.

She was admitted to the university’s sandwich programme through the Institute of Continued Education (ICE) where she studied in the Department of Educational Foundations, popularly called Guidance and Counselling Education.

Speaking with journalists, Mrs Okonji said; “I studied Guidance and Counselling and I am most grateful to God Almighty who made me see this day. I will not like my name to be mentioned because I know where I am coming from and what I am protecting.

“I am a retired officer. I have worked in a lot of countries around the world and also in Nigeria, where I finally retired.”

She added that she went for the degree programme because she did not want to sit at home after retirement.

“You know when you retire like that, you will not want to stay at home and be dying slowly,” she said.

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She said no one should feel too old to go to school, saying learning remains a life-long adventure. “Education has no limit. It is from cradle to death in order for one to add value to the society.”

Premium Times learnt that the retired public servant enrolled for the programme about five years ago but without going through the mandatory Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) conducted by the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board.

Meanwhile, the university’s Vice-Chancellor, Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, said the university will graduate 12,843 students at the three-day ceremonies.

Mr Ogundipe said that 7,438 would be awarded first degree and 5,405, postgraduate degrees.

“This year, the trio of Adeniyi Adeyeye (B.Sc. Insurance), Chinaedum Ogbechi (B.Sc. Business Administration) both of Management Sciences, and Joedicta Ekeh (B.Sc. Pharmacy) have emerged best graduating students with a cumulative grade point average of 4.96,” he said.

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