L-R: Chief Johson Barovbe, Managing Director, Westminster College; Prof Sam Oyobaire and Mr. Goodie Ibru at the ceremony.
By Emmanuel Edukugho
Westminster Col-lege, Lagos churned out 33 students at its 8th Valedictory service and Graduation ceremony last Thursday of which 32 of them had already obtained the required WAEC Results needed for admission into universities in Nigeria or abroad.

Chief Johnson Barovbe, Managing Director, Westminster College, disclosed this while delivering his welcome address, describing the ceremony as “unique and remarkable, bringing solemnity into the life of our college because it is the 10th year of the college existence which portrays historic and a fruitful decade, depicting great achievements in terms of human development, educational infrastructure as well as national and international high rating for quality education.”

He recalled 25th September, 2000, the millennium year in which the college was officially declared open with prayers by Bishop Fitzgibbon, the Catholic Bishop Emeritus of Warri Diocese, who passed on this year 2010 in Ireland.

“Looking back on the opening day, 10 years ago, with three students, Miss Adebimpe Adebamigbe, Mr. Dayo Kehinde and Mr Olawale Kehinde, who are now university graduates, with one of them pursuing a postgraduate degree in Engineering at a University in England, we sincerely have cause to thank God. The achievements of the college within the duration of ten years make us believe that the major strength of Westminister College Lagos is derived from its ethos and total belief in hard work.”

Barovbe said the evidence of dedication to work is consistently exhibited in the behaviour and achievements of the students in the National Examination results. Every year, Westminster College students come out among the best students in the West African Examination Council result league.

“From information gathered from the parents of the college and statistics generated internally, we can say with confidence that every year, 90% of Westminster College final year students end up in the universities of their choice.”

He acknowledged the difficulties parents face in providing boarding and tuition fees, but assured that “on our part, we have to provide the students with the enabling facilities, including well qualified and disciplined teachers who give their best to our students.”

On outward look, the students are given different outlooks and opportunities for cross cultural comparative analysis by spending at least two weeks outside Nigeria.

In 2009, 22 students were sent to Camp Beaumouth in Norwich, England where they interacted with their peer groups from China, India, Malaysia, Singapore, Poland, England, Spain and France. The students also visited historical monuments and institutions in UK. This year 2010, apart from going to England in August, 48 students are going to spend two weeks on excursion to Ghana.

They will visit important people and places.

As regards University Foundation Programme, Barovbe said, “we are intensifying our efforts in providing information to parents on the importance of spending one year at Westminster College Lagos Foundation Programme to enable students who are proceeding to universities abroad spend only three years instead of four years to obtain the first degree.”

He congratulated the College parents for this achievement as training a child through formal education and seeing him grow in one’s life time is a fulfilment of aspiration and an accomplishment.

To the young graduating students, they were told that “you are going into the world,” adding, “it is assumed that you are already mature because majority of you are leaving here to various universities in September this year 2010.”

Comdr. Oluseyi Sosan (Rtd), Husband of Deputy Governor, Lagos State and a member, Board of Governors of the College, read the First Reading taken from Deuteronomy 28: 1-4, while the 2nd Reading from Proverbs 4:10-19 was taken by Mrs. M.K. Jibowu, Director of Education, Lagos State (Rtd) who is also a member, Board of Governors. Rev Father Kwame, a Ghanian Catholic Priest took the Gospel Reading from Matthew 5:1-16 and delivered the sermon.

He said they (students) can achieve mighty works if they fear God, and urged them to be the light of their parents, family and the nation.

“But to be the light, you must be refined, work hard on your books as your family, friends, parents and the nation expect you to be the light.”

According to the priest, life is all about relating to each other, supporting each other because “no man is an Island” and endeavour to go out and help one another.

He advised the teachers to be devoted, committed, diligent and try to touch the lives of their students.
“Great teachers produce effect because you have affected the lives of your students. Great teachers prepare to excel. You don’t become excellent by mere accident, so you must prepare for excellence.
Students have potentials, so don’t always criticise, praise them.”

Rev Father Kwame also told the teachers to acknowledge their mistakes and be humble, trust in God’s words as the standard of morality. God will bless this institution.

Sosan in his brief remarks, said that his wife, Deputy Governor Princess Adebisi Sosan would have loved to be present, but unable to come due to official state functions.

“I don’t have authority over my wife in respect of coming to public function like this. Governor Fashola has authority over her in the day, but myself in the night. She loves this school as one of the best in Lagos State with high standards and good facilities in accordance with government requirements,” he said.

Chairman of the occasion, Professor Sam Oyovbaire, former Minister of Information and Culture praised the college for the good governance, while academic and administrative are excellent.

He said the College has grown from three children ten years ago to now graduating 33 today. Also mentioned was the issue of gender. “It’s remarkable that there are 16 girls and 17 boys graduating today and I’m highly impressed by the boys/girls ratio. I am very happy about this”.

There were cultural displays by the students with dances and singing by Yoruba, Igbo and Urhobo students of the College.

Mr. Goodie Ibru was one of guests, who presented awards to deserving staff. Several parents, friends and well wishers attended the ceremony.

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