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Obasanjo, an academic icon

WHEN on 30th September 2014 former President Olusegun Obasanjo enrolled in the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) at the age of 77, not many people knew he would pursue his chosen course, Christian Theology, to the ultimate level. But on Friday, 12th January 2018, he underwent a 163-minute grilling by a six-man panel of professors after which he bagged a Doctor of Philosophy Degree (PhD) in Christian Theology, thus becoming the first person to attain that feat from the NOUN which he established as President.

Obasanjo, who enrolled in the university with Matriculation Number 146058901, successfully defended his thesis entitled: Resolving the Unfinished Agenda in Liberation Theology: Leadership, Poverty and Underdevelopment in North Eastern Nigeria. He was praised by Dr Samaila Mande, the Dean of Postgraduate School of NOUN, for being a pace-setter in the course which he manages.

After bagging his latest achievement, this time in the academia, the former two-time president of Nigeria and author of many books,  insisted he refused to be given any preferential treatment throughout his sojourn at the NOUN. He had, on the day he enrolled for the course, approached a prospective fellow student young enough to be his grandchild and said: “I am going to start school, just like you.”

Former President Obasanjo (PhD) has continued to fascinate many of his countrymen and people around the world (for better and for worse) by dabbling into ventures that raise eyebrows. His boundless energy, this time invested in high academic pursuit of his eventful life at an age when most people no longer possess the intellectual endowment to cope with academic pursuits, is a great example to the younger generation.

At that age, most people no longer see any point to prove in going back to school. Dr Olusegun Obasanjo has just proved that age is not a barrier to the pursuit of dreams; learning never stops, except when one is dead. Coming at an age when many of our youths have lost their bearing because of the vain distractions of the Internet Age and a society fractured by corruption and the quest for easy money, we recommend the Obasanjo spirit to everybody, both young and old.

As a newspaper, Vanguard has always been excited when the feat Obasanjo has just achieved takes place. That was why our editors unanimously elected Pa Tete Allen, a 90-year-old man from Nembe in Bayelsa State who enrolled in Primary One as our Man of the Year 2011.

We congratulate Dr Olusegun Obasanjo for this inspirational laurel and wish him more success in his endeavours.



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