- consolidating Loans on Human Resources Fast Facts: Legal
- Fatima Abubakar on My 2012 Class Speaker Speech — Daniel Denis
- gabriel.tobby on Class of 2011 Valedictory Speech –by Daniel Harbor
- Daniel Harbor on Class of 2011 Valedictory Speech –by Daniel Harbor
- Babatunde Johnson on Class of 2011 Valedictory Speech –by Daniel Harbor
. . .find your news and blogs
Class of 2011 Valedictory Speech –by Daniel Harbor
My fellow members of the class of 2011
I feel much honored to be standing here and I am grateful for the opportunity I have been given to speak to you all. Even so, I must mention that today I am just a turtle on the back of an elephant. Most of you must be wondering what I mean by this. I once heard a man tell the story of a turtle that was carried on the back of an elephant across a bridge, and reaching the end of the bridge, the turtle said we shook the bridge. Likewise, I also say today that we shook this bridge. In doing so, I do not fail to acknowledge the most important fact I am here to emphasize – the fact that I owe almost everything I have done in the four years of being in the American University of Nigeria to the support of my family. I would have you understand that I am not referring just to my immediate family, but also to the family I have made here at AUN – my colleagues and even the entire staff of AUN. The next couple of stories you are going to hear are the stories of some of the people who, every time I lost faith in myself, continued to believe in me and never relented to hand out the motivation I needed to keep marching on.
On the very first night I was on the AUN campus, I met a man that I never would have imagined would be one of the most influential in my college experience. The experience would truly not have been the same in his absence. He is someone I have come to admire so much and will continue to look up to; a strong-willed yet gentle man, a wise yet humble man. I am especially proud to say that he has clearly painted in my mind what it means to be an achiever. He wrote and published his own book and is currently working on another, and recorded numerous songs in the four years we’ve been here at AUN. I have heard him speak great words that men of his age, without a doubt, know nothing about. He is nothing short of a great man and he has left his mark on my life forever. We smiled together, laughed together and most especially we had a good number of fights. Whatever the situation, it only seemed to make our bond grow stronger. He’s one of the main reasons I stand here today. I’m glad I have a wonderful brother. His name is Daniel Addo.
I’ll tell you another story. It is the story of a woman called Stephanie Harbor. She is not a member of the graduating class of 2011, but she is one of the makers of the valedictorian of this class. Like many of the people who were very close to me, Stephanie called me ‘Jay’, and in her first few semesters, she would say, “Jay, do you know that everywhere I go people ask, hey are you related to Daniel Harbor?” She would explain further that I was well known in school and liked by many people. After a few more semesters, I was talking to one of the workers from the youth corps in the office of the dean of the school of information technology and communication, and the lady asked me a question. She asked, “hey are you related to Stephanie Harbor?” This has been the trend since then; she has become far more popular than I could ever have been and the measure by which she is loved here is nothing short of overwhelming. She is one of the strongest women I know today, and in her hardworking nature have I found, countless times, the enthusiasm I needed to get over obstacles and keep moving on. As I have always said without hesitation, all my effort pales in comparison to hers. My one and only sibling, my handbag and my baby sister, Stephanie Harbor, has ironically been a pillar of support to me in the time she has been here and for that I am wholeheartedly grateful.
One of the more recent additions to my family is someone I hold very dear to my heart. Since I met her in September last year, she has shown me a whole new side of life. Like all the other members of my family, she has shown me support and her faith in me has been tremendous. In the words of a friend, “she makes me feel like Steve Jobs”, and it is with delight that I say a big thank you to Jennifer Aguele for being a part of my life and believing so much in me.
As far as stories go, this is one of the most important I am going to tell today, thus I implore you to follow me patiently. On May 3rd, 2011, I paid a certain travel agency, whose name I would prefer not to disclose, to get flight tickets for a certain woman to be present here. You must be wondering who this woman is; not to worry, you’ll find out soon enough. By the 7th of May, I still hadn’t received any form of confirmation of the flight booking. Consequently, the woman became distressed and for the days that followed, my phone would not just stop ringing. She would call very early in the morning and really late at night. When it was about three days to the award dinner, she began to suggest that she could travel by road instead, since the flight tickets were not forthcoming. I quickly turned down this suggestion and added that I would do my best to make sure she gets her ticket in time for the flight. On Friday, the 13th, I went to the office again and asked about the PNR number for her flight and they said it was ready for collection. Note that the day before I had called the office and they said that the PNR numbers would be available the next day. I reported this to her immediately and she said it was fine. Now back to Friday, the 13th, right after I left the office, I called this woman, and she told me she was already on the road to Abuja. You can imagine the disappointment I felt at that moment since I was holding in my hands the PNR number for her flight to Abuja the next morning. At this point I would like to tell her to get up on her feet, but I guess before then it would be nice to tell you who she is. Her name is Folashade Harbor and she is my mother. Please ma can you stand up on your feet for all to see you.
Long before my father passed away, this woman had been both a father and a mother to me and my sister. As far back as I can remember there has never been a time when she gave up on us. Although it took me a while to realize it, the reason she decided to travel by road was simply a follow up to her statement a few days before that she would never miss my graduation for the world. She is so determined to see us succeed that it does not matter to her if it is at the expense of her own success. Most times it is difficult to comprehend her love for us. On behalf of myself and my sister, I say thank you mum. We could never ask for a better mother and we are eternally grateful. Please you may have your seat. Thank you.
I am positive that the same can be said for every parent here today and so on behalf of every student in this graduating class of 2011, I would like to say thank you to every parent or guardian seated here, for presenting us with such a rare and cherished opportunity to have the best education Nigeria has to offer. We have indeed been touched by the hand that is the American University of Nigeria.
I would also like to express gratitude for the opportunity of studying under some of today’s great minds here seated – Dr. Nwojo Agwu, Mrs. Bridget Anigbogu, Mrs. Chioma Anadozie, Dr. Gado Alzouma, Dr. Emmanuel Ukpe, Dr. Mathias Fonkam, Dr. Leonard Shilgba, Dr. Abel Ajibesin, Dr. Francis Adepoju, Dr. Alesh Psaker, Dr. Ramalingam Periasamy, Dr. Arthur Umeh, and Dr. Felix Bollou. In their absence, I would also like to thank Dr. Sergei Butakov, Vladislav Scherbinin, Jesus Pascal and Eugheny Grakhov for also being very instrumental in my development, as an individual and as a computer scientist.
Above all, I would like to thank the Lord God Almighty for crowning my every effort with success; for granting me favor even when it was undeserved and using me as an instrument for His glory. Thank you Lord.
In my last days at AUN, I came to the realization that everybody in this class worked so hard to get to the place where we are today. Thus, to my fellow members of the class of 2011, I say well done. However, I admonish you to consider the Haitian proverb that says, “Beyond the mountains, there are mountains again”. I bring this up not to spur pessimism in you, but to incite the optimistic man in every one of us. Our destinies lie in our hands; let us take charge and lead ourselves and even our great country to the true place of dignity and glory, and on this road, let us keep the slogan of the Barack Obama campaign in our hearts and in our mouths – Yes we can.
To our successors, the classes that follow, we hope to be able to continually tell you to do as we do; to emulate us with pride, and as far as records go, I want you all to remember that they are meant to be broken. Thus, as an example, I hope this 3.97 CGPA will be just another broken record by next year’s commencement.
In conclusion, while it might seem to some that I might have underplayed the effort I put in to get to this point, I would have you know that I have done no such thing. Not even half of the glory today is mine; it belongs to all of you who have contributed immensely in one way or another to make me who I am today. With the thought in mind that we will meet again, I bid you all farewell and I say let the moments to come bring us all joy.
By Daniel Harbor
Class of 2011