Femi Makinde and Tunde Ajaja
There was an unusual silence at the 42nd convocation of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, Osun State, on Friday when the death was announced of a first-class graduate, Bibilari Elebuibon.
Elebuibon, who was the best in Yoruba Language in the Faculty of Arts, was said to have died in an accident in Osogbo, the Osun State capital, in July 2016.
It became a harvest of tears among his colleagues and some others present when his name was called by the dean of his faculty, Prof. Gbemisola Adeoti, for a prize and the school’s Public Relations Officer, Mr. Abiodun Olanrewaju, stepped forward to call for a minute silence in his honour.
Reports said the deceased, who was among the 66 first-class graduates, was a son of a popular Ifa priest in Osogbo, Chief Yemi Elebuibon.
Earlier, President Muhammadu Buhari had said the unemployment rate in Nigeria is now worse than it was about a year ago.
The President, who said this at the 42nd convocation of the institution, called on the private sector to complement the efforts of the government in providing jobs for Nigerians to bridge the gap.
The Chancellor of the OAU, who is also the Etsu Nupe, Alhaji Yahaya Abubakar, the Ooni of Ife, who is also the Chancellor of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka and the Deputy Governor of Osun State, Mrs. Titi Laoye-Tomori, were among the dignitaries present at the ceremony.
The President, who was represented at the ceremony by the Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission, Prof. Adamu Rasheed, said his administration was working hard to ensure more Nigerian youths were productively engaged.
He said, “In September, 2016, our unemployment rate reached a high value of 17.9 per cent as compared to 9.9 per cent the previous year. I intend to remind you that although this administration is doing its best to provide jobs for the teeming population of Nigerian youths, our efforts still need to be complemented by the private sector.
“We have been bringing on board several entrepreneurship initiatives to create an enabling environment for job creators to not only thrive, but excel.
“Promotion of local products, encouragement of export markets, tapping of indigenous raw materials, etc., are some of the avenues for this to operate.
As fresh graduates with invigorating ideas, you are encouraged to forward your proposals under the appropriate parastatals and agencies.”