. . . As 5 students emerge with 1st Class honours out of 78 Graduands
By Chioma Ndife
Pope Johnpaul II Major Seminary, Okpuno, Awka South LGA, Anambra State has held her 2nd convocation ceremony on Monday, March 18,2019.
78 graduands during the convocation ceremony were certified worthy in character and learning to be awarded Bachelor’s Degree, in Philosophy through its affiliate, the Pontifical Urbaniana University, Rome. Out of the 78 graduating students, 5 bagged 1st class honours, having obtained percentage score ranging from 96.00 to 97.93.
Namely among the students who bagged First Class Honours were Oscar Igwe, Evaristus Okonkwo, Mark Ikeh, John Asomugha and Fidelis Eze.
The Rector of the Seminary, Very Rev.Fr. Dr. Benjamin Ewelu in his convocation address noted that the convocation was the second to be witnessed in the seminary since its inception in 1997. He welcomed the presiding prelate of the convocation, Most Rev. Hilary Okeke of Nnewi Diocese among others, saying that the seminary family was happy to welcome home the graduands.
He noted that students of the seminary have been studying and graduating from Rome as part of the students of Bigard Memorial Seminary, Enugu, saying that Rome in 2012, granted autonomy to PJP II Major Seminary, Okpuno. He explained that with the autonomy, PJP II no longer functioned as part of Bigard and it became necessary for the seminary to seek for the affiliation of their Philosophy department to the Faculty of Philosophy of Urbaniana University, Rome. He disclosed that the affiliation was granted in 2017 and all the set from 2012/2013 to 2016/2017 graduated in 2017 and their convocation marked the maiden convocation of the seminary.
He commended the graduating students of the 2017/2018 set for their excellent performance and appreciated the formators and lecturers of the seminary who left no stone unturned to ensure that the graduands were well prepared for the B. Phil examination. He advised the graduands to see their graduation as a step ahead to what awaits them in life and work harder to attain more success.
The special guest of honour and Commissioner for Ministry of Tertiary Education, Science and Technology, Prof. Theresa Nkechi Obiekezie who was represented by Dr. J O Duruora congratulated the graduates especially those that graduated with first class honours and beckoned on them to be consistent to contribute their quota to society.
Presenting the graduating students for award of Bachelor of Philosophy, the head, Department of Philosophy, Pope John Paull II Major Seminary, Rev. Fr. Dr. John Ekei noted that 1st class honours recorded by five of the graduating students marks a unique milestone in the history and annals of the institution. He recalled that three students also obtained 1st class honours in the last five sets which the school has produced.
In his valedictory speech, the best graduating student for the 2017/2018 set, Oscar Chinonso Igweh from Nnewi Diocese expressed his gratitude to the school management team for inculcating the virtues of hard work, discipline and excellence among the students. He noted that his journey towards academic success was primarily engineered by his mother who named him Oscar and inculcated the drive to succeed in life. She advised the graduands of being focused in their life endeavours to attain more success in life. He maintained that the ineffectiveness of the education sector in Nigeria has become worrisome, calling for urgent action to remedy the situation.
Earlier in his homily, the officiating prelate and Catholic Bishop of Nnewi Diocese, Most Rev. Hilary Odili Okeke noted that seminary formation leads one in two primary paths: academic and spiritual formation. He explained that without undermining the importance of academic formation, spiritual formation and its excellence was of greater importance because through it, one is formed according to the wills and dictates of Christ.
He identified seminary formators as spiritual giants and prophets through whom the word of God should be proclaimed to the seminarians. He called on the seminarians to place more attention on spiritual excellence rather than academic excellence as it would led them closer to Christ.
The ceremony witnessed the presence of the Vice Chancellor of Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Prof. Joseph Ahaneku who was represented by the Director of Academic Planning, Prof. Fredrick Odibo among other university dons
The Catholic Bishop of Nnewi Diocese, Most Rev. Hilary Odili Okeke (2nd left) presents certificate to the best graduating student of 2017/2018 set, Mr. Oscar Igwe(1st right). 1st left is the Rector of PJP II, Rev. Fr. Benjamin Ewelu observing the presentation