Former president, Dr. Olusegun Obasanjo, says he was not given any preferential treatment while pursuing a doctorate degree at the National Open University of Nigeria, NOUN.
Speaking while being honored with Ph.D in Christian theology at the institution’s 7th convocation ceremony held in Abuja, he recalled requesting at the point of entry to be stripped of any privilege the open university could have accorded a former president.
Obasanjo maintained that from the outset he requested to pass through the process leading to the award of Ph.D just like every other student, adding that, “my teachers and supervisors were firm, strict and ensured that I diligently passed through the process”.
He continued, “I requested that I should not be given any special privilege or recognition as a former Nigerian President. My reason was because I wanted to pass through the system like every other student and I am proud that I did that with all diligence.
“I carried my NOUN bag like every other student. I attended classes and wrote my exams like every other student. Most helpful was the learners’ support services which I maximized just like every other eligible student.”
Recalling his research experience, Obasanjo, who is the first Ph.D graduate of the NOUN, said his field work had afforded him the opportunity to appreciate the socio-economic realities confronting the people of the North-east.
His words, “Most instructive was my field work in the northeast. It exposed me to the true state of the geopolitical zone. I had the privilege to interact with people of different strata and they spoke candidly to me on the state of things there.
“The experience I gathered from there enriched my knowledge and my position on any socio-economic/political discussions of the region. It made me to understand that poverty is not our lot or that of anyone but as a result of the conscious or unconscious decisions made by our leaders,” he said.