2019 Cardinal Ekandem Seminary Graduation: Rector's Speech

Our dear parents, distinguished guests, graduating students, friends, well-wishers, ladies and gentlemen!

It is my honour and pleasure to welcome you to this our annual and important celebration. Today is a day of great excitement for all of us, members of this Seminary community, as we have come to the end of this academic session. As the culture is in all academic institutions, we have set aside today, particularly, for the send-off of the 2018/19 final year students; and for recognition and prize-giving to deserving students of excellent academic performance in both Basic and Post-basic categories.

May I sincerely thank you for honouring our invitation. Firstly, I thank the Proprietor, His Lordship, Most Revd. Dr. John Ayah, for always accepting to be part of this ceremony even in his inability to be personally present. I thank our special and invited guests for finding time to identify with us today. I thank and congratulate, in a very special way, all the teachers and other staff of the seminary, who, through their indefatigable efforts have continued to form our students in unique and excellent ways.

I cannot fail to thank and congratulate all parents for their immense and unwavering disposition in their supports towards their wards. We are just building on the foundations that you have given to your children at home. It is globally acknowledged by professionals in Early Childhood Education that early experiences provided by the parents, guardians and the immediate environment of the child form the basis for the future development of the child (cf. Jean Piaget’s The Psychology of the Child). It is on these grounds that I enjoin you to pay more attention to your wards at home during the holidays and to ensure that they enjoy a relaxed, hitch-free and educatively entertaining hobby for their perfect physical, mental and psychological development. Some parents no doubt, have been perseveringly undertaking this responsibility seriously and with great care.

Our gathering today gives us another opportunity to celebrate and at the same time, reflect on education and its importance to the society. Education, as commonly known, is the process of facilitating learning; or the acquisition of knowledge, skills, beliefs and habits. It also consists in helping people to learn how to do things and be meaningful to themselves and to the society that they live in.

The Vice President of Manchester Foundation for Education, Stacey Weigler, at the 2012 Mom Congress Delegate for New Hampshire enunciated that ‘the purpose of education is to develop students’ desire and ability to think and learn about the world around them…learning how to develop a relationship that will enable students to work with their peers, throughout their schooling and beyond.’ (Cf. Document of Manchester Foundation for Education, Manchester, NH 03108, Published, July 2012). 

The main purpose of education, therefore, can be said to strengthen one’s mind so that one can more easily learn to deal with specific challenges one faces throughout one’s life. But education can only achieve this if all the stakeholders are fully committed to their roles and responsibilities: - government providing the enabling environment, adequate funding for good structures and good staff salaries; parents prepared to co-operate with the school authorities in matters of finances, discipline of students and extra-curricular activities; teachers living true to the oath of the profession and students totally committed to learning.

From recorded history, the seminary remains the bedrock of education, with its curriculum and learning experiences geared towards a holistic formation and the cultivation of excellence in character and in learning.

Congregation For the Clergy rightly explains that ‘the purpose of the minor seminary is to assist the human and Christian growth of adolescence… to develop in a way appropriate to their age, that interior freedom in which they can make a response to the plan of God for their lives.’ (Cf. The Gift of the Priestly Vocation, Document of Congregation For the Clergy: Published, 8th December 2018)

The Curriculum of the Seminary includes academic, spiritual, physical, social and psychological contents. The Seminary takes part in many academic competitions organized by the state and the Church, including those organized by Calabar Ecclesiastical Province – a religious conglomerate comprising Uyo, Ikot Ekpene, Calabar, Ogoja and Port Harcourt.

This year, the Province had a quiz competition at Immaculate Conception Seminary, Mfamosing in which our Seminary performed so well. There will also be a provincial seminaries’ sports competition next academic year at Sacred Heart Seminary, Port Harcourt. Please, may I, on this note, appeal for your assistance in cash and kind to enable our seminary prepare adequately for a successful outing. I therefore enjoin all parents to assist and encourage their wards to make the best out of all the content that we have provided and the serene seminary environment.

Furthermore, I call on our dear parents to take seriously the information that is often dispatched by the seminary authority at the close of every term. It is rather unfortunate that some of our parents lack the basic information about the seminary and their wards here. They hardly attend PTA meetings and other functions. Some only wait for the seminary to embark on fee drive before they deem it a duty to pay their wards’ fees. Such attitudes stand between us and the services that we are poised to provide, not even mentioning the effect it has on the cognitive and psychological development of the child who is molested by these drives.

Let me at this juncture thank the outgoing students along with their parents for choosing to study in the seminary. The seminary as your choice of study was just right and not by chance. You have completed your six years of studies for those who started here.

One who has been trained in the seminary is bound to demonstrate discernment in his actions. Discernment is the ability for one to recognize the difference between good and evil. Your action should be driven by good intentions and sustained by good conscience. You must have been challenged by the seminary rules and regulations while here. They were meant to prepare you for the challenges of life ahead. Therefore, for you to succeed, continue to keep those rules and regulations of the seminary even as you have finished with the seminary.

The famous adage: ‘don’t pass through the seminary without the seminary passing through you’ should be your guiding principle. The friends you keep, your mode of dressing and your general lifestyles should be determined and regulated by your integrity, personality and aspirations, all of which you have been trained to uphold.

Stay away from bad companies and nefarious actions and activities. Be constructive and uphold optimism in all your endeavours. Your seminary training has empowered you for innovation, invention and creativity. Therefore, be brave, prudent and polite in pursuing your careers.

Above all, let your knowledge of God continue to sustain a strong faith and good work in you such that you can be counted as a brilliant example for your family and for the society. With all these, ‘the sky will remain your limit.’

Finally, I thank you all once again for coming. Our ceremony today comprises graduation lecture and prize giving. It is expected that some words of wisdom and advice shall be given to our students especially the outgoing ones. It is our expectation that all we have to do here will come to a close in the next two hours after which all of us will be going home for a long vacation.

I wish you all a happy stay and a pleasant celebration!
God bless you!


  1. This is commendable. The rector's remark is inspiring. I pray that your effort be sown for an eternal harvest. Congratulations to the graduands, other seminarians and the entire seminary community members.

  2. Congratulations to the graduands.
    Carry on tradition.

  3. Congratulations to all. May God be with you now and always.

  4. Congratulation to me
    God bless the seminary
    To my rector God bless you
    I miss this home