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LISTEN NOV 15, 2009

It was in Bristol in the United Kingdom and the venue was the famous and historic Bristol Cathedral and the occasion was the Conferment of AWARDS by the School of Creative Arts of the University of the West of England popularly call UWE.

The practice in the United Kingdom is that there are always periods set aside in the planning of the Academic Calendar for such programmes as graduation ceremonies. One thing is that, irrespective of which period of the year one finishes his or her studies you have to wait for the conferment ceremonies. With the University of the West of England it is any other November of any other year.

On my part 13th November, 2009 was the day I was to go through the transition of being a graduand to becoming a graduate of Master's degree in Journalism. I like graduation ceremonies and for the period that I have studied and still studying in the United Kingdom I have never failed to be part of somebody's graduation. It is my other way of motivating myself to achieve what I always go to see others receive.

I honestly wish my Mum and Dad in particular were part of the guest lists but they could not be part of it for several reasons. While waiting that day to be called to receive my award there was something that happened, that my friends who travelled all over the United Kingdom and other places to support me will only be reading for the first time here; it was tears of joy and also of the absence of the greatest Mum and Dad on earth who though not rich, and not educated still choose education for me and my other siblings rather than any other vocation!

Thoughts of my Mum, always calling to tell me not to abandon my studies in the United Kingdom irrespective of the difficulties inherent in studying several miles away from home saw me through it all and still a part of me as I strive to reach the academic sky.

I also thought of those days my Dad use to chase me to the Anglican Primary School in Tamale on his bicycle insisting that, I went to school with little or no money at all for food. It was these thoughts on such a memorable occasion that got tears out of my eyes.

How I wish they were there to witness what their effort has produced. It is my prayer that they live much longer to see my PhD award I dedicate this MA award to them nonetheless.

All this not withstanding it was historic to have such wonderful friends as Mr and Mrs Fatahi who were the coordinators of my guests and did their utmost best according to the words of my friends. It was also so touching that, somebody who I only met never knowing him in my life until we met at Royal Mail hosted my friends to a cocktail at his address.

I must also thank all my OGA 90 friends for all their congratulatory messages especially Nurideeni Montia who I last saw in 1990 only for him and the wife to travel from Nottingham to grace the occasion. I acknowledge also the presence of Abdul-Sumed Labaram aka Padona who after last seeing him some five years ago also resurfaced at the Bristol Cathedral from London to witness proceedings.

And to Mahama Jewu who also travelled from Kent to participate in the programme I say endless thanks! Any time you hear somebody saying thank you to another person that thank you includes mine to you!

To Masahudu Osman Gunu, Abdallah Yussif Marine all of the United States of America and Abukari Sayibu it was your day as well and I say thanks for everything.

And to Samiratu, Mubarik, Husina and Shemsia Wunnam thank you so much for all your loyalty, faithfulness, and sacrifice this award is for you as well not forgetting my other siblings.

I don't want to bore readers with endless thank 'yous' but all those who came to the ceremony from the Bristol Mail Centre and to the reception but could not even see it; I felt your presence and am honestly grateful.

And to all those who wanted to know how I did it and still anxious for further studies the secret is, never bottle up your potentials. We all sincerely know the potentials in us including our strengths and weaknesses; build much more on your strengths and endeavour to make your weaknesses strong as well.

Endless motivation to succeed couple with great enthusiasm, never giving up in the face of marathon failures is a vital secret.

To paraphrase one time world boxing icon Muhammad Ali falling inside or outside the ring does not matter what matters most is what you do when you fall.

Let's always live by the admonition of George Eliot who always use to say 'It is never too late to be what you could have been'

To all those friends once again there are times thank you is not enough to express one's feeling and your presence at my MA graduation is one of such occasions.

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