Before you begin to question my audacity of comparing university degrees and pedigrees in the pursuit of success, please read patiently. There were certain times I’ve had to speak with people who graduated from the university with poor grades who spend more time complaining. They believe if they had better grades, more opportunities, things would have changed- that is not totally true. While I am not an advocate of academic mediocrity and stunted intelligence, I believe the prospect of the destiny of any man is not limited to the four walls of a university. I have friends who were academic stars and are succeeding; I also have as friends those who passed through college and universities, dripping with blood and marks of trials and adversity. Today, even less than 10 years after, I really have not seen an exceptional difference. But then there is another class of people…, with both good and bad grades, who blame the educational system for failing them, even when they do not have good excuses, who blame their lecturers and schools for not having facilities like Harvard or LBS, who blame instability in academic calendars for not having some time to develop skills that will make them successful. Ok, it’s not their fault; to say that the educational system in Nigeria is corrupt is actually insulting the mind of the intellect, public education has no system-period! But, since when did that become a tenable excuse? While some complain of lack of jobs, some are switching jobs with ease, but then, what really what matters, your degree, or your pedigree? It is pertinent to know there are lots of other people who have built corporations without the institutions certifying their business skills. I know of a fact, numerous other Nigerians who have risen above limitations to stardom. Erastus Akingbola according to records did not bag an undergraduate degree, the current Chairman of the West African Bar Association, Femi Falana finished from OAU with a third class. He was however luckier than the present CEO of HiTV Tony Subair graduated from Law School with a pass. Richard Branson was labelled a dullard, Einstein was advised to withdraw, after all success is in the student, not the university.
People have been encouraged to do anything to graduate with at worst a second class, so they read like mad, drug, cheat, bribe, sleep… only to become disillusioned when they discover the job market was also made for the other 60+ Universities, Colleges of Education and Polytechnics all around the nation, which also produce a significant number of “degree-qualified” graduates.
And Saul said to him, Young man, whose son are you? 1Sa 17:58
Your pedigree is extremely important, if not more than your degree. What then, is your pedigree? By pedigree I mean not your family lineage and connections; it represents the totality of your experiences, your knowledge and skills, lessons you have learned from trying projects and have failed or succeeded. It represents your grace and your strength, the wisdom and ideas you had gathered in times when you were not ready for the market. Joseph came from the prison to interpret the dream of pharaoh which other learned people and magicians (who would have had degrees today) could not interpret. Joseph came without a degree, but he had a pedigree. There is a lineage of experiences he had learned from. Learned faithfulness to his father’s house, learned to manage resources in plenty in Potiphar’s house, learned to manage resources in scarcity in prison, learned to interpret dreams in prison, as such he only needed to have his bath, shave and approach the job requirement- he was coming with a pedigree, not a degree.
While I your opportunities have not come, what have you been doing? For surely every man’s opportunity will come. But when your time comes, will you be ready? Or you would have spent the time complaining. Your degree is important, it improves your self esteem, it makes you feel among, it gets you a job, it does not guarantee your success- your pedigree does.