Yet Another Feather On Arukhe’s Cap



“EXCELLENCE is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.” –Aristotle.

The above assertion applies to Dr. James Ohioma Arukhe, a young Nigerian, who steadily has been making history and etching his name in gold with his academic pursuits. The University of Benin, Edo State, Nigeria, Chevron/NNPC Petroleum Engineering scholar’s academic excellence and brilliance as well as his career, has helped put Nigeria on the world map.

Only recently, he was awarded a doctorate degree in Management, with specialisation in Organisational Leadership at the University of Phoenix, finishing with a 4.0/4.0 GPA. Though, it took him almost four years to finish the course, it was well worth it, as he continually put forth all his efforts to excel both in his professional and personal life as a tenacious leader and as a responsible family man.

Speaking at the ceremony held at University of Phoenix main campus, Arizona, USA, Arukhe, who shown brightly with his outstanding academic performance, urged fellow graduates to be grateful for not ending the dream to acquire their degree.

According to him, Time Magazine chose the Ebola fighters who fought to repress the deadliest epidemic in history, as the 2014 Person of the Year because, as its editor explained, they risked and persisted, sacrificed and saved. Surely as the proverb goes, the hero’s heart wins the fight, rather than the glittering weapons.

He said, “Focusing and giving your attention to earn your degrees, resisting distractions by tasks, thoughts, sounds and sights are fights you have won. As faculty, mentors, friends, and family gather with you to honor the time you devoted to your studies and to evoke early times of your journey, please take some time to ponder on how worthwhile the journey is.

“Reflect on how much better you are as an individual with the degree and how many doors of opportunities can open for you. Consider how many people you can liberate if you exercise actions with your degree instead of remaining passive or seeking a life of ease,” he added.

Reflecting on his life and career, Arukhe, explained that 12 years ago, when he arrived Canada from Nigeria through the skilled immigrant system, he did not imagine he would finish off at a prestigious university such as University of Phoenix.

“My family has a legacy of people who put appropriate values on education. With limited means, my father ensured all his five children attended school. I attended Unity School, Agbarho, the Universities of Benin, Lagos and Calgary. The assistance of oil companies like the NNPC/Chevron, and Robert Gordon University’s and University of Calgary top professors like Dr. Babs Oyeneyin and Roberto Aguilera, who were among the pioneer lecturers in the UK and Canada’s leading universities made my graduate dreams real,” he said.

He continues, “I came here from Saudi Arabia because I work there. I signed up for doctoral studies at the University of Phoenix in January 2011, after several years of postponing the decision. I never imagined this day would come especially during the storms of my life. The journey was not easy but the amazing people from around the world in the course of my doctoral journey made the experience worthwhile. My story is proof that a hard working middle class family member can attend some of the best schools in the world if good people continue in their good works and do not faint.”

For Arukhe, in the pursuit of academics as a great adventure of life, it is pertinent to acknowledge the value of role models, stressing that even airplanes and great ships need navigational instruments to maintain their course in the air or sea for safe arrival.

“The amazing people from around the world in the course of my doctoral journey make me say we are God’s GIFT — Global Instruments for Transformation. I would like to mention two role model examples that helped me focus on my goals — Benjamin Osaigbovo and Dr. Ade Elempe, Principal of Unity School Agbarho. Benjamin Osaigbovo is here with me today.

“After three, four, or more years of studies and interactions with some of the best minds on earth, graduates here can engage their communities and emerge victorious like the Ebola fighters who risked and persisted, sacrificed and saved victims of the devastating epidemic. You too can join the list of heroes who win the fights of life with their hearts and service, rather than with the glittering weapons,” he said.

He noted that as educated society members, there is need to become involved in what affects the people around us regardless of whether the issues require our degrees in business, counselling and education, nursing, psychology, science, health administration, public administration, philosophy, finance, accounting, education, medicine, criminal justice, or computer science. We have received the prestigious degrees but it’s time to give back to a world that is in a desperate need of our attention and services.

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