I was asked to speak to  Graduates of the Top Grade Secondary School today on the theme, Education is Freedom. I was very excited to speak to these crop of people as I don’t get to talk to  young ones like these often and then the topic was on Education. What better way to make impact? I want to share my speech with you because I believe that Education on all fronts is the biggest need in the world especially in our part of Africa.

This topic particularly reminds me of 200+  Chibok school girls whose freedom were taken away from them just because they wanted education. Even the terrorist sect,m Boko Haram understand that Education is Freedom that is why they are fighting against it. Please find my speech below.


Good Afternoon, let me begin by saying thank you for the opportunity to speak to you on this prestigious day. It is an honor and a privilege to be  here. I would like to define what education and  freedom are and how important they are  in achieving success.

 Education is a continuous process of learning, which broadens our mental horizon and perspectives. Education leads to the acquisition, distribution and use of knowledge. And of course knowledge that is appropriately utilized results in Influence and Power. Education is responsible for the breaking down of all mental barriers and a realization of self.

Freedom is defined as the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants. A Free Uneducated person is an illiterate who is still bound, limited and restrained from being “All He Can Be” because of his ignorance

Permit me to share two very powerful stories with you today.

Ben Carson was raised by a very poor mother, who worked hard to provide Ben and his brother everything within her means. One of the greatest lessons they learnt from her was that “Anything is possible if you dream big”. Ben Carson and his brother struggled through schools because they couldn’t afford to buy the adequate schoolbooks.

Ben at that time always came last in his class and his classmates made him the center of ridicule in school. Their mum was determined to give her children the opportunities she never had so she pushed them to read more. She made them read two library books a week and they will give her written reports, even though she could barely read due to her poor education.

Ben’s desire to read books became stronger with each passing day and he yearned to learn more. He read books on all type of subjects and found connections between them. Within a year, Ben was at the top of his class and his passion for knowledge  grew stronger. Ben graduated with honors from his high school and set a goal of being a medical doctor.

Ben Carson got a scholarship into Yale University and earned a B.A degree in psychology. Ben Carson went ahead to study medicine at the university of Michigan and he become a neurosurgeon.  Ben Carson became the director of pediatric neurosurgery at a young age of 33  in Australia.

In 1997, Ben Carson separated two infant boys (twins joined at the head)and he became the first neurosurgeon in history to ever separate co-joined twins. He has written three best selling books including Gifted Hands .

In 2001, CNN and Time magazine I n the US named Ben Carson as one of the nation’s 20 foremost physicians and scientists. In 2001, the Library of Congress selected him as one of 89 “Living Legends” In 2006, he received the Spingarn Medal, the highest honor bestowed by the Medical Society.

In February 2008, President Bush awarded Ben Carson the Ford’s Theater Lincoln Medal and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the U.S. highest civilian honors. In 2009, actor Cuba Gooding, Jr. portrayed Carson in the TNN television production Gifted Hands.


The next story I am going to tell you is about a young boy who had always shown a love for film making from an early age.  He began experimenting with film in his early teens making movies he would show at his family house. When he was 13 years old, he won a prize for his 40-minute war film ‘Escape to Nowhere’.

He then discovered that his passion was film making, and was eager to learn and gain a lot knowledge in this area. He moved to California USA at the age of 18-19, and applied to University of Southern California twice and was rejected both times.

This rejection didn’t stop him because he knew he wanted to study Film Production and in order for him to become a renowned film maker, So he then applied to California State University and was accepted to study Film Production there.

However he did not finish his degree because his career as a film maker started from when he interned at the editing department of Universal Studios, California. From then he became a famous Film Producer and Writer.

More than 20 years later he was awarded an honorary degree by University of Southern California, the same University he applied to and got rejected by decades ago. A few years later after receiving his honorary degree he went back to his former Alma mater  California State University to finish the degree he started back in 1960s. And was awarded a B.A in Film Production and Electronic Arts.

This man I speak of is Steven Spielberg the famous and most successful film director, writer, producer and businessman of our time. He is known for movies he has produced such as Jurassic park, Adventures of Tin tin, Indiana Jones and so on. Steven Spielberg is worth a whopping  $3.4 Billion.

Today, Steven Spielberg has won a total of 126 awards including 3 Academy/Oscars Awards, 7 Golden Globes, 11 Emmys and various other awards. In March 2014, Forbes announced  that Steven Spielberg made the annual list of the worlds billionaires. So, why did he feel being a famous successful, billionaire was not enough to feel accomplished? Why did he feel the need to go back to his alma mater to complete his degree?

His story teaches us to always finish whatever we start, no matter how late or how long ago it takes. Failure to will create a program in our unconscious mind that will cause us to abort many Goals and Dreams in the future. He went back to his school 35 years later after becoming a Billionaire because no matter how rich or successful you are, having a complete education is very essential to anyone who wants to be taken seriously and respected in Future.

Let me round up with these Quotes from Nelson Mandela who was Locked up in a 6 x 6 prison room for 27 years. Who else can understand the feeling of bondage, restraint and freedom like this ICON?

“For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others”.

“A good head and good heart are always a formidable combination. But when you add to that a literate tongue or pen (The result of education), then you have something very special”.

 “Education is the most powerful weapon, which can be used to change the world”.

“Young people must take it upon themselves to ensure that they receive the highest education possible so that they can represent us well in future as leaders”

As a Performance Coach who has worked across the globe with various Fortune 500 organizations and Top Executives, trust me when I say that as a BLACK  NIGERIAN man, you need to work four times as hard for you to have recognition globally,  competitive advantage and be given the same opportunity, respect and honor as anyone else globally….Since the world has now become a global village.

“For you, education is the most powerful weapon and tool you have; It is the best way in which you can find and enjoy freedom”.

Finally I will like to end my speech with this Chinese Proverb that says that

“If you are planning for a year sow rice; If you’re planning for a decade, plant trees; If you are planning for a lifetime educate people”

Thank You.

The Catalyst. Lanre Olusola.