"Our greatest pride, today however, is the graduation of our first PhD student, and he is no less a person than His Excellency Olusegun Obasanjo, a former president and also a Head of State of the Federal Republic of Nigeria".
"I have come out with the conviction that poverty is not our lot, or the lot of any individual or group in Nigeria".
He stressed that leaders in the country must be ready to step on the toes of their close associates if they must realise their change agenda.
Represented by Prof. Abubakar Raheed, Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission (NUC), Buhari said that it was Obasanjo's belief in Open and Distance Learning (ODL) that made him enroll in NOUN.
"It is a choice made consciously or unconsciously by our leaders".
He said Nigeria is poor due to the decisions made by its leaders.
"This includes stepping on toes of friends and well-wishers who would not conform to the transformation or change agenda", he said.
In his remark, Obasanjo expressed delight for being awarded doctorate degree by NOUN.
The former president noted that there is no age limit, no status barrier and social limit for functional education. "I took my lectures like any other student, wrote my examinations in my study centre with other students and utilized the learner study support service like any other student".
"I went through the rigour and discipline of the graduate school like any post graduate student", he noted.
"The second part of my aim to study at the University is to show to the public and academic community that knowledge or education acquired through open and distance learning is not in any way inferior to knowledge or education acquired from bricks and mortar or walled universities", he said.
Professor Abdalla listed other outstanding graduands which included one of NOUN Ambassadors, Chief Chika Okpala, popularly known as Chief Zebrudaya Okorigwe Nwogbo alias 4.30 who was among the graduating Masters students.