The best graduating student of Caleb University, Imota, Lagos, Miss Boluwatife Oyekan, tells SAMUEL AWOYINFA how she achieved the feat.
For Boluwatife Oyekan, achieving a first class grade is the fruit of a lot of sacrifice and self-denial.
She was the cynosure of all eyes on Saturday at the institution’s third convocation ceremony held at its multipurpose hall.
According to her, she avoided distractions on the campus, including having any romantic affair with any boy or men, attending parties and succumbing to peer pressure to indulge in what some people will call frivolities.
She says, “I never gave room for any distraction. One, I did not get involved in any amorous affair with the opposite sex. Again, I developed a workable reading time table for myself; and I kept to it.
“Essentially, it is the way you are dressed that people will address you. I kept to the doctrine of my church: the Deeper Life Bible Church. I never wore any skimpy dress. In fact, I never wore earrings. So, no boy ever came to me to say, ‘Bolu, I want to date you.”
Apart from being the best graduating student, Boluwatife, who scored a Cumulative Grade Point Average of 4.75, also got other cash awards for being the best graduating student in her department, College of Pure and Applied Science. She is also the most outstanding student with a Grade Point Average of above 3.50.
She beat other top flyers that include Adesanya Oluwadamilola and Osagie Oluwatobi, who had CGPAs of 4.57 and 4.52, bagging a B.Sc. in Mass Communication and Computer Science respectively.
The petite 21-year-old graduate of Industrial Chemistry says the counselling she got from the Dean of her former department, Prof. Olukayode Ajayi, also helped her a great deal. She explains that Ajayi , who counselled her on her first day in the school, told her about his own undergraduate days and how he managed his time.
She says, “He told me never to pile up my dirty clothes but to wash them as they got dirty. While others were washing their own piles of dirty clothes on Saturday, I was free from such. So, I usually headed for the academic block, where I would bury myself in my books, reading.
“The dean also advised me on how to read my notes. He said when a lecturer gives the first lecture and gives a note, I should read it. When the lecturer gives the second one, I should read it over and then go back to the first one and also read. So, on and on, that was how I pursued my study.”
Recalling what she regards as a tinge of divine intervention in her attending Caleb University, Boluwatife, who attended the British International School, Lekki, Lagos for her secondary school education, states that she had initially gained admission into the University of Manitoba, Canada but she was refused visa. She notes that she passed the Test of English as a Foreign Language and she got all her documentation right.
She adds, “I was offered admission to read Medicine. But the Canadian Embassy refused to give me visa, giving an excuse that I was not a bonafide student. I wept and almost became inconsolable. But now I believe it was God who did not want me to travel abroad then.
“Then, though I was attending a church, I was not God-fearing. It was while I was in Caleb University that I really moved closer to God, and I thank all those numerous people who came and preached at the school chapel throughout my stay there.”
Boluwatife is the fourth of Mr. and Mrs. Olusegun Oyekan’s six children. The mother is a nurse while the father works with an electrical company.
Talking about how she feels being the best graduating student, she says she’s privileged because, according to her, there are other smart and intelligent students in the school.
While she looks forward to getting her call-up letter for the National Youth Service Corps, she explains that after the service year, she hopes to travel abroad for her master’s programme. And where does she want to work thereafter?
She replies, “I will love to work in a multi-national company, and contribute to national development. Ultimately, I will go for higher degrees, because I want to end up in the academics.”
Boluwatife has role models. “Definitely, the first is my spiritual leader, Pastor William Kumuyi, and motivational writer, Ben Carson. For Pastor Kumuyi, his lifestyle of discipline and holiness thrills me. For Ben Cason, his writings give hope that no matter your background, you can make it, if you stay focused on your dreams.”
At the convocation, Caleb’s Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Ayo Olukoju, said apart from the three students that bagged the First Class degree, 43 got second class upper degrees and 80 bagged second class lower. Thirty-two others also bagged the third class.
The institution, he said, ran 13 degree programmes under three colleges. According to him, bagging the first class degree is no fluke.
He said, “Every first class degree awarded here is earned, credible and globally competitive.”
He enjoined the graduands to aim for the best irrespective of the challenges that might come their way. Olukoju pointed out that the convocation was another milestone in the history of the university, which took off in 2008 and “as at today has continued to enjoy the National Universities Commission’s full accreditation status, thereby confirming our core objective of ensuring the production of quality graduates who would contribute positively to national growth.”
In the convocation lecture titled Youth Employment, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Bank of Industry Limited, Mrs. Evelyn Oputu, said the youth in the country had demonstrated innovation in sports and entertainment, among other areas, adding that government, civil society organisations and the private sector must work out ways for their (youths) integration into the policy agendas in all sectors.
“This is to create spaces and opportunities for empowering young people and giving recognition, visibility and credibility to their contributions,” she added.
An industrialist and Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Omatek Computers Limited, Mrs. Florence Seriki, was conferred with an Honorary Doctor of Science degree in Business Administration at the occasion.