Had Mr. And Mrs. Sehinde Omope rated material things above their children’s education, the success recorded by their son, Oluwatosin, could have been impossible.
Not only did Oluwatosin obtain a first class degree, the 21-year-old also emerged the 2014 overall best-graduating student of the Crawford University, Igbesa, Ogun State. He obtained a 4.79 Cumulative Grade Point Average in Accounting out of 5.0.
Apart from this, the youngster received four other prizes. So, on each occasion that he mounted the podium in the expansive hall for recognition, heads turned in his direction. He received the Pro-Chancellor, University Parents Forum and Best-behaved male prizes.
According to Oluwatosin, his parents struggled to pay his school fee, which was N450, 000 per session.
The Crawford valedictorian says he saw his parents sell their car, approach family members, friends and even the church to source money for his education and that of his younger brother, who is also studying Accounting in the university.
He says, “Apart from the grace of God which made this feat possible, I see my parents as yet another motivating factor.
“They struggled really hard to ensure that I got good education. My father is a lecturer at the Lagos State University, Ojo, while my mum is a civil servant with the Lagos State Ministry of Sports and Youth Development.
“As civil servants, their salaries were not paid when due. And the school fee here is about N450,000. So, my parents had to sell their car. At a point, we had no television set at home. I also saw them go to family members, friends and even the church to solicit funds.
“Though they never told us, I knew they were passing through difficult times to ensure we had the best education.”
Oluwatosin, who confesses that he attended social functions, such as special dinners and cultural nights on campus, says he had his reading timetable, which he respected and kept to religiously.
“I had a solid social life on campus. I attended many social functions. But I also had my reading timetable. After the lectures, I headed for the library for my studies and from there the next place was the canteen.
“After eating, I headed for the hostel, where I ‘gisted’ and played with my friends, because all work no play makes Jack a dull boy.
“I retire to bed at 10pm and then wake up around 4am, after having about six hours of rest. Then I would do two hours reading, after which I would take my bath and leave the hostel.
“I then read till around 9am, when the lecture would commence. That was my routine.”
Oluwatosin never read late into the night and he told his friends who did so that they were deceiving themselves. According to him, the brain overworks during the daytime and so needs to rest at night. In his thinking, therefore, an average student should rest his brain for at least six hours in order to get refreshed for the next day’s business.
The valedictorian, who claims he had good primary and secondary education foundation, notes that he attended the Holy Rock International School, Ketu, Lagos, and Access International School, Magboro, Ogun State, respectively.
Oluwatosin agrees that university education is a different ball game, with its challenges and excitements.
He notes that he never allowed the challenges of epileptic water supply and electricity, marathon lectures and keeping to a stiff reading regime for four years to weigh him down.
He adds, “Each time I wanted to be weighed down by some of these challenges and remembered what my parents had invested in my education, I shrugged them off and moved on.”
Oluwatosin, who argues that with God, focus and determination, he was able to achieve the feat, advises other students and younger ones never to lose focus.
“If any student stays in bed longer than eight hours, such a person must be lazy and indolent,” he warns.
While he looks forward to the one-year compulsory national service with hope and excitement, he says he would further his education, after the completion of his service year.
With a sudden glow in his countenance, Samuel says, “After the service year, I want to enrol for my master’s degree programme, and thereafter my doctorate. That is my dream.”
But does this mean he wants to pursue a career in the academic world? He says no.
“I do not want any career in the academic. But if the opportunity comes, I will weigh the options before me. It will depend on what I have at hand, and I will compare before accepting or rejecting the offer.”
Despite being sociable, Oluwatosin hints that he never had any girlfriend throughout his four-year sojourn in the institution.
Meanwhile, Crawford’s Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Samson Adelaja, has blamed poor and inadequate electricity generation for high unemployment rate in the country.
He adds that 60 million youths in the country are unemployed, partly due to the relocation of industries to neighbouring countries where electricity is stable.
This, he explains, has led to the saturation of the few remaining industries and civil service jobs.
He says, “Nigeria produces 4,000 megawatts electricity to service 162 million people compared to South Africa generating 50,000 megawatts to service 45 million people.
“Consequently, basic daily needs are imported, as Nigeria spends over N6tn to import food yearly, thus creating jobs for the people in the countries from where we import the goods.”
Ayanlaja says the institution is tackling the scourge of unemployment headlong by exposing its students to ‘hands-on’ entrepreneurial skills in fish farming, batik making, fashion designing, soap making, bead craft, event planning and interior decoration, among others.
“These graduands have also been trained to be innovative potential job creators as they are all versed in one or more entrepreneurial skills.”
Two hundred and eighty-five graduating students went home with different classes of degrees.
A breakdown showed that 14 obtained first class degrees, 49 recorded second class upper, 127 made second class lower while 59 and six obtained third class and pass respectively. (Punch)
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