Fred Ezeh, Abuja
Eighteen–year-old Arotiba Seunara Peter, formerly a student of the Air Force Secondary School (AFSS), Ikeja, Lagos, drew the attention of local and international delegates that gathered in Abuja, last week, for the 57th annual meeting of Nigeria National Committee of the West African Examinations Council (WAEC), when he was announced as the overall best candidate in the May/June 2018 West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) in Nigeria.
The fully packed hall was up for him as he walked to the stage, alongside his mother to meet top WAEC and Federal Government officials led by the Minister of Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Mohammed Musa Bello, for his award.
Cameras moved towards his direction to capture the memorable moment and his reaction to the announcement, even as while journalists strategically positioned themselves to extract from the candidate, secret of his academic performance. His total T-score in the eight best subjects including English Language and Mathematics was 663. 3030.
In the May/ June 2018 WASSCE, Arotiba with examination number 4251112045, obtained A1 in eight subjects which are Economics A1, Civic Education A1, Tourism A1, English Language A1, Mathematics A1, Biology A1, Chemistry A1 and Physics A1.
He was closely followed by Adeagbo Michelle Oluwabukunmi, from Chrisland High School, VGC, Ajah, Lagos, who came second with total T-score of 650.8016, in the eight best subjects including English Language and Mathematics, and Obi-Obuoha Abiamamela Prince, former student of Jephthah Comprehensive Secondary School, Port Harcourt with total T-score of 646.6936, in eight best subjects including English Language and Mathematics.
Speaking to newsmen, Arotiba, said he has won nine other academic awards in the past years, and he was not surprised that he emerged the best candidate for the May/June 2018 WASSCE.
Arotiba attributed the academic success to hard work and unmerited help he received from his parents, teachers and few friends.
He said: “It was hard work and contributions from unsung heroes that helped to build me up. They instilled in me the spirit of discipline, perseverance, and creativity. My parents also played a great role in my life. They are my first teachers and mentors. My teachers at Air Force Secondary School, Ikeja, Lagos, were so instrumental to my academic success.
“In addition to being studious, I am a social person. I love hanging out with friends having useful discussions. I love reading especially during the holidays. I don’t like to read at night as other people do. I create my own time to study, especially now that I am studying Medicine and Surgery at the University of Ibadan, having scored 305 in the 2018 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME).
“One does not need to shut himself or herself out socially to be an academic genius. It is just an issue of balance. And even currently, I am working on how to broaden my social life because it is not all about academics, success in life is dependent on how you can easily connect, relate and communicate with people effectively.
“I have had a great set of friends since when I was a child and they have contributed in one way or another, to my academic success. I have consciously copy good values from my friends and that had helped me too.
“I made several sacrifices to achieve this. I love watching movie series and other programmes but I stop them during examinations to avoid unnecessary distractions. The only thing I don’t play with is football. I watch football regardless of the season.”
Among his academic achievements include: first positions in 2017 and 2018 in Nigeria English and Mathematics Championship, overall best result in the Joint Promotion Examination of Nigerian Airforce Secondary Schools nationwide, placed 2nd in the second edition of the CAS Inter NAF Quiz competition, his team came first in the 2017 Young Engineering Project competition, overall best student in JSS 1, JSS 11, JSS 111, SS 1, SS 11, Head Boy of CIS Magboro 2012 and AFSS in 2018.
Mr. Ejuwa Matthew, the Vice Principal (academics) of AFSS confirmed that Arotiba emerged the overall best student in JSS 1 to JSS 111, best in Basic Certificate Examination (BCE) and also the best from SS 1, SS 11 and SS 111.
Second prize winner, Adeagbo Michelle Oluwabukunmi, with examination number, 4250831002, Scored A1 in Civic Education, English Language, Geography, Biology, Physics, Chemistry, Animal Husbandry, and Visual Art, with a total score of 650.8016.
Third prize winner, Obi-Obuoha Abiamamela Prince, with examination number, 4331529046, obtained A1 in Civic Education, English Language, Further Mathematics, General Mathematics, Biology, Physics, Chemistry, Technical Drawing, with a total score of 646. 6936.
Meanwhile, Air Force Secondary School, Ikeja, Lagos, were announced as winner of Augustus Bandele Oyediran prize, which is given to school that has the best aggregate as determined by the result of its best 50 candidates, provided that all the grades for English Language, Mathematics and a Science subject are included in determining the aggregate.
The school also won the Omo N’Oba Erediauwa Coronation prize for producing the best male candidate in 2018 WASSCE for school candidates in Nigeria, while Chrisland High School, Ajah, Lagos, won the same prize for producing the best female candidate.
Loyola Jesuit College, Abuja, won the WAEC endowment fund book prize for producing the 1st best aggregate result in 2018 WASSCE in FCT. Louisville Girls’ Secondary School, Abuja, and Stella Maris College, Abuja, won the second and third WAEC endowment fund book prize, respectively.
FCT minister, Bello, who decorated the students with the award, appreciated the intellectual prowess of the students and encouraged them to sustain the momentum and make a global impact, academically and otherwise.
He assured WAEC that the FCT administration was committed to any cause that would provide a fertile ground for Nigerian children to acquire quality and affordable education that would make them relevant in global discussions.
Head of Nigeria National Office, Mr. Olu Adenipekun, congratulated the students and encouraged them to serve as role models to other students who desire similar academic excellence.