From Clement Adeyi, Osogbo
A milk of kindness recently came the way of Miss Sherifat Odemo, a physically challenged graduate of Adeleke University, Ede, Osun State, when the faith-based university offered her automatic employment. Chairman of Council and Pro-chancellor, Dr. Adedeji Adeleke, announced the employment opportunity at a dinner ahead of the third convocation ceremony.
Twenty-three-year-old Odemo, an indigene of Ekiti State, finished with a Second Class Upper Division in Political Science. Her parents, friends and well wishers who came to celebrate with her could not hold back their joy when her name was mentioned by the Vice Chancellor, Professor Ekundayo Alao, for her performance despite her physical disability.
Odemo told Daily Sun that the university also provided her with a motorized wheel chair to aid her movement:
“My admission into Adeleke University was a great miracle. When I wrote JAMB after my Senior Secondary Certificate Examination in 2013, I chose Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba, Ondo State as my first choice, while Adeleke University was my second choice. But unfortunately, I could not meet the cut off mark. This made me very sad.
“As I was lamenting my fate, my mum got a text message from Adeleke University. When she read the text message, behold, it was about an offer of admission into the school. Initially, I hesitated in accepting the offer because I knew that my parents would not be able to afford the school fees of a private university.
“But my parents encouraged me to accept the offer.
They looked for money and I was able to resume. But as I progressed in my studies, the university authority decided to give me a scholarship. I was told that the gesture was due to my determination for university education despite my physical challenge. As if that was not enough, the Pro-chancellor, Dr. Adedeji Adeleke, bought a motorized wheel chair for me to aid my movement on the campus.
“On several occasions, I had to crawl upstairs, carrying my laptop on my chest either to attend classes. This continued painfully until a special arrangement was made by the university authority for me to be having my lectures downstairs.
“At a point, my motorized wheelchair developed fault, but the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Ekundayo Alao, made arrangement and a new one was provided for me.”
How did she receive the news of her automatic employment?
“I received the good news with great joy and gave glory to God Almighty. I never knew that my decision to accept the admission after exercising fears that my parents would not be able to afford the fees would turn out to be a degree certificate that would not be used to search for job in the labor market. I never dreamt that I would get a degree certificate on scholarship that would also earn me an automatic employment. The whole positive developments remain miracles to me. Only God can do this and I give Him all the glory.
“I also remain eternally grateful to Dr. Adeleke. He is like a father to me. I am also grateful to Adeleke University management, particularly the VC, Professor Alao. May God continue to bless all of them.”
She disclosed that her physical challenge problem came was as a result of the injuries she sustained in a motor accident while travelling from Ado-Ekiti to Lagos with her uncle when she was still very small:
“I decided to go to school despite my physical disability because education is very important. I know it will help me stand tall among my equals in the society and that is beginning to happen now with this employment that I have been given.
“There is nothing I would have done if I had not gone to university than to go into business. I would have ended up as a businesswoman. I can do business with my physically challenged condition. But I was determined for education because even if I go into any business venture, I don’t think I can do well without education.
“In my primary school days, I was not brilliant. But I was not discouraged, I continued to work hard. When I got to secondary school, my performance improved. In SS1, I even won prizes. My performance continued to improve until I got to the university and eventually came out with second class upper division.”
Her advice to other physically challenged persons: “I advise them not to see their situation as a death sentence. Rather, they should be determined to succeed in life. They should strive to go to school if they have the opportunity.”
Adeleke commended Odemo for her courage and determination to succeed. He also appealed to well to do Nigerians to sponsor the education of children from indigent families to make them useful to themselves, their families and the society.
He told the graduating students: “As class of Eagles, let me remind you that it is uncommon to see an eagle hobnobbing with obscure men and women. You must distinguish yourself in the world you are about to go into. I pray that you will surpass limits, break records and win laurels for yourselves and your families.
“Remember that certificates are no longer tickets to guarantee employment. You must therefore continue to deepen your skills through professional development and skill acquisition and keep reward at the right perspective.”
Professor Alao also congratulated Odemo for her courage to succeed: “I strongly urge you to make every use of all the experiences you have gone through while you were here as student because in them you will realise that all was meant to give you a secure future.”