Twenty-three-year-old Oluwaseun Akasoro, says YABATECH was his second choice of institution after the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB) did not offer him admission. In an interview with The Education Report, he spoke on how he emerged best overall graduate, worked full/part-time to enable him to pay school fees and take care of other expenses.
Journey to YABATECH
YABATECH became my last resort after several advice from mentors and my siblings. I was so discouraged when I saw my JAMB score that year (2013). I wrote the paper-based test that year and I scored 190 but I still believe my score should have been more than that, I was expecting 270+. I believed my Physics, Chemistry, and Mathematics alone should fetch me nothing less than 230 that year. But only God knows why my score was that low. I decided then to take YABATECH post UTME with the hope of taking JAMB next year. I didn’t prepare for the post-UTME but I still managed to beat the cut off mark for my course and my name was on the merit list. I didn’t want to go to a polytechnic, that made me not to prepare for the post UTME because right from my senior secondary school days, I’ve known about the discrimination between HND and B.Sc holders. After my ND programme, I graduated with Distinction and I was also the best in my department. I decided to take direct entry to the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB). I obtained the direct entry form to study Electrical/Electronics Engineering at FUNAAB . I applied for my transcript and it was sent late (after the deadline for submission) due to the internal strike and the long process to obtain transcript then. The process has been corrected and simplified now. YABATECH transcript application/process is faster now and it can be done online. I guess the transcript couldn’t meet up with FUNAAB admission. I wasn’t offered admission into FUNAAB that year and I resorted to taking HND form just because I didn’t want to stay at home and I also love my course (Industrial Maintenance Engineering). I told myself “I will do PGD and professional courses at the end of the HND programme, I can’t stay at home”. Not knowing the HND was God’s plan for me. I just have to let go of self and let God take control. If I was given a second and a third chance. I will still choose YABATECH and the Department of Industrial Maintenance Engineering. The department has exposed me to a lot in the field of Electrical and Mechanical engineering. If not for YABATECH, I wouldn’t have met the best set of course mates, friends, and lecturers. They’ve always encouraged me, supported me, inspired me to do more.
Discrimination between B.Sc and HND
I’m not worried about the discrimination. As an HND holder, you have to develop yourself and take as many professional courses that are relevant to your field. Most companies now are after what you can offer (value) and not your degree. If you can build yourself as an HND holder, you can get a job meant for a B.Sc holder. I used to tell my friend that “There is no alternative for the best. If you are loaded, you will be needed irrespective of your background or qualification”.
Industrial action and challenges
I wasn’t happy with the incessant strike by the staff unions but it was an opportunity for me to reflect on what we have done in school so as to have a better understanding. Finance was also a big challenge at home, My weekly allowance from home was just #1,500 (transportation + feeding for the week), sometimes #1,000 or #500. I can’t even afford to buy books from my weekly allowance. I’ve always applied for part-time/full time teaching jobs during those periods and holidays. The money I was able to save for those periods helped me a lot. I was able to pay for my school fees for two sessions (ND 2, HND 2), buy books and also do other things.
Emerging best overall graduate
The God factor: I’ve always put God first in everything I do. My favourite quote is “Man efficiency without God sufficiency will always lead to deficiency”. The reading pattern which I adopted in school also helped (I make sure I go through everything we did in class for that day and understand it. The next time I’m reading a new topic on those courses, I always make sure I revise the previous topics. By doing that daily, I master the majority of those topics/courses). I’ve always shared everything I read or know with my course mates. I found out that the more I share, the more I have a better understanding. I don’t hide anything from them (course materials, ebooks, videos). YouTube videos and ebooks: I download videos and ebooks on each topic/course. I use night plans and church unlimited internet to download most of the videos.
Library best place to read
I used the college library almost every day when I was staying in a hostel. The library was the best place for me to read in school because I hate noise or distraction when I’m reading. I was able to avoid noise/distractions from friends, roommates, and in the hostel. Aside from reading, I was able to get some additional information on some topics from books in the library. I couldn’t have afforded to get some of those engineering textbooks then. The breakdown of my results was HND 1 (1st semester) – 3.82 CPGA, HND 1 (2nd Semester) – 3.82 CPGA, HND 2 (1st semester)- 3.64, CPGA and HND 2 (2nd semester)- 3.96 CPGA.
Compete with myself
I wasn’t even expecting it or will I say I didn’t even know I will emerge the overall best. It wasn’t my goal for that year but nevertheless I’ve always worked on myself to be better than who I was the last time. The only competition I’ve always had was with myself. I don’t compete with anyone. I just do what has to be done and I strive to always give it my best. “The overall best “ I felt was just God trying to compensate me for my labour of love and for the sacrifices I made while in school. Throughout my stay in school, I’ve not always thought of myself alone, I’ve always thought of others (my course mates, the freshers). I’ve always sacrificed my time to take the tutorials on any course they are finding difficult and also motivate them. My brother has always told me to “Live for generations to come and also touch lives with my gifts and talents because that’s what people will remember you for”. During exams, I hardly have time for myself.
The only course that gave me a tough time was Industrial Automation 2. The PLC programming part looks hard and complex at first. Thank God for YouTube and Google. I downloaded some ebooks and videos and everything was sorted.
Striking a balance between academic and social life on campus
I’m a social person. I play football, video games and also attend parties. I was actively involved in some of the sporting activities and social activities in my department and in the school of engineering. What really helped me has established priorities. When you know your purpose, you should establish your priorities. Established priorities guided me in striking a balance between my academics and social life. My social life didn’t affect my academics. The greatest mistake an individual can ever make is to be busy but not effective (focus your strength on the right thing). You have to do the right thing, the right time and in the right way. I was the president of my departmental association (SIMES) – Society for Industrial Maintenance Engineering Students. I was actively involved in the planning and organising of those social events.
Call for the scrapping of NYSC
I don’t share that view. I’m a corp member, serving in Kogi State (North Central) presently. With the little time I’ve spent here, I can boldly say that NYSC has not deviated from its purpose of inculcating in Nigerian Youths the spirit of selfless service to the community, and also to emphasise the spirit of oneness and brotherhood of all Nigerians, irrespective of our cultural or social background. During the orientation camp, I’ve met and related to people from different states and cultures. The scheme has also implemented skill acquisition and entrepreneurship development (SAED) programme to help reduce the alarming increase in the rate of unemployment and crime in our dear nation.
Support conversion of YABATECH to varsity
I can’t say for other schools, I only know about YABATECH. I believe YABATECH is ripe enough to be a university by now with the quality of lecturers they have and the quality of graduates they’re producing. I know some necessary things are required and have to be put in place for university accreditation. All these can look into so as to grant the approval.
Lecturer job offer
Yes, I will love to lecture if I’m offered the opportunity. My friends and course mates have always said that I will be a lecturer because of the way I teach. I love to teach, motivate and inspire people, most especially the younger generations. And I’m sure lecturing job will give me that avenue to touch more lives and also raise change agents that will grow and transform the economy and also improve the maintenance culture of our country.
Relationship with the opposite sex on campus
It was just God. I was free with the majority of them that I came across on campus. I related and talk freely with most of them. One thing that really helped me was that “I define my relationship with them and also set boundaries”. My youth pastor have made me to understand that most ladies are very emotional and prone to words. So you have to be careful what you say to them. I’ve learned to choose my words even when I’m annoyed or offended by anyone. I also avoided excessive closeness with the opposite sex. And most importantly, I guard my heart (I did not allow premature romance to ruin my heart). I exercised self-control and discipline.
My name is Akasoro Oluwaseun, I graduated from the Department of Industrial Maintenance Engineering, School of Engineering, Yaba College of Technology. I am 23 years old from Ijomu area, Ikorodu Local Government of Lagos State. I am the last (sixth) born of Mr. & Mrs. A.A. Akasoro. My dad (retired from work 16 years ago) and my mum is a petty trader (she sells bread and provisions). I attended St. Patrick School (now Noble Stars Schools, Ikorodu.) from primary one to four (2001-2005). My parents couldn’t afford the school fees again because things have not been easy after my dad retired from work.