Twenty-two-year-old Adeyeye Adeniyi of the Department of Insurance, University of Lagos (UNILAG) who emerged as one of the best overall graduating students at the recent 50th convocation ceremony with a CGPA of 4.96 opens up on his success story.
Tell us about yourself?
I hail from Ondo State, Ondo West Local Government. My Dad is man of God while my mum is a businesswoman involved in trading commodities. I attended Gladys Nursery and Primary School and Enis Nursery, Primary School and Kosofe Senior College. I gained admission into the Yaba College of Technology (YABATECH) after writing JAMB a couple of times. My greatest desire was to study in UNILAG, so I had to rewrite JAMB one more time to enroll for a programme in UNILAG.
Why the choice of course?
Choosing Insurance was influenced by someone I had as a mentor. He highlighted the fact that the industry is at its growth stage and provides a lot of opportunities for game changers. I guess he saw the potential in me to change the traditions and design innovative systems, products and services. I later discovered this skill along my journey in school. I was able to create an Insurance product with a group of friends, which was pitched to several companies. Currently, we are working on couple of projects within and outside the Insurance space.
How did you get the news that you made First Class and was one of the best overall in the university?
From the early days, I made up my mind to graduate as the best student. This inspired me to write this goal in a cardboard in my room four years ago. The journey started in year one when I made 4.92 CGPA. I knew I could do better and get better results. In the following year, I had 4.96 which fell to 4.94 after my third year. The setback got me worried, but I spoke with friends and family members and they encouraged me to keep moving. To the glory of God, my final year was blessed with 5.0 GPA in both first and second semester, to make my CGPA 4.96. I was never certain I will be graduating as one of the overall best, but I worked towards becoming the best with the grace of God.
What was your reaction and who did you inform first?
I was in church when the news came. I was so excited and danced well that Sunday. It was a dream fulfilled for me. Later, I informed my parents, my siblings and then my uncle. I never got to tell my friends, because they got the news before me.
At what point did you realise you will make a first class?
I knew I had the potential to graduate with First Class right from my year one. I was ready from day one.
Can you share the secret of how to make a First Class?
To be honest, there is no secret. All I did was to develop my personal reading strategy based on how it would best work for me. For instance, I am not the library kind of person neither am I the overnight study person. I love to read in places where I can walk and gist with people around. I can’t give a list of what needs to be done but, I can tell students who so desire to make First Class, to first, be honest about wanting that goal. This is important because, at some point you are likely to want to give up on that goal. Your strong desire and commitment will keep you going. Many started with that desire, but only few realise that goal.
Give details of your social life on campus
My days in UNILAG was filled with fun. I had a triangular lifestyle in year one, but I later opened up in year two. I joined the class football team, and won two trophies with them. I play the top strike role for the team. I also attended quite a number of parties on and off campus. During my stay in UNILAG, I initiated three distinctive major projects on campus and two other outside because I have interest in designing models, and participating in projects that promote innovation, creativity and solving problems in the business and social world.
Was there any time you felt like giving up studies?
So many times. There were lots of things that made one rethink if academics is the way forward. The challenges, the success of others who were not academically sound in school and lots more. In all, I have learnt that there is no one way to success and no one should condemn other legal ways just because it’s not theirs. Personally, I am a vast individual who has developed great skills to make a difference in the career, business and social world. I currently trade forex, run a side business and work on business and social projects for third parties.
What do you think of Nigerian youth?
The Nigerian youth desire a great future. I love the fact that we dream very big. It is evident that we have the right mindset and vision for this nation and ourselves. Our big dreams can disrupt existing systems and tradition on a global scale. That is why Nigerian youths abroad are making us proud in the medical, sports, entertainment and business fields. There is only one thing left out, which is the planning and executing stage. We want all the luxury cars, the great mansions but only a few of us have a well-structured plan, strategy, commitment and dedication required along the road to success. Some of us want someone to just wake up and give us the life we so much desire. I personally will love it if the likes of Davido, Wizkid, Otedola, Dangote, E-Money, Fela Durotoye, Ooni of Ife (Oba Adeyeye), and other philanthropists should wake up and give my life a great turn around, but I am of the opinion to create a good future for myself if the society is not ready and encouraging. I look forward to opportunities from the great individuals in Nigeria and abroad who have created a reputable brand for their respective careers, my biggest fear now, is to live a life of mediocrity afterwards.
Do you agree with the saying that the youths are the leaders of tomorrow?
There is an ongoing evolution. I believe majority of the youths are getting more politically aware and interested in the governance of the nation. We just need to do more to depict the attributes of a good leader right from the grassroots to the top. Every youth should take the onus to make his immediate environment better. We all can’t be the president, for example, because there is only a seat for that position but we can act in the capacity of a leader right from our homes, streets and communities.
Do you agree that Facebook and other social media are distractions to several students?
There are two perspectives to this; to some, it might pose a threat to their academic performances while it enhances the performances of others. It all depends on the activities carried out on it. Personally, Social media fostered my success and personal development. I was able to network with high profile individuals and at the same time access great and groundbreaking information.
Many First Class graduates do not like to lecture. Would you take up the offer if given the opportunity?
I am currently not looking in that direction at the moment. I look forward to pursing a masters degree in Oil and Gas Management. I see myself as more of a career and business person. I have got a lot of ideas and solution to deplore to several industries. I am a deep thinker and a provider of business solutions through design thinking and long hours of brainstorming.
What is the nickname your colleagues called in school?
Lot of people call me S.A which are my initials. The nickname was popular in class and on the football pitch.
How did you cope during ASUU strike?
During the strike periods, I opened myself to skill acquisition programmes, off campus projects, my personal business, forex trading and internship.