•Gained admission after writing UTME, post-UTME seven times
By Gabriel Dike
Many candidates would give up after seven fruitless attempts at securing university admission. But not Mrs. Ore Elizabeth Orefuwa; she got admitted into Lagos State University (LASU), Ojo, Lagos, after her eighth shot. At the 2015/2016 convocation of the university held recently, she emerged the best overall graduand.
The 29-year-old, who majored in Education Management, was the star at the convocation ceremony, graduating with 4.74 CGPA. She carted home three prizes: best overall graduate prize, university endowment prize and best prize in her faculty. She and others received N100,000 and plaques, introduced for the first time by the convocation committee, headed by Prof. Ayodeji Badejo.
In less than 24 hours after she was garlanded, Orefuwa was delivered of a baby girl, sparking another round of celebration by her colleagues and family members.
Orefuwa told Daily Sun that she almost gave up her dream of acquiring university education but her younger sister, Esther, who saw the potential in her, persuaded her to keep striving. It was then that she gave the idea a second thought; it was Esther who bought the 2012 UTME form for her.
Orefuwa did not forget Esther when she delivered her speech at the event. She noted that, without her, she wouldn’t be standing at the podium to address the gathering.
Orefuwa, who was among 26 First Class graduates produced by LASU, was the centre of attraction at the ceremony as she moved back and forth to receive her awards and give her speech, looking heavy. On each occasion, she was applauded for her feat by the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Olarnrewaju Fagbohun, LASU’s principle officers and other graduands.
The star of the moment disclosed that her journey through the institution wasn’t an easy one: “It took me seven years of writing the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) and post-UTME before I finally gained admission in 2012. Thrice, I also applied for direct entry into Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife.”
She revealed that while she was waiting for her admission, she started her professional training at the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) in 2007 and qualified as an accountant with (ACA) in 2010.
With her qualification, she said she began to lecture at different ICAN tutorial centres.
“I wanted to study Accounting but fate brought me where I am today; I am enjoying every bit of it because I also have passion for teaching. I never dreamt of coming out with First Class let alone emerging as the best overall student. My aim was to get my first degree certificate after several years of waiting and to satisfy my dad who had been insisting on academic certificate before professional certificate.
“However, what kept me going were self-belief, focus, determination and self-motivation bearing in mind that I am not competing with anyone but with my own capacities. I knew that I had to go beyond whatever I had already achieved. I see all of us as lions and lionesses but I am only lucky to be called upon to give the roaring sound.”
Orefuwa showered encomiums on Fagbohun for his efforts at making LASU a great institution and the pride of the country, stating that the recognition of 160 students including her with CGPA of 4.5 and above in the 2014/2015 academic session went a long way in motivating them.
“I urge those we are leaving behind, to keep the flag flying, believe that one day they will also be celebrated. Although the road might be rough, they should remain focused, determined, self-motivated and, above all, put God first; for there is always light at the end of the tunnel.”
For her husband, Mr. Ore Ekundayo, it was mission accomplished as he shared in the success of his wife. He received a standing ovation when his wife introduced him.
“I feel great and excited about the honour and encomiums showered on my wife. She has made me proud,” he said.
Elated Ekundayo told Daily Sun that he discovered that while his wife was in her third years at school, she was already in First Class, adding: “I had to encourage her and make her believe she could make it. I never knew she would emerge the best overall LASU graduate. But I knew she would come out with First Class. Her academic feat would forever be remembered in LASU’s history.
“As a husband, I had sleepless nights; I used to wake her up at night to read for her examinations. I also had to do the cooking in the house but she often rejected the idea of having me cook for her. She has passion for lecturing and often assists me in my office work.”
Her sister, Esther, told Daily Sun that she did not expect her to emerge top of her school but admitted that “Aunty Elizabeth,” as she fondly calls her, was very good and hard-working when it came to studying and preparing for examinations.
Esther described her sister as a book worm and gave reason why she purchased the UTME form for her: “I bought the JAMB form for her because I believe it is not over until it is over.
“The family never expected that she would deliver during the convocation ceremony. I expect she would go for her masters and then Ph.D.”
Fagbohun informed the gathering that LASU had maintained its ranking by the National Universities Commission as the best state university in Nigeria. He pledged on behalf of the staff that the institution would not only maintain its rating but continue to rise till it became the best university in Nigeria.
He disclosed that 28,433 candidates graduated on the occasion, out of which 133 were awarded diplomas, 28,300 first degrees, with 26 graduating in First Class.