Israel’s mother, Mrs Jummai Zakari, a widow who works in a bank in Lagos, said she became a single mother 14 years ago
Timothy Olanrewaju, Maiduguri
Master Israel Zakari, the lad that scored the highest mark in the 2018 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) said he never thought he could achieve the feat.
“I read a lot, I knew I was going to do well but not up to this feat,” Israel who scored 364 said in Maiduguri, the capital of Borno, his home state shortly after Governor Kashim Shettima announced N5 million scholarship award for his university education.
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He, however, said hard work helped him to emerge the highest score, urging his peers from his state to brace up and be smart.
Israel, the second in the family of three who lost his father, a military personnel, defied all odds including finance, to get the highest scores in the 2018 UTME urged his mates not to see their poor environment as inhibition to their successes in life.
“They should know that one is not a victim of one’s circumstance. It is your decision that determines who you are. Which means that you can’t give an excuse that where you come from was the reason you’re like this. It is your decision that makes you what you are,” he said.
He said youths ought to exhibit confidence all the time, believe in God and themselves. It is this unparallel faith that fueled his faith as a student in Faith Academic, Ota, Ogun State.
His mother, Mrs Jummai Zakari, a widow who works in a bank in Lagos, said she became a single mother 14 years ago.
“I have been taking care of the three children since I lost my husband. I work in a bank in Lagos. Israel has a sister in the university,” she disclosed.
Shettima who announced a N5 million scholarship said he was moved by the feat of the Israel despite his challenge. The governor said he decided to approve the scholarship upfront to ensure his university education did not suffer since his tenure would end in May 2019.
“Israel, as his mother has told us, was raised as an orphan. The mother lost her husband who was a Major in the Nigerian Army about 14 years ago and she single-handedly raised three children. Israel is the second of her children. The mother has done her part by raising a child with excellence and that child has made Borno State very proud,” he disclosed.
He urged other students in the state to emulate Israel who also made nine distinctions in the May/June 2018 WASSCE.