Fred Ezeh, Abuja
Mr. Adebayo Fabiyi emerged best out of 14,771 students that graduated recently from the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN). He shared the secret of his success.
Nigerians would be interested in your journey to stardom
It was a journey that was propelled by determination and the zeal for self development, aided by the help of God. I have been seeking opportunity to get a Bsc degree, few years, after my Higher National Diploma (HND) programme. I explored lots of options but no one fit into my busy schedule, until I heard about NOUN. I went through their programmes and was impressed with its flexibility. I studied Chemistry in my Polytechnic days. So, I wanted degree programme that would complement the course. Lucky enough, I was offered admission to study Environmental Sciences and Resource Management.
Was it ever in your dream to emerge the best graduating student?
Yes. That was my ambition from the point of entry. I always drew my inspiration from the scriptural verse that states that ‘whatever is worth doing is worth doing well’. I had aspired to be the best ever graduating student, but I didn’t achieve that. However, I emerged the best graduating student out of over 14,000 students in my set with 4.8 CGPA.
What was the secret of this academic feat?
There was no secret or magic other than commitment and dedication to studies. I was determined from day one that I will be the best graduating student from my set and that worked out for me. Like I said earlier, it was not magic but determination, commitment and the help of God that saw me through.
What were the sacrifices you made to emerge the best graduating student?
Top on the list of the sacrifices I made was my sleep. I love to sleep especially when I am weak and tired. But I had to sacrifice that to achieve my academic dream. I never had any distraction, either financially or otherwise. My job provides me with good salary and enough allowances to foot my bills.
What informed your choice of NOUN out of several other options you had?
I really had several options. In fact, I was even running a degree programme somewhere before I dropped it and enrolled in NOUN. I was forced to stop that programme because the time always clashed with my work. I work with the Pipeline and Product Marketing Company (PPMC), a subsidiary of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). So I have busy schedules with timeline. But in my search for easier and flexible education opportunity, I did a research on NOUN programmes and was impressed with it, particularly the mode of delivery. So I applied and secured admission. I gave my best in the course of the programme, and the result of my secret effort was what was celebrated at the 7th convocation of NOUN held in Abuja recently.
Are you married?
Yes. In fact I was already married with two kids when I enrolled to study environmental science in NOUN.
What moral support did you get from your wife and other family members?
My wife and other family were extremely supportive. I shared my dream of becoming the best graduating student with them and they understood it clearly. My wife supported the idea and ensured that the dream was realized. On several occasions, especially when it looked like I was losing the dream, my wife will increase the push, insisting that I rekindle the dream. There were days that I returned home tired after a hectic day and felt like sleeping, my wife will try as much as possible to push sleep away from me and that was really helpful especially during exams. I remain eternally grateful to her. For example, I have a small study room in my house and each time I am there, my wife and kids would know that daddy is not in a mood for play but for study. In addition to that, I always isolate myself from heavy food during exam. My wife always ensures that I eat light food during exam to stay alert. It might shock you to know that I don’t sleep more than an hour a day for the three weeks duration of our examination.
What was her response to the news that you emerged the best graduating student?
Immediately I received the call from the school informing me of the development, I quickly called her. I overheard her on the phone screaming, to the point that neighbours converged in our house to know the source of the strange excitement. She was grateful to God and was proud to identify with me as my wife. She and my children celebrated me in a unique way. They were happy that the sacrifices paid off.
Were they at the convocation ground to celebrate with you?
Yes. My wife and children, alongside other family members flew into Abuja from my base in Port-Harcourt to participate in the convocation.
What is your advice for your fellow students who might rely on government for employment?
They must have a change of mindset. It is a pathetic situation in Nigeria today. Figures from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), regarding jobs and unemployment are alarming, scaring and discouraging. I feel bad each time I see crowd at the venue of any aptitude test struggling to secure unlimited opportunity. It is an indication that government must to rise and create job opportunities for people to avoid upsurge of crime and other social vices that might destabilize the peace and unity of Nigeria.
Being a first class graduate, will you consider taking up teaching job in NOUN?
No way! I am contented with my job and won’t consider academic job. I will be difficult for me to do that.