By Peace Rahman
Seventeen-year- old Joseph Lambo started taking his education seriously from his kindergarten days. Years after, he has continued to be the best in examinations he writes. He scored As in nine subjects in the May/June 2017 West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE).
In an interview with The Education Report, Joseph spoke about his strategy and how it has earned him distinction and his planned course of study. He also praised his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Michael Adegbola for their moral and material support.
How did you attain this academic feat?
I give all glory to God for my academic achievement. Often, when I feel that something is difficult and unattainable, I just pray to God and I believe that God always helps me to achieve it. I always come first in school. The SSCE was a challenge because in all the examination I had sat in the past, I had always made the best results. But they were internal examinations. People doubted that I could repeat the same feat in an external examination. The best result in my school last year was seven As and it was a challenge for me to surpass this result because I wanted people to know that it was not only in internal examinations I could excel. Apart from that, I had to study hard. I sometimes sleep at 4am and wake up at 6am because I was studying. I was also able to succeed through the help of friends and colleagues and I thank my parents for their financial and mental support throughout. All these contributed and helped me to achieve my results.
Apart from academics, what other things do you do?
I watch and play football. This even helps in my academics. I get motivated to work hard by watching footballers because the amount they earn is unbelievable. And sometimes, I feel that if I work hard, I could be known or be celebrated like them. Aside from football, I am also good with computers. I used to make games at some point, but I had to stop so that I could put more effort in my academics. I still hope to use my knowledge of computer and coding in the future so that it could help me when I’m done with school.
What roles did your parents play in your performance, and what career do you hope to pursue in the future?
From primary school, my parents have always been determining factors in all my achievements. My father and mother always spend time to help me with my assignments and apart from paying my fees, they paid for lessons. Their support and the motivation have been helpful. I don’t think I could have done it without them. Initially, I wanted to study computer engineering, but after my research, I realized that I could learn it outside the university. The course that actually appeals to me is medicine. However, I will study computer engineering outside the university. Having knowledge in the two fields would be helpful to me because the world is moving and we cannot do without computer engineers and doctors.
We have had situations where some private schools assist students to pass external examinations, what is your experience?
I have written JAMB and I scored 275, but the computer I used had faults and I could not start until 30 minutes after others had started. Also, there were errors in my English Language paper, the nearest in meaning was opposite in meaning and I lost about 40 points because of that mistake. There was also power problem in the centre, where I sat for JAMB and connecting to the server was hard. There were so many problems at the centre. I really tried my best in the examination, but there was nothing I could do. My school of choice is University of Lagos (UNILAG)
On examinations malpractice, my school actually organized a seminar on that. My principal, Mrs. Onochie is a religious person and a pastor in the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) She is against malpractice and she organized a seminar on it for us. A school in the area once had its external examination cancelled over malpractice, so she does not tolerate it at all. Students were widely spaced out during the examination. We were on our own. She only allowed us to help each other before the examinations and this helped us to work hard. The result of the examination was generally good in my school.
However, no student or teacher assisted anybody. We were not allowed to communicate with anybody during examinations. The only role my school played was to teach us well before examinations and they taught us how to deal with stress and handle examinations.
Have you applied for scholarship awards?
I have applied for scholarship awards within and outside the country and I have written many examinations to that effect. I have been reading since I finished my secondary education. I still have some scholarship awards examinations to write in October and November and if they work out, I hope to have full scholarship awards to study in the United States of America (USA).
How many students obtaned 9As in your school?
I was the only one who had that. Three other students had seven As, while about five others had five As. But nobody failed in my school, all of us had results that could get us admission into the university.
How do you normally achieve your goals?
I believe that one should set goals and be determined to attain them. Just try to be the best and don’t waste your potentials. Nothing can stop me from being the best. When I was in Basic nine, I was not a sport person and someone once said that football was not for me, so I decided to go into the game to prove the person wrong. There is nothing I cannot do if I set my mind on it. I was the captain of the football team in the school then. So, the mentality one should have is to be the best in whatever you do and not to settle for anything less.
Mother, Mrs. Olubunmi Lambo speaks:
What can you say about your son, Joseph?
We thank God he was able to achieve this. Parents should help their children to be the best in whatever they do. When Joseph was a child, he was always serious with his books. Prior to when he started his kindergarten, he would hold his crayon and eraser and once he wakes up, he would ask for his materials.
That was even when he was as young as one year old. He has always been the best since his days at Unique Children School, Omole Estate, Lagos. Right from his days in kindergarten to primary school he was always the best graduating student. He started to be the best again from year seven at Unique Heights, which is the secondary school, till he graduated. So, when WASSCE results came, it was not a surprise because we expected him to be the best. He represented his school in many events, where he won many medals, but all the same, all glory goes to God.
Is the performance hereditary?
I would say it is hereditary because my father in law, the late Dr. Joseph Lambo was the best in his field as a medical doctor. My son was named after him. Also, my husband was the best graduating student in his time in the University of Lagos. My other children are like that too.