Twenty three-year-old Semiu Olalekan recently emerged the best graduating student of the Olabisi Onabanjo University (OOU), Ogun State in 2016/2017 academic session. The Abeokuta native graduated with 4.81 CGPA from the Department of Economics.
Olalekan revealed to The Education Report that he wrote the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board admission exam (JAMB) thrice. He also supports the demand for reduction in OOU school fee, on the secret of his success, why Governor Ibikunle Amosun called him ‘local boy’ at the convocation and that some friends dropped out because of inability to pay school fee.
I am from Ogun State, Abeokuta Local Government Area in particular. I am 23 years old. I attended Munlak Nursery and Primary School, Alakuko, Lagos State for my primary education and the Nigeria Navy Secondary School, Ibara, Abeokuta, Ogun State for my secondary school. Then I gained admission into the Yaba College of Technology (YABATECH), Lagos where I obtained my national diploma in Accountancy with Distinction.
I am from an average family, not poor and not rich. My parents, Mr. Abdulwasiu Taiwo and Mrs. Fatimat Taiwo; are fellows of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN). My father works as a Finance Manager in UAC while my mother works as an Internal Auditor in Reinsurance Company, Marina.
Journey to OOU
I had nine credit passes in my WASSCE result including English and Mathematics. I wrote my first JAMB when I was in secondary school and I scored 216 but couldn’t get admission into my choice university which was the University of Lagos. I took another JAMB in 2011, scored 223 and got admission into YABATECH. I wrote my third JAMB when I was in my final level (ND2) in YABATECH. That was the JAMB result that gained me admission into OOU in 2014 during my six months internship with KPMG , a professional audit firm.
My dream university was the University of Ibadan but I couldn’t make the requirements for admission into my desired course (Economics, while the Federal University of Agricultural Abeokuta was my second choice. I took change of institution form to include OOU as part of the institutions and removed UI since I did not meet the requirements for admission. Since I did not pass UNILAG Post UTME after my secondary school, I ruled it out of my choice of institutions. I am happy that my choice was really worth the stress. OOU has stretched me beyond my comfort zone and with that, I was able to achieve this wonderful feat.
Low class university?
Well, everyone is entitled to their own personal opinion. I heard many people saying that even before I got admitted to the school but for me, OOU is still the best university in terms of impacting universal knowledge into students because it takes into consideration the psychological and physical aspects of life that may make or mar students’ education both at present and in the future. For example, OOU is one of the institutions that make Agricultural Science, a compulsory general course for both 100 and 200 level students. This is one example among many others. In as much as it does not reduce the quality of universal education and still awards higher degrees, then it is a great university.
ASUU and other strikes
During my stay in OOU, I ran a professional course (ICAN), along with my B.sc programme in school. When ASUU and other unions go on strike, I faced my ICAN examination until the school resumes. So I wasn’t really affected by the strike and I never thought of jettisoning my studies because I studied everyday for school and ICAN.
Aiming for First Class?
I realized I could go for the ultimate grade after my 100 level first semester result when I made 4.78 grade point. So I had it in mind that, with prayer and hard work, I will finish in First Class.
Hmmm! I had that experience back in the 200 level. The lecturer did not force us but rather persuaded us to buy the book in order to complete our assignment.
There is one constant secret to success which is prayer. To me, apart from this constant factor, I have two secrets to success which are determination and focus and I learnt this from my father. When you are determined to achieve something, no matter the myriads of challenges you may face, you will eventually achieve your aim even if you are running two or more programmes simultaneously. Focus will eliminate any form of distractions and digression away from your set objectives.
Yes, I am bookworm especially when I am curious at knowing something. I go as far as downloading many journals on a particular topic just to understand the diversity of the topic. I read as if I want to teach someone else what I have read but it doesn’t mean I don’t play. We work hard and play hard, that is one of our policies in KPMG. For test and exams, I read different textbooks on a particular topic and mostly, I revise my class note which comprises the lecturer’s explanation in class and other relevant information useful for the exams. I will advise students to always pay attention in class because you can’t get all the necessary information in books and it will reduce the stress of reading many textbooks or working yourself out in trying to understand a topic.
I intend to apply what I have leant in school by teaching others and impacting the necessary skills in them because a life without impact is valueless. At the same time, I will like to work in an audit firm or an oil company in order to gain more experience about the economy. This will enhance my knowledge base and boost my confidence in imparting knowledge to others.
Excited to hug the
I was very happy that finally, I will have a handshake and a warm hug from the governor.
To be given full scholarship for masters and PhD programme, to any university of their choice within and outside the country and cash prize for the excellent performance. Making a first class is not easy.
Yes, I was up till 400 level, when I started going for ICAN tutorial for my final stage in ICAN examination.
Reduce school fees
Yes, I support the agitation wholeheartedly. Many of my friends have dropped out of school because of the enormous school fees. It is also the responsibility of the university to provide water and light for students. In reality, I disagree with the duration in terms of providing light due to kind of country and economic situation we face. Therefore, the university should provide water for 24 hours and light for a reasonable period enough to encourage studies. This will indeed, aid the performance of the students.