The two best graduating first class degree holders of the Lead City University, Ibadan Oyo State, share with TEMITAYO FAMUTIMI the secret of their academic successFor recording outstanding academic success, two female students of Lead City University, Ibadan, Oyo State, Nafisat Olabisi and Izojie Imafidion have again lent credence to the maxim, “What a man can do, a woman can do better.”The duo emerged the best graduating students, beating 1,819 others at the university’s combined fifth and sixth convocation held on Friday.While 22-year-old Olabisi of the Department of Economics garnered a Cumulative Grade Point Average of 4.72 to emerge the best student for the 2012/2013 set, Imafidion (24) of the Department of Mass Communication and Media Technology clinched the overall best award in the 2012/2013 set, scoring a CGPA of 4.78.Following this accomplishment, the two received the prestigious Chancellor’s Prize amid a rousing ovation from members of the university community and other guests on the occasion. Besides, they took home departmental and faculty prizes for academic excellence.
But apart from having the common gift of academic excellence, the two see life, particularly social life, from the same prism. In separate chats with our correspondent, they explained that they shunned “campus love” during their undergraduate days.
That singular decision, they acknowledge, helped them greatly in the pursuit and accomplishment of their success.
Sharing her survival strategy, Olabisi notes that the issue of campus love never occupied her consciousness. According to her, instead of expending time and money on keeping such a relationship, she gave special attention to her books.
But were there male admirers coming her way? To this, she answers in the affirmative, noting that pressure from the male folk was always there.
Olabisi explains, “There is nothing bad in going into a relationship in school, but you must know how to balance your love and academic life. However, I was not into any relationship while I was at the university. To me, relationship is all about money and time.
“From my observation at LCU, if you go into a relationship, you will expect so much from your boyfriend while your boyfriend also expects much from you too. How much was I collecting as upkeep allowance, that would make me buy between N7,000 and N10,000 gifts for my boyfriend in a month?
“I had so many male friends that hanged out with me and, in fact, six of them walked up to me and asked me out. But I rejected their proposals. The financial implication and commitment was scary and I stayed away and they said so many things to me that I was too harsh. I just told them no and stayed away.”
On whether she ever had a crush on somebody before, Olabisi declares, “I had a crush on someone but he was not a student of the school. We met in Ibadan and we were at some point intimate as we once kissed. Although we are still friends, the crush is all gone.”
For Imafidion, an indigene of Esan North East Local Government Area of Edo State, who lost her father at age eight, doing her mother proud was her preoccupation and not playing the campus love game.
She notes that the opportunity to pursue her programme was precious to her, so much that she “did not want to waste my time on one particular person” on campus.
She explains that despite being in a relationship with a guy, who was not a student of the school, she still managed to keep him at bay and refused him to pay her a visit on campus.
She adds, “At the university, a student has to decide what he or she wants to do with his or her time. For me, I came here (LCU) with a particular purpose in mind and that was to make the best out of the opportunity I had. So, there was no time for partying or campus relationship.
“I did not just have time for a relationship on campus. Even when I had a relationship with someone outside campus, I practically had no visitor, except my sister; not even my boyfriend. My dream was just to come out with a very good grade and make my mum proud.”
Imafidion, who gained admission to the university via a diploma programme, explains that her first task on resumption in the school was to reach out to some of the then best students in her set.
According to her, after identifying the high flyers, she resolved to be among the best and the decision propelled her to seek and secure a spot at the Mass Communications library and the school’s main library.
She adds, “I must say that coming out with a first class and as the overall best graduating student in my set was challenging and fun at the same time. I was not the only one topping the class, as my classmates were extremely good. For me to top the class, it took a lot of hard work and dedication,” the 2006 graduate of Ekpan Secondary School, Effurun, Delta State, notes.
Declaring that her social life at the university was nothing to write home about, Imafidion says she only once attended a party throughout her three-year stay in the institution. Even at that, the party, she quickly adds, was the departmental Awards Night during her final year – in which she was deeply involved by virtue of her position as the general secretary of the departmental association.
Imafidion, who completed her National Youth Service Corps scheme in September, again acknowledges that her experience as a teacher during the compulsory one-year programme has reinforced her drive to become a university teacher.
“The classroom is the only place where I feel very comfortable. I find fulfilment in the classroom cum school settings. I will be furthering my education by pursuing a Master’s degree at the University of Ibadan as soon as the Academic Staff Union of Universities suspends its industrial action,” she notes tingling with sensation.
On the possibility of her getting married soon, Imafidion says, “I wouldn’t want to dwell on this because I am a very private person.”
Also, Olabisi, an indigine of Saki, Oyo State, who secured university admission the same year she completed her secondary education at Tower Gate Private School, Ipaja, Lagos, is used to academic success. With four distinctions from the core subjects she sat for at the Senior School Certificate Examination in 2009, and a Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination score of 256, it was not difficult for her to secure a spot to study her dream course.
The Economics graduate, who notes that private university education in Nigeria is rigorous, says her stay in the LCU was not a walkover.
For instance, she explains that Financial Accounting courses, which are general courses for all business-related disciplines in her faculty, gave her tough times, forcing her to consult her lecturers, who assisted her in solving knotty areas of the subject.
She adds, “The number of students in my class was sizable, making the facilities on the ground go round – unlike in public universities where students unable to get themselves a sit hang on windows or stand while lectures are ongoing.
“Besides, I had easy access to my lecturers to ask questions on difficult aspects of my courses. I read for a minimum of four hours in a day but during examination periods, I could go all out and read all through the day. A corner of one of our lecture theatres was my favourite spot,” she adds.
Olabisi, like Imafidion, wants to pursue a Master’s degree in Economics in the United States as soon as she completes her NYSC programme next year. But unlike Imafidion, she remarks that the Master’s degree is to enable her to fulfil her dream of working in a multi-national corporation rather than becoming a university teacher.
Besides Olabisi and Imafidion, 23 others bagged first class grades, while 427 had second class Upper grades.
The university also bestowed its academic honours on some eminent Nigerians, including, the Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuade (D.sc Business Administration); seasoned physiotherapist, Dr. Thompson Oshin; a banker, Falil Abina (Dsc. Banking and Fiannce); and the Group Managing Director, Odua Investment Company Limited, Bayo Jimoh (D.Sc. Business Administration).
The Vice-Chancellor of the university, Prof. Olufemi Onabajo, who tagged the graduands as “enterprise graduates” urged them never to allow themselves to be “overwhelmed” by challenges.
He urged them to utilise the knowledge garnered from the school to create jobs and be employers of labour rather than job seekers.
The VC adds, “It is no mean feat to pass through our academic rigour. You have been trained with a difference as we have instilled in you courage and boldness. You have been taught never to be overwhelmed by any situation, no matter how intimidating it may appear. Go and excel like your predecessors.”