Finishing with a first class honours must have been fulfilling for you, would you attribute the feat to providence or you specifically set out to achieve the goal?
Actually, I would say my result is a combination of God’s blessings and my determination to succeed.
Achieving this target must have come at a price, what were some of the challenges you constantly had to deal with while in school?
It was not an easy journey I must confess. There were several trials along the way including a particular incident during my 200 level when I had to retake a course. It was not easy at all. It all started well but along the line, I started having issues. I still can’t forget my worst experience. It happened during my 200 level second semester. I am used to collecting at least two extra sheets during each paper, so, during my exam in one of the courses, I collected extra sheet and it happened that during the course of marking the scripts, the main sheet was marked and scored 60 while the extra sheet was scored 40 after marking, bringing my total to 100 marks even though the overall score was supposed to be 70. So, it was as if I had 100/70, which of course sounded absurd. For that reason, my script was withheld while Fail was recorded against my name. I did everything possible to prove that the fault wasn’t from me but nobody listened. I had to rewrite that course the following year. But I thank God it never stopped me from achieving my goal.
Though that incident affected my CGPA a bit, it did not stop me from achieving my goal.
Has anything changed about the way people relate with you?
Yes, a lot has changed in that regard. Most people now accord me a lot of respect because they feel that I am someone who has already succeeded in life.
How did your parents receive the news that you finished with a first class?
My parents were not surprised because they knew how hardworking I was regarding my academics. Even though they were excited, they didn’t expect anything less from me.
Have you always had a similar performance in your previous schools?
Yes. Right from my primary school days, I had won several prizes participating in quiz and debate competitions. In 2009, I won the best science student award in my secondary school.
How easy was it passing SSCE and UTME?
It was very easy passing both exams. I sat for both just once.
As a new student on campus, what were the initial challenges you faced?
One of the biggest challenges I encountered at the time was the problem of locating lecture halls and coping with the heat, noise and distractions from students during lectures. It was quite a tough experience for me.
Would you say you are a genius for coming out with such grade or was it simply a function of hard work?
When it comes to calculations, I can humbly say I am a genius but when it comes to theory, I had to work extremely hard to get by. So to achieve success, I combined my top-notch abilities in calculations with hard work.
Were you coerced into being serious or was it self-driven?
I have never been forced to work hard. I am naturally inquisitive. I am always self-driven at finding solutions to my problems. Most times, I stay awake for several nights just to get an answer to a particular problem.
What attracted you to studying mechanical engineering?
My undying love for calculation and passion for solving problems attracted me to studying mechanical engineering.
What part of the course did you find challenging and which part did you find interesting?
Like I said earlier, the theoretical part of mechanical engineering was not that easy for me and so, I had to spend more nights studying that aspect. But I am glad I was able to cope eventually.
What would you say contribute to students’ failure?
In my view, students fail because they don’t invest in their studies like purchasing textbooks and having time to study except during exam periods. Most students spend most of their time on social activities, only remembering to study a few days to exams.
How many of you finished with first class in your department?
We were two. I count it a privilege to be in this category.
As an undergraduate, how many hours did you actually read in a day?
I usually read from 10:00pm to 4:00am. Most, times I dedicated my reading periods to teaching others in tutorial classes. I observed that not only do I love teaching, but also, I research more and study harder whenever I am to teach. That strategy helped me a lot in school.
What was your typical day like while in the university?
I went to church, played football, cooked, visited friends, taught in tutorial classes, chatted, slept and finally went to night class by 10:00 pm.
How many hours did you sleep in a day?
I slept for an average of four hours each day.
What was your reading style?
First, I looked for an empty and isolated class where people normally didn’t stay at night to carry out any activity nor read. This is due to the fact that I hate distractions of any sort while reading. In fact, some of my colleagues felt I was crazy for reading only at night.
Secondly, I prayed before reading. Once tired or I had achieved my goal for the night, I packed my things and went back to my room.
Many good students spend most of their time in the library, how often did you use the place during your time on campus?
Library is usually open during the day and I don’t read at that time. I only visited the library when I needed to borrow textbooks.
Were you involved in other school activities?
I was only involved in football trainings during weekends.
What was your schedule like towards and during exams?
I didn’t have any special schedule for exams because I was always prepared and read from the very first day of resumption.
Have you ever had cause to regret your choice of course?
I have never had any such regret.
Are you disturbed by the rate of unemployment in Nigeria?
Of course I am bothered by the situation but I believe that by the grace of God, I won’t be a victim. It really hurts me to see brilliant and qualified youths roaming all about the country without a job.
Did you face financial challenges while in school?
I faced a lot of financial difficulties during my 100 level. However, I later realised that I could use my brain to make money. So, I started going for scholarship exams as well as running tutorials. With the scholarship I got and the little fund I was raising from tutorial classes, I was able to stabilise financially at some point.
Did you get any special encouragement or reward from your parents for your performances?
My parents knew my potential and so were not surprised with the type of result I ended up with. All they kept telling me as a way of encouragement was that, ‘’Nobody can do it better than you”.
Did you ever have time for social activities while in school?
My social life was nothing to write home about then because I was always occupied with books, assignments, research and tutorial classes.
Can you recall your happiest and most embarrassing moments as an undergraduate?
My happiest moments are each time I was in the exam hall and I said “excuse me sir.” Everybody in the hall would shout “extra sheet.” This is because, no matter how difficult any exam was, I would not spend more than an hour writing it and I would collect so many extra sheets.
Also, I felt so excited each time I went to the notice board to check my GPA and CGPA for the previous semester’s performance.
What are your aspirations in life?
My aim in life is to remain humble no matter my status in life, to be a team player always, to add value and solve problems in any place I find myself.
Would you like to practise your course of study or you have interest in other things?
My interest is not only limited to practising the profession but also trying my hands in other areas as well. I am willing to learn and develop myself beyond the field of mechanical engineering.
Were you told stories by anyone about how difficult it was to have a first class and did it affect you in any way?
Yes. I could remember a lot of people telling me that first class was not easy to achieve. At first, that really disturbed my concentration level, I was able to conquer that fear and move on to meet my goal.
Where would you like to work?
I would love to work in a place where I will be challenged to research and learn more. There is still so much that I don’t know, I want to be in an environment where learning will be an everyday thing for me.
Is there anything you would have loved to do as a student that you could not do, maybe because of your dedication to your studies?
Every positive thing that came my way then, I did, not minding my dedication to studies. I only abstained from things that would not help me academically or spiritually.
Did some of your colleagues see you as too serious?
My belief is that God destined us all to excel in various spheres of life. Due to this fact, I was never proud nor looked down on other people just because they weren’t good academically.
So, I never gave people the opportunity to see me as one who was too serious. I played when others were playing and each time they saw me during the day, they didn’t see me reading. I only read at night alone and in isolated areas. So, most people never knew how I did the magic of writing exam less than an hour and collecting extra sheets.
What should students do to have your kind of result?
I remember failing mathematics in my Junior Secondary School 3 mock examination. It was after that I realised I failed because I didn’t have mathematics textbook. So, I went to the bookshop to purchase mathematics textbooks and started practising. Not too long after that period, I became good at the subject.
Therefore students must learn to invest in textbooks and literatures that would enhance their academic performance. This is one of the secrets of my success.