More females emerge as best graduating students

THE PUNCH Newspaper- Segun Olugbile

Last year, it was Miss Oluwaseun Peters who emerged the overall best graduating student at the maiden convocation of the Redeemer‘s University, Redemption Camp, Ogun State. On Saturday again, another female student, Miss Motunrayo Damilola Oguntulu, repeated the feat. She obtained a Cumulative Grade Point Average of 4.89 out of a possible 5.0 to clinch the award of the best graduating student of RUN. Oguntulu, who read actuarial science, also went home with four other awards. Besides, female graduating students got the highest number of awards at the ceremony as they got 19 of the 35 awards on offer. The golden girls of RUN, who shone like a million stars apart from 21 year-old Oguntulu, are Oreoluwa Olabowale, Olubukola Odesanya, Oluwabusola Martins and Hope Omashor. Others are Deborah Chidi, Adefunke Adetona, Opeyemi Balogun, Damaris Ijalana, and Olufunke Cole.

Like in the nation‘s football sector, where the females are becoming the source of pride to the nation, the girls appear to be performing better than the boys in the nation‘s universities. The girls emerged the best at the last two convocation of the University of Lagos.

For instance, 21 year-old Miss Deborah Olufunmi Ayodele emerged the best graduating student with a CGPA of 4.96 to beat 6,197 others during the 43rd convocation of UNILAG in January this year. Another female psychology student emerged the overall best during the university‘s 42nd convocation. The same scenario played out during the last convocation at the Lagos State University, Ojo, where an orphan who wrote the matriculation examination eight times, Miss. Mann Oluwagbemisola, emerged the overall best student. This same scenario played out in some private universities such as American University of Nigeria, Yola, Adamawa State, where female students have been emerging as the overall best graduating students.

Asked what could be responsible for this trend, Oguntulu, who spoke with our correspondent after receiving her prize at a well-attended convocation on Saturday, said she could not give reasons. The native of Ayede Ekiti, in Oye Local Government Area of Ekiti State, jokingly said that the same spirit that was in the nation‘s female footballers must have caught up with the girls in the nation‘s universities, hence the performance.

”I don‘t know why this is so, but maybe it is the same spirit of excellence that has caught up with female footballers that has found its way into the universities. But that is on a lighter note because football and academics are not the same thing. However, I believe we have the same brain and with God‘s help, hard work and seriousness anybody can excel,” she said.

The first in a family of three, however, said she purposed to make a first class since she gained admission to the university. ”But I decided to make the first class in a grand style after our 100 Level showed that my CGPA was within the first class mark. I thank God I was able to make it eventually,” the brainy girl who completed her primary education at Omolabake Nursery and Primary School, Ketu, Lagos in 1998 said.

She said what motivated her to do well was failure and God. “I wrote the West African Senior Secondary School Certificate examination when I was in SS2, but I failed Physics and some subjects. I felt so bad but my mother who is a teacher encouraged me saying that failure should not stop me from moving up in life. So, I decided that I would not fail again. The failure also made me to concentrate my efforts on subjects that I was very good at very well. Thank God it paid off for me,” she said.

But what are the challenges she faced while in school? Oguntulu who completed her secondary school education at the Lagos Model College, Ikorodu in 2004 said that healthy competition from her course mates and the toughness of some of her lecturers were some challenges she had to contend with.

“I have a course mate and a friend. Her name is Funmi Cole. She is so brilliant and the two of us are always in hot contest for who is the best in our class. She made me work so hard. Also, we have a lecturer, Mr. Akalonu, who we first considered as too tough. He will make you work and work until you are tired. He is so thorough and detailed that you don‘t have a choice than to work hard if you must excel.

“But if Mr. Akalonu is tough, Prof. Ayorinde, is a father, and as a good father, he will not condone laziness and so working with these two great teachers and others in the university, you will not have a choice than to work hard,” she said.

Oguntulu, however, added that on her own part, she was focussed, disciplined and hard working.

”God should also be praised for making it possible because it is not of him that willeth nor of him that runneth, it is God that showeth mercy,”she said.

Oguntulu, who said that Nigerians should rise up to build the nation, disclosed that she would set up a non-governmental organisation to help the less-privileged and orphans. ”My greatest influence in life is my mother and with the role she has played in my life, I used to imagine how the motherless children cope. I feel for those who have no parents and by the grace of God I will live to make these categories of Nigerians happy. I will work to contribute to their success in life,” she said.

On her personal aspiration, Oguntulu said after the mandatory National Youth Service Corps scheme, she would go back to the university for her Master‘s degree.

“I want to become a top professional in actuarial science. I like teaching and I may end up as a lecturer,” she said. Asked if her department had made any move to woo her into the academics, Oguntulu said no. ”You know we are just graduating, nothing of such has happened so let us keep that one hanging for now,” she said.

Oguntulu, who was accompanied to the convocation by her friends, relations and parents, advised youths to be focussed and to pursue a career in disciplines that they love.

She said, ”I will tell the youths to stick to subjects that they are good at. Parents should not force disciplines on their children, otherwise they will become disillusioned professionals. If I had continued in the pure sciences, I might have ended up here as an average and frustrated student. I thank God for the failure I had in secondary school.”

Some of her friends, who spoke with our correspondent, said Oguntulu was a dutiful, disciplined and caring student.

But the convocation was not just about the girls, some of the male students, also performed excellently well. For instance, Clement Oyeleke won the Chancellor‘s Award for sufficiently demonstrating the best asset in creativity and innovation. The graduate of Mass Communication went home with N40,000 for his effort. Other male students who got awards during the convocation included Patrick Kenine, best in (Physical Sciences); Nonso Ejikeme (Political Science and public Administration); Adewale Fadugba (English) and Olufolabi Osunmuyiwa, who emerged as the best graduating student in Biochemistry.

Before the awards were conferred on the graduating students, the RUN Chancellor, Prof. Tekena Tamuno, had while welcoming the guests to the occasion, urged the nation‘s leaders to embrace peace and shun any activity that could lead the country into crisis.

To forestall criss, he said the 2011 elections should be conducted in an atmosphere of peace, transparency and fairness. Tamuno also urged the graduating students to serve as worthy ambassadors of the university.

In his won remark, the university Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Oyewale Tomori, urged the graduating students to go into the world and do better than they had ever done to make Nigeria better.

The Visitor to the institution, Dr. Adejare Adeboye, who is also the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, expressed the hope that the university would soon move to its permanent site in Osun State. To achieve this, he called on parents to support the institution by building hostels on the permanent site on the Build Operate and Transfer approach.


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