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Meet Crawford University Best graduating student 2018 – first class secret revealed

Yinka Ogunlana , 24 , with a Cumulative Grade Point Average of 4 .94 from the Department of Political Science and International Relations , emerged as the overall best graduating student of Crawford University , Igbesa, Ogun State , in the 2016 / 2017 academic session . In this interview with TUNDE AJAJA , he talks about his days in school and plan for the future
Do you still recall your most memorable moments in school ?
That was when I received the news from the Dean of Students Affairs ’ office that I was the best graduating student and that I had been given the honour to present the valedictory speech on behalf of my set . That was a moment I would not forget .
As a kid , have you always had interest in politics and governance, which could have influenced your choice of course ?
I had all kinds of aspirations as a child ; I wanted to become a renowned lawyer or human rights activist or broadcaster . And all these were literally because of the interest I had in government and art as a whole . But, during my high school years , I observed that I had keen interest in government , politics and international affairs . As a kid , I took interest in many things. I read educational books , loved novels , movies, games and football . However , I enjoyed watching news reports , following the plenary sessions of the National Assembly, reading newspapers and familiarising myself with topical issues . So , I opted to study political science and international relations at the university.
Since you literally looked forward to it , what part of the course did you enjoy the most ?
Actually, I enjoyed all my courses, but my favourite was diplomacy . It deals with the techniques and procedures for relations among states . It embraces a multitude of interests in the relations between states , from the simplest matters of interest to vital issues of war and peace. Indeed , diplomacy is that great engine used by civilised states for maintaining peace . Although , a couple of courses looked challenging , in such cases , my passion for the discipline became my driving force.
Politics is open to all comers ; do you think having people with no background in your course in positions of authority has contributed to the country ’ s underdevelopment ?
The knowledge of political science helps us to understand the government and its processes in a better way . However , lack of such knowledge distorts the understanding of governance even among the educated class ; it makes the processes vulnerable to manipulation , and slowly erodes the confidence in political and allied institutions . All human beings are political and social animals , but what makes human organisations distinct is the tendency to use collective strength as an instrument of perpetual search for a better life . This is one of the fundamental ideas of political science as it helps us to understand the reason behind the existence of state , its nature , functions and the relationship they have with each one of us . So , the knowledge of political science is very crucial in bridging this gap .
Specifically , what do you think is wrong with the way politics is practised in Nigeria ?
Politics is Nigeria is very complicated and highly controversial , but, it is not entirely different from world politics , which is often plagued by partisanship and sectionalism. However , Nigerian politics is characterised with high -level corruption , bad governance and a cyclical legitimacy crisis. Consequently , national development is slow , and the political environment uncertain. While the political gladiators constantly manipulate the people and the political processes to advance their own selfish agenda , the society has remained pauperised, and the masses have continually wallowed in abject poverty . This invariably has led to weak legitimacy , as the citizens lack faith in the political leaders and by extension, the political system .
From what you have learnt , how would you react to the statement that Nigeria is not really a country ?
Well, I think we are not yet independent in the true sense of the word. Our country lacks so many characteristics of a truly independent and sovereign nation . There is no economic independence , compared to the situation in some truly independent countries that have control over the exploitations of their natural resources without undue meddling from any extraneous power . Since the attainment of independence , our beloved country has not been able to develop a homegrown political system of governance when compared to most countries with similar colonial history.
Would you like to venture into politics or do you have interest in other things ?
I would like to work in an international organisation or in a multinational company, but first , I would love to go for my master ’s degree , earn a doctorate degree and probably venture into politics . However , in anything I do or become , my dream is to make positive impacts on the society, and the biggest of my aspirations is to become one of the highest employers of labour in the country .
Since you studied a course you loved , can we deduce that it was easy to make a first -class degree ?
There is nothing good that comes easy and getting a first – class degree is not an exemption . Aside from the genuine desire to make a first -class degree , it requires committed effort to study and research . It also requires persistence and hard work . However , all these put together wouldn ’t have ultimately guaranteed a first -class degree if God wasn ’t involved . So , I would say that I ’m a product of grace and hard work . Working hard and smart increases your level of confidence and preparedness but grace guarantees your success and crowns your effort . For me , excellence is a habit and I have always been determined to make the best out of anything I do, just as the Bible says – whatever your hands find doing , do it well.
Was that what also motivated you to aspire to be the best in your set ?
Initially , I did not have such intention. I only desired to make a first – class degree and because I saw it as a short -term goal , I backed it up with action as I worked on it day in , day out . But, after seeing my CGPA at the end of my penultimate year , I started having the lofty dream of leading my set and as such , I became more conscious of the bigger picture and by God’ s Grace , it became a reality . Meanwhile , I started strong , because as a fresher , one of my goals was to achieve academic excellence . I had GPA of 4 .92 in my first semester and a CGPA of 4 .84 at the end of first year, which was a strong foundation . I ’ve always been a goal – oriented individual and purpose driven, and that was a drive on its own . My candid advice to students is that they should have genuine interest in their course of study because this will keep them going when it gets tough . That helped me greatly. More importantly , they should put God first because he is the source of wisdom, knowledge and understanding.
Some people would believe that being the best requires doing the near impossible ; what did you do differently ?
Just as Socrates said , ‘ Man know thyself .’ Basically , I feel it’ s more about knowing oneself . As a fresher, I was determined to be distinct in my studies. I saw self discipline and diligence as an indispensable instrument to achieve and maintain academic excellence . So , I had to stay focused and committed to my studies. My passion for politics drove me beyond limit ; I went beyond classroom teachings and undertook several independent researches on how political theories can be applied to real life scenarios and this also helped me during class presentations , exams and even in my daily activities . Beyond the wish , I was always willing to learn , understand, practise , do some research beyond what the four walls of a university could provide. Every day , I allotted reasonable time to my studies and I made sure I read for at least three hours during week days , and on weekends , I read for a maximum of five hours. Occasionally , I conducted tutorials for some of my colleagues and I didn ’ t deny myself of good sleep , as I usually slept for six hours . However , since I studied regularly, what I did mostly during examination period was revision , and my laptop and phone were valuable resources for my studying .
What if you didn’ t make a first -class degree , after all the efforts ?
I would have felt quite disappointed, given the fact that I made conscious efforts to make it happen. Although , I would still have got over it because there is more that life has to offer than making a first – class degree , but I thank God I made it all the same .
You graduated at 24 , was there any hiccup in your educational journey ?
I used to emerge as one of the top three in my elementary school while I led my class throughout my secondary school days , but surprisingly , I had challenges with my O ’ level ; I sat the West African Senior School Certificate Examination twice . On the other hand , I passed the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination remarkably well but couldn ’t secure admission until the fourth year .
Why was that ?
A unique constraint was present in each of the years . For instance , I was offered admission three times but couldn ’t secure it due to financial challenges, and at times , I didn ’t meet up with the cut – off mark for admission . So , in those years , I acquired basic skills in computer science , I worked as a sales representative for a small scale enterprise and as an assistant class teacher in a junior high school .
But people believe that only the rich can send their children to private schools. How come you could later afford private school when you previously had financial challenges ?
That was indeed a miracle and I was only privileged to have attended a private university . I least expected it; my grannies went out of their way and volunteered to sponsor my university education . They played invaluable roles to see me complete my undergraduate study , so I didn ’t really have much challenge with finance while I was in school and my family was very supportive . And the prayers and encouragement I always got for excelling in my academic work was more than enough reward for me . I also have a lot of people who inspired me to achieve this feat; my family, lecturers and friends . They were all instrumental to this achievement .
Were you able to create time for other things ?
I held leadership positions at various clubs and associations in school . I was the President of Success Connect, a motivational outfit that seeks to encourage students in areas of academic works , social , career and spiritual development . I was the Vice President of Crawford University Literary and Debating Society ; the Electoral Chairman of National Association of Political Science Students in our chapter and the Speaker at my department ’s parliament. Besides these , I attended social gatherings, I went out with friends , listened to music , saw movies and played football . For me , there was no dull moment.
Did you receive any scholarship or award as an undergraduate ?
I didn ’t enjoy any scholarship as an undergraduate , although I hope to get one soon . But I received few awards . In my second year, I was awarded the best CGPA holder in my department ; the scholar of the year in my final year and I also got a Certificate of Selfless Service and Exemplary Leadership in Success Connect. During my convocation , I received eight prizes, which included university prize for the overall best graduating student ; Prof . Peter Okebukola Science Foundation Prize for the overall best graduating student ; Parents ’ Forum Prize for the overall best graduating student ; College Prize for the best graduating student in Business and Social Sciences; Pa Simon Ibinola Ajetunmobi Foundation Award for the best student with the highest CGPA in Political Science and International Relations ; Parents ’ Forum Prize for the best graduating student in the College of Business and Social Sciences; Ambassador James Olaleye Prize for the best student in Political Science and International Relations and other prizes.

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