The best graduating student of the Redeemer’s University, Ede, Osun State, southwest Nigeria, Bello IbukunOluwa told thegazellenews.com’s TIMOTHY AGBOR how she was able to bag the best graduating student of the university alongside eight different awards
Contrary to the belief of many that an average undergraduate would have male or female lover before such student finished his or her course of study in the higher institution of learning, the 21-year-old best graduating student of the Redeemer’s University, Ede, Miss Bello Ibukunola does not share in the practice.
According to Miss Bello, having a male lover as an undergraduate does not determine her academic success, hence, her resolve to remain out of relationship with a fellow male student. “I don’t think having boyfriend was a major criterion to my academic success. It wasn’t my priority,” she said.
Not only did Bello get Cumulative Grade point of 4.93, she also bagged eight different prizes including: Redeemer’s University Family Forum Prize of N30,000; Dean’s prize of N15,000; Visitor’s Prize of N50,000; Vice Chancellor’s prize of N25,000; and College Prize of N20,000.
Other prizes won by the best graduating student are: Chief (Mrs) Oluremi Tinubu’s prize of N10,000; Openwells cash prize of N10,000; and the Departmental prize of N10,000.
Had Bello’s parents not summoned courage to pay her first school fees when she gained admission into the Redeemer’s University in 2010 owing to their financial status, it may not have been possible for her to attain this height. But luck smiled on Miss Bello in her 200 level when she got a scholarship from the school authority as a result of her excellent performance in her first and second years in the university.
According to Bello: “I bagged a scholarship after my 200 level and I appreciate God for this achievement because my parents had taken a bold step of faith to pay my school fees when I gained admission in 2010; We are not too financially buoyant but they (parents) believed they would be able to pay through when they started in my 100 level, but as God would have it, from 200 to 400 level, the school catered for my fees based on my grades. The school has provision for scholarship and I was given scholarship based on my grades.”
Miss Bello who was full of joy as the interview went said her secret of joy was the grace of God upon her life couple with her fervent prayer after devoting most part of her time to intense readings.
She said: “I will clearly say that it is the grace of God upon my life, I have been able to identify that God’s grace is upon me, therefore, I have been able to take some certain steps, I make sure I read from the beginning of the semester, so I have more reading time and I pray. So it’s definitely the grace of God.”
Despite her active roles in the school’s students’ association, Bello paid more attention to her studies. Although she had challenges combining both, the graduate was not deterred in making the best grade.
“I had challenges when I combined participating in school associations and academics. I have to balance the time but with God’s help, I was able to manage both and still maintain my grades.
“When I was in 200 level, I joined the Redeemer’s University Students Association, when I was in 300 level, I was the president of my department, I was in the musical groups as well,” Bello posited.
On what Bello found most interesting in her school that could not be easily felt in other institutions, she said: “It’s the standard. It is also about character and learning, it’s not just about academic pursuit alone but about you building your character. For the four years that I have been here, I have been able to build my character and become a better person.
“The student-teachers relationship is very cordial. I have a good relationship with all my lecturers, I call them from time to time even during my National Youths Service Corps (NYSC) period, and I call from time to time because they can always explain things to me even outside academics.”
Bello who is currently observing her one year compulsory National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) with the Nigeria Institute of Social and Economic Research in Oyo state hopes to further her studies in Sociology.
When asked about her plans for the future and if she has any plans for marriage, Bello who was offered a scholarship for her Masters said: “I don’t have any plans for marriage as of now; and as for my future plans, I can stay in school to lecture since the school has offered me scholarship for my masters but I have other dreams that I am pursuing.
“If I ever consider academia, I would like to be a professor in sociology or fashion because right from my childhood, I have had this feeling for fashion and since I studied sociology, I have understood the sociological twist to fashion. So, I would like to go in depth in that.”
She however advised the school authorities to inculcate the students in their decision-makings saying this would give the students a better sense of belonging.
“I will advise the management of this institution to keep on encouraging students in decision making. The management should listen to students while making decisions and implement students suggestions,” Ibukun concluded.