Owolabi Oluwaseun Olumide, a 26-year-old from Ikere-Ekiti, has defied expectations by clinching the title of Best Graduate in Geography and Planning Sciences at Adekunle Ajasin University Akungba Akoko, Ondo State, despite actively engaging in campus politics.

In an interview with The Harbinger, Owolabi spoke about his remarkable achievement, graduating with a first-class degree and earning the department’s top honor, noting that it comes as a testament to his unwavering commitment to academic excellence. 

Despite the challenges posed by the rigorous course of Geography, Owolabi maintained a stellar 4.56 GPA and was named the best graduate of the department in the convocation held in the school’s Obasanjo Multipurpose Hall on Saturday, Dec 9, 2023.

Speaking about the genesis of his success, Owolabi said, “It has been my favorite course right from Secondary School, and it’s easy for me to perform very well.

The decision to study Geography and Planning Sciences, driven by both passion and a knack for excellence, laid the foundation for my triumphs.”

Speaking about the challenges faced, Owolabi noted that the journey to academic greatness wasn’t without its trials.

The scholar revealed that what set him apart is not only his academic prowess but his exceptional ability to lead. 

He noted that assuming roles such as Class Governor, Department P.R.O., SUG Senator, and finally, Department President, demonstrated that leadership need not be a hindrance to academic excellence,”My academics were my priority, and I will never share that with anything else,” he asserted, debunking prevailing notions about the challenges of juggling student leadership with academic pursuits.

“I know it is not what is common among student leaders and I feel the reason is because of misplaced priorities. I only attended political meetings that were not colliding with my timetable. I personally said “No” to political meetings during exams and tests because they are extracurricular activities.

“This was not a coincidence; it’s a planned achievement, and I’m happy I was able to come out successfully,” Owolabi noted.

Reflecting on how he was able to come out in flying colors despite the strict marking guide of some lecturers, he noted, “God made it possible, He is the author of my wisdom because it is not about how much you write down but how meaningful what you wrote. I’m someone that puts attention to details and right from lecture period, I try to know the intention and interest of the lecturer and that has helped me well. Geography is distinct and there are things you must include in your answers that will earn you marks so knowing all of those things helped me. But overall, God helped me”

I attended classes with an empty stomach- Owolabi 

Owolabi asserted that his academic conquest includes chapters marked by financial difficulties, attending classes on an empty stomach, and writing exams while grappling with illness. “It wasn’t an easy journey coupled with the fact that I faced financial difficulties: days of reading on empty stomach, going to classes with nothing to eat, writing exams while being sick, not seeing results because I couldn’t pay my school fee on time and many other things but thank God I’m victorious” he reflected. 

When asked if he had ever failed, Owolabi disclosed that the lowest grade he encountered was a “C,” and he never faltered in any course. 

Advising students 

As the Best Graduate, Owolabi advised, “Anything is achievable as long as they want it,” he declared. 

“My advice is that they should believe in themselves and know that anything is achievable as long as they want it. They should trust their instinct and not listen to what others are saying because that will weaken their determination. I’m the second in the history of the department to achieve this after a very long interval in between” he said.

How he will impact the society 

Looking forward, Owolabi envisions leveraging his expertise in Geography to contribute meaningfully to society. 

His interest in climate science, coupled with skills in GIS and Remote Sensing, positions him as a catalyst for change in environmental issues. 

“I studied a course that put Humans and the environment at the center and as such, I have learnt a lot majorly on ways of tackling environmental issues in order to improve the society.

“Joining organizations advocating against environmental terrorism, promoting sustainable practices, and engaging in impactful research form the roadmap for his future endeavors.” He noted.

 

Boluwatife Adedokun is a passionate journalist, who writes to ameliorate societal ills. As a young journalist, she aims to have a society devoid of corruptions by righting the wrongs with the power of pen. Her enthusiasm towards speaking for the masses has engendered her publication in different national dailies and she wish to be more impactful through her stories.

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