Caleb University, Imota, Lagos, best graduating student, Abdul-Azeez Adeniji, has an unusual academic history even at his relatively young age.
If you ask a school child what he or she wants to become in future at three different occasions, you are likely to get three different answers. This is because the professional aspiration of many children is ever changing.
But somehow, this is not the case with Abdul-Azeez Adeniji, the 20-year-old, who emerged the best graduating student at the second convocation of Caleb University, Imota, Lagos State, on Saturday.
He had wanted to become a chartered accountant as a secondary school boy. Adeniji shifted his ambition to law after he obtained six distinctions and three Bs at the 2008 West African Senior School Certificate Examination.
Though he scored 269 in the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination in 2008, his post-UTME score of 60 was not enough for him to secure admission to the University of Benin.
He was later offered admission to study Economics at the Caleb University. Now, the Ilepa, Abeokuta-born graduate, who scored a Cumulative Grade Point Average of 4.75 out of a possible 5.0, to emerge the best, aspires to become a development economist.
But despite this, Adeniji has not dropped his ambition to become a chartered accountant. And the 2008 graduate of Yaba College Staff Secondary School, Lagos, is on the way to becoming a chartered accountant and a development economist. He had written and passed the Accounting Technician Scheme 1, 2 and 3 of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria. He had also written and passed the intermediate examination and professional examination one of the institute. He is just a stage away from becoming a chartered accountant.
“I started the ATS when I was in SS3. I’ve cleared all but the last stage of ICAN professional examination, which I will write in May. By the Grace of God, I will pass the exam,” the assertive and confident young man said.
Asked how he was able to combine his degree programme with the ICAN examinations, Adeniji said the success he recorded in SS3, when he wrote the ATS 1, motivated him to continue with the professional examinations after securing admission to the university.
He added that he was able to cope with the pressure of academics and strict rules guiding studentship in Caleb because of his belief that success could only be achieved through diligence, dedication, discipline and the grace of God.
“The two require the same level of discipline and seriousness. The university rules helped me, but I also placed stricter rules on myself. However, the virtues of discipline and hard work imparted into me by my parents also contributed to my success but my utmost help came from God,” he said.
Adeniji may, however, not work as a chartered accountant. His main concern now is how to revive the economic fortunes of Nigeria and that of the African continent.
“That is why, after my National Youth Service Corps Scheme, I will look for scholarship to study development economics in a foreign university. I’m concerned about the level of underdevelopment in my country and the African continent.
“That is why I want to develop economic policies that will enhance the rapid development of our nation and eventually become the first Nigerian or possibly African to become the World Bank president. I was not happy that the Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, lost the race for the job. I will, by God’s grace, be the World Bank President one day,” he said.
Adeniji, who admitted that corruption was one of the challenges facing the country, however, disagreed with the method being adopted to battle the menace.
“Corruption can only be fought from within the individual and that is why I say every Nigerian should first remove the log in their eyes before they remove the peck in their neighbour’s or leaders’ eyes.
As Nigerians, each of us should decide to do what is right always. When we do that, corruption will be kicked out of our land,” he said.
He also blamed religious people for the killings in some parts of the country. “Those who kill others in the name of God do not know the God of humanity. If they had known the God of humanity before they know man, they would not have been killing people made in the image of God in the name of God. Youths should not allow themselves to be used for such purpose,” Adeniji said.
He confessed that a female student, Ifuoma Aya, gave him the toughest challenge during his degree programme. The lady, who obtained CGPA of 4.5, was also one of the eight graduating students that made first class.
The institution’s Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Ayodeji Olukoju, had while addressing those who attended the ceremony, vouched for the eight students who graduated with first class. Specifically, he applauded Adeniji, the founder and leader of the Royal Family, a group committed to character building; Bayonle Akingbule, Aya, Juliana Okaka and Mr. Ololade Jinadu for what he described as their leadership skills, exemplary character, Christian virtues and academic excellence.
He said, “Certainly, our best graduating student, who was well known to me as a humble and morally sound student, Mr. Abdulazeez Adeniji (simply known to me as “Azeez”), truly epitomises the Caleb spirit and the ideals that you were taught in our Leadership Academy.
“Azeez and others such as Akingbule, Aya, Jinadu and Okaka, conducted themselves in a manner that convinced me that there is hope for this country.”
He also advised all the 231 graduating students to unleash all the virtues that had been deposited into them on the wider society, with a view to making the country better.
Giving a breakdown of the result, Olukoju said eight earned first class honours degrees, 42 made second class upper, 41 graduated in third class, while only one made a pass degree.
He challenged the graduating students “to apply your knowledge to the transformation of your world. But note that, as you aspire, you will perspire before you can acquire. It is only the truly outstanding in character and learning – the six-o’-clock people – that will rule the roost. But do not forget your Alma Mater. You must be driven by a galvanising slogan: “Love Caleb and Live It”!