On October 21st, 2017 during the 33rd convocation of University of Ilorin, the Registrar of the institution, Mr. Emmanuel Obafemi Dada announced that the convocation lecturer, Professor Chris Imafidon is giving scholarships to two best and two poorest students to further their studies at Oxford University, United Kingdom. This has been greeted with mixed reactions from different quarters in the counter.
One of the beneficiaries, who is among those with lowest Cumulative Grade Point Average spoke with Jare Tiamiyu, Oni Oluwashina and Hussain Abdulgafar (Insight Media Crew). He spoke at length on his journey so far.
What is your name sir?
I am Oliver Idewor Emmanuel. I was born on February 22nd, 1984 to the family of Mr. and Mrs. J. P. Idewor. I was born at police barrack and I am the third in the family.
Tell us how your basic education went.
I had my primary education at Baptist Nursery and Primary School and Baptist Local Authority Education Area Standard N/P, both in Ilorin. I had my certificate at the latter school in the year 1998. My secondary education started the same year and I attended both Ilorin Comprehensive High School and Baboko Community High School in Ilorin. I finished the secondary education in the year 2003.
When did you get admitted in to the University of Ilorin?
I gained admission into the university in the year 2005 through remedial programme. I applied for Industrial Chemistry but was given Geology and Mineral Sciences. As you can see, my matriculation number is 05/55EA047. Immediately I got admitted, things started becoming hard and life became unbearable.
Have you ever dreamed of been a Geologist?
No! My childhood dream was to become a doctor but when I realized the financial implication of medicine, I changed my ambition and then industrial chemist.
As you are proceeding to United Kingdom now, do you think you can still pursue that your childhood ambition?
As you can see, I got admitted in the year 2005 which means I supposed to have graduated in the year 2009 but as the fate has it, I am graduating in the year 2017. Eight years extra.
What did you realized that led to the carry-overs or didn’t you find out?
Personal beef and pathological hatred from lecturers. My Fs were never near 40. My Fs were marks like 04, 05, 07, 10, 13 and highest was 21 out of 100.
It is obvious that your days in the University of Ilorin were laced with challenges; a course of four years became 12 years. Can you share with us how the whole drama unfolded?
In the year 2009 when I supposed to graduate, I had some carry-overs which were actually ‘compulsory’ failure from some lecturers. It really saddened my heart because I did not expect such grades. So I accepted the fate.
In the year 2010 when I ought to resume for the study to clear my carry-overs, I had an accident and it was brutal to the extent that I had to write the university authority that I need a delay of academic activities for a year. That was 2009/2010 academic session.
When I resumed in the 2010/2011 academic session, the then Head of Department, Professor J. I. D. Adekeye was in loggerhead with me. He didn’t allow me to explain what happened to me. Until he left the post and Professor Baale came on board, I was never a student nor non-student because my portal was still open. Professor Baale gave me audience and he advised me to write the Vice Chancellor and narrate all the happenings for to him.
I did that and I was praying along with it, hoping that one day, my issue will be resolved. I was reinstated on February 22nd, during the 2015/2016 session. It was already second semester and I could not take my first semesters courses. I had to wait till 2016/2017 session to take them and here I am today, I have finally graduated in 2017.
What were you doing during that period you were neither in school nor out of school?
I was just praying and optimistic that things will be well. In fact my family members had lost interest in me and they were like asking me to learn something or focus on something else because I was getting old. But my mind and focus were just on getting my B.Sc. Geology which I have finally got.
What class of degree did you graduate with?
I graduated with a special class of degree called “Aegrotat”
Can you now call the delay a blessing?
It is actually more than a blessing. I really give all thanks to God.
Leaving the happenings in the university and going straight to the latest, which is the scholarship you won, how did you feel when you were informed of the blessing?
I was really elated. I found it so difficult to believe it was real. But at last I thank God.
As you are going, do you want to continue you with M.Sc. or you want to start all over again?
Considering my age and other thing, I think I would prefer starting from M.Sc. in Geology and further it till I have my Ph.D.
It was obvious that you had some issue s that made you unable to cope in UNILORIN, do you think you will perform better in higher stage like Oxford University?
My issues as I said earlier were as a result of animosity I had with some lecturers. I believe that will never exist in Oxford University. I am brilliant on my own and I think I will not only cope over there but also make my family, University of Ilorin and Nigeria proud.
Are you promising Nigerians?
Yes I am doing. I promise to make everyone that knows me proud.
Where do you see yourself in the next five years?
I have a dream of becoming one of the millionaires in the country and I believe this is a perfect medium to explore and be what I have wanted to be.
Leaving that now, let’s digress a bit. Where do you spend your leisure time?
I go to field to do exercise and play football.
Are you fan of any foreign football team?
Yes. I like Chelsea Football Club of London. In fact I will watch their live match as I am proceeding to London now.
Lastly, what is your advice to younger ones who are experiencing frustrations in their careers?
I will advise them to remain focused, determined and be prayerful. It can be the cloud that covers their success which they need to beat to arrive at the success point.
Thanks so much for the time
You are welcome