Primary and secondary school was about competition. We wanted to personalize the first position in class, and we became unhappy whenever anyone beat us to the prize. Move forward a couple of years; life in the university was very different.
Of course, there was still some competition, but different individuals had different goals. It was no longer all about academics.
In the university, we learnt to recognize those students whose devotion to academics made every course appear ridiculously simple. People like Ademola Oridate who scored 90+ in courses where many managed to reach 50. Naturally, at the 40th Convocation Ceremonies of Obafemi Awolowo University, when he was recognized as the University’s best graduating student, we were proud of our classmate for putting our course in the spotlight.
Every time a reputable Nigerian university has its convocation, the Punch Newspaper carries a story informing the public of the identity of the best graduating student. The report usually contains excerpts from an interview with the graduate.
As is my daily custom, I visited the Punch website to check the latest news. When I saw an article titled “I read six hours daily –OAU’s best graduate”, I quickly clicked on it, thinking it was about my boy “Demo”. Surprisingly the article did not mention Ademola Oridate, but erroneously recognized Shakirat Oyindolapo Shittu as OAU’s best graduating student.
I do not intend to take anything away from Ms. Shittu. She performed awesomely, clearing 12 awards in the Faculty of Clinical Sciences to become the best graduating student in that faculty. Her plethora of awards won her the University’s award for “The best overall student with the highest number of prizes”. However, Ademola Ayodeji Oridate received the award for “Overall best graduating student in the University” with a CGPA of 4.88/5.0. It must be noted that unlike the Faculty of Clinical Sciences that has a large number of awards up for grabs, the Department of Mechanical Engineering does not have any award for any of its individual courses. If it had, Ademola would likely have been in contention for Shakirat’s award. The “coco” is that she won the highest number of prizes but he was the best graduating student. Full stop!
It is amazing how the Punch could have made such a mistake when anyone with access to the Convocation brochure could see the awards clearly. I expect such a reputable newspaper to have a system of checks and balances to authenticate the correctness of any information.
Whether it was an innocent mistake or demeaning incompetence, I expect the Punch to correct its error through a rejoinder, and a new report including an interview with the “real best”. Some of my classmates and I have already emailed the Punch editor and made contact via phone calls. We are waiting for them to fix it.
Please give us a chance to “famz” our colleague.
Cheers to Ademola Oridate! He reminds me of myself in a previous lifetime.