NIGERIAN youths studying abroad are still doing the nation proud through excellent performances despite the assuming falling education standards in Nigeria. The latest among them is Miss Tioluwani Comfort Tioluwani who just bagged 2017 best graduating student with distinction in Law (LLM) at University of Wales, United Kingdom. Having left the country to pursue her postgraduate studies after a frustrated effort by the incessant strikes that prolonged her stay at the University of Abuja where she got her first degree in law, she made good her decision, excelling with flying colours and thus joined the list of exceptional Nigerian youths that are doing the nation proud overseas, academically. In this interview, the unassuming young woman expresses her initial fears, but did give glory to God for her success and her parents.
By Chris Onuoha
WHAT were your memorable experiences in the course of your studies and did you in any way face challenges?
I was the youngest in class and my arrival in school was rushed; so, settling down in school was a bit difficult. Everybody reacts to change and I wasn’t an exception. Switching from the Nigerian-style curriculum and teaching to that of the United Kingdom wasn’t easy to cope with at first and this generated some degree of fear in me as regards my ability to make an impact but in it all, the Lord took all the glory and I had a success story.
Do you consider yourself a bookworm and to what do you attribute this success?
I don’t, but I am quite studious. I attribute my success to the Lord Jesus Christ because nobody receives anything on earth except it be given to him from heaven because in all fairness, I never expected that I would graduate with a distinction in LLM Law let alone graduate as the best student. Romans 9:16: “So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.” I cannot claim that I read a lot but I can claim that I prayed a lot to achieve this. Thus I attribute this success to Jesus, who is the lifter of my head. The prayers of my parents also went a long way to make this happen. It symbolises the fact that Jesus still answers prayers. Also, faith in God with hard work pays.
What results did you come out with in previous academic pursuits?
I graduated with a second class in my previous study at the University of Abuja.
Were there things you did differently unlike other students?
The main thing I know I did differently was that I put God first and made Him my best friend.
Did you have time for extra-curricular activities?
I had time. I was a volunteer student in a charity under the auspices of my church and I was also a member of the Afro-Caribbean society and the Chinese society amongst others.
Tell us about your background
My parents, Rev. and Barrister (Mrs.) Tioluwani, are practicing pastors and my mother is a lawyer by training and this influenced my upbringing a great deal, as it injected a lot of Christian virtues and sound morals into my life. I am from a family of four and I am the eldest. As the eldest, I had to live a life that my siblings would be able to look up to academically, spiritually, even socially. My family is also into charity and owns an orphanage (which has been in existence for years) and aside from my blood related siblings, I have other siblings, who are from this orphanage, which houses about 100 children. This has influenced my way of life hugely to be considerate in my interaction with others. My parents involve themselves in everything I do and talk me through everything I do.
Did they influence your choice of course, particularly your mother, the lawyer?
I decided to study law right from when I was in my primary school. I participated in a play called ‘The Incorruptible Judge’. I remember putting on my mum’s wig and a black gown on for my role, and right there and then I fell in love with the course and decided that I wanted to study law.
Why then did you go to the UK to study for your postgraduate studies; don’t you have faith in the Nigerian school system?
In the first instance, I stayed longer than expected in the university, not because of my academic status but because of strikes and this, to some extent, affected my belief in the Nigerian education system.
People are skeptical about miracles; how easy is it for Jesus to still work miracles in our present age, with all its challenges and distractions?
We are in a democracy and people are free to say whatever they want about miracles but Christianity without miracle is incomplete Christianity because everything about Christ is a miracle; even the birth of Christ was a miracle and His departure to heaven in a rocket-styled manner was also an unprecedented miracle. I grew up in a family and ministry where miracles are the order of the day. I have witnessed mega miracles that cannot be measured and quantified. My emergence as the best student in law is a proof that miracles still happen.
You have made an impact with this achievement. After LLM, what next?
My interest is in research, and as a result of this, by God’s grace, I will like to pursue a doctorate in law in the UK or in the US. Also, by God’s grace I see myself working in an international organisation.
This achievement kind of makes you a model. So, what advice do you have for other students?
To be goal-driven, passionate and focused in whatever dream they may have for their lives, knowing that there is no royal road to success. As the Bible states in Matthew 6:33: ‘But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you’.