By Laju Iren
The West African Senior School Certificate Examination is not something students take without much fasting and prayer. Ask anyone of the 1.6 million candidates who took the examinations this year. Only about 59.61 of them scored five credits and above in the examination.
Oghenebrorhie Emuophedaro is not just lucky enough to be in the top percentile; he scored straight As in all his nine WASSCE subjects.
After six years at Faith Academy, Ota, Ogun State, the 16-year-old will now embark on his dream of studying petroleum and gas engineering at the University of Lagos, UNILAG.
He took time out to share his experience as well as his advice for Nigerian students.
How were you able achieve such a great feat of scoring nine As in the WASSCE? What sacrifice did you have to make?
Getting nine As in the WASSCE was majorly a blessing from God, but I also did a lot of studying, paid much attention in revision classes and sometimes engaged in discussions with my friends concerning certain subjects and topics. I also sacrificed a lot of time that would have been used for soccer and other recreational activities. I took chemistry, mathematics, English Language, further mathematics, physics, economics, geography, civic education and blocklaying and concreting in the WASSCE.
Tell us about your academic journey. Have you always been a high flying student?
Saying that I have always been a ‘high flying student’ feels a little awkard, but by God’s grace I have had laudable academic records. I feel academic excellence can be achieved almost easily through dedication to studies, making a few necessary sacrifices, and most importantly reading and praying really hard!
Did you receive any award from the government or any private organisation for your academic excellence?
I have not received any scholarships or rewards per se from any private or government organisation.
Were you surprised when you heard about your result or did you suspect all along that you would do so well?
Honestly, I had this feeling I was going to get a good result, but I did not expect nine As at all! I was stunned.
Many students are of the opinion that academic excellence is for a select few who were born very smart. What is your opinion about this?
I am of the opinion that excellence in academics can be achieved by any person interested.
It is a thing of the mind and more importantly how well you develop yourself for it: studying and going the extra mile. Statistics show that students that fail examinations fail not because they are dull academically but majorly because of fear, popularly known as ‘exam fever’. I think the mass failure may be as a result of lack of confidence students often show and also inadequate preparation.
So, I advise Nigerian students out there to be confident about what they know; and in this state of mind, even what they do not know so well will become a piece of cake with time. And they should also make sure not to underrate any examination, and prepare adequately.
The world celebrated Teachers’ Day recently; are there any teachers that have gone beyond the call of duty to inspire you academically and What is your message to Nigerian teachers?
My teachers were and are still great sources of inspiration for me. Mr Remilekun Oladipupo, Mr Sunday Adeniran, Ms Nike Jolaoye, Mr Kunle Odebiyi, Prof. Ezeanyi Sunday Godfrey and a whole lot of others have really majored as catalysts to my academic success so far. I urge all Nigerian teachers to give their all when teaching their students, just like my teachers did for me. I can’t say I have experienced it before, but I think it feels good to see your students excel.
What career plans do you have for the future?
In the corporate world, I hope to become a successful engineer in the future. Outside the corporate world, I would love to be a music producer.