BY ANTHONY ARUGBA
DELTA State University, DELSU, Abraka, was agog last Saturday as a student of Mass Communication, Joshua Erubami, emerged as the best graduating student for the 2015/ 2016 academic session during the 11th convocation of the university.
He is also the first student in the history of Mass Communication to graduate with a First Class Honour along with his course mate, Esther Idiabana, who also bagged first class from the same department with a CGPA of 4.65 on a scale of 5.00. Both of them honed their industrial training skill from The Pointer newspapers in Asaba, the Delta State capital.
Joshua, the best graduating student, who is in his early 20s, is an Urhobo and a native of Oghara, Ethiope West Local Government Area of the state and graduated with a Cumulative Grade Point Average, CGPA, of 4.86.
Joshua Erubami’success story predates his admission to the department of Mass Communication. In fact, the circumstances that surrounded his studentship in DELSU showed that he was just more than the conventional student.
Having completed his secondary school education in 2011, he obtained a predegree form to study Library and Information Science, LIS, in DELSU where he emerged as the overall best student of the programme after scoring well above 500 points on a scale of 600. He was, however, not to take up the admission offer since he also had, through the University Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UtME) alternatives of studying Mass Communication or English and Literary Studies.
The young, intelligent and assuming Erubami went for Mass Communication (his first choice course of study) and wasted no time in rewriting the course of history. He was recognized as the overall best 100 level student in the Faculty of the Social Sciences by the Prof. Eric Arubayi’s administration during the last edition of the institution’s students financial award scheme. At that same event, the vibrant Erubami stole the attention of all guests through a valedictory speech that saw the Vice Chancellor and his management team give him a rousing applause.
As the young champ continued his academic career, he was named the Editor-In-Chief of DELSU Echoe, an annual newspaper published by the Mass Communication Department of DELSU.
He had his Students Industrial Work Experience Scheme (otherwise called Industrial Training) at the Delta Printing and Publishing Company Limited (publisher of The Pointer titles), Asaba. Within that six months period, Erubami scripted no fewer than 400 stories which included news, features and opinion articles. He was so good at the desk that his industrial supervisor and Weekend News Editor of The Pointer Newspaper, Mr. Charles Emeni fondly called him “Sabi Sabi” (which he interpretes to mean someone whose expertise positively defies norms and conventional expectations).
It was, therefore, not surprising that Erubami was engaged as a freelance staff of the media house immediately he graduated from DELSU. He was in the services of The Pointer newspapers from September 2016 to May 2017. Within these nine months, he wrote several breaking and exclusive stories for the newspaper. He also served as the acting Editor of The Pointer’s Business and Economic stories for some months. The hallmark of his stay with the company was his recommendation and approval as a member of the daily tabloid’s Editorial Board. This feat made him the youngest member ever enlisted in that board of few firsts among equals.
He remained a member of the board and scripted several editorial pieces until he joined the Broadcasting Service of Ekiti State where he is currently serving under the compulsory National Youth Service Corps (NYSC).
But Erubami’s tales of success is not limited to academics alone. In fact, he was wholly involved in students’ Union politics in which he held several positions including being the Assistant Secretary General, Association of Mass Communication Students (AMASCOS); Director of Information, Social Sciences Students’ Association (SOSSA) before becoming the youngest faculty President in the history of the 25 years old citadel of higher learning.
Erubami’s ascendancy to the apex position of SOSSA is worth mentioning because of the many odds that were stacked against him. The first was that he was youngest contender for the position among the three candidates that scaled through the rigorous training of the electoral committee. Secondly, he was not as famous and financially prepared for the contests as were his two opponents. Thirdly, no student of Mass Communication had ever contested and won the position of a faculty president.
Nonetheless, these odds could not stand against him, rather he converted them to his strength. He made a perfect blend of his age and humble disposition and successfully sold out the idea of not too young to rule to his electorates. Besides, his exceptional intelligence became an added advantage. At the end of the contest, Erubami won five out of the seven departments comprising the faculty of the Social Sciences while his opponents only won their respective departments.
As a faculty president, he was also the coordinator of his department as well as the Secretary of the faculty’Coordinators’ Forum. Yet, his academic pursuit did not suffer any known neglect. Today, he bagged a first class degree from the department of Mass Communication, a feat that has never been recorded in the history of the near 25 years old department.
His emergence as best graduating student, for many is not a surprise as the young lad had shown traits of brilliance and intelligence from the first day he gained admission into the university. Many a time, during lecture periods, Joshua would always signify his hand to ask or answer questions to the dismay of many students, who perceived him as ‘Sabi Sabi ‘, but he never allowed their perception of him to cloud his intelligence.
In fact, there were times, during lectures that his fellow course mates would attempt to shout him down from asking questions, especially towards the end of lectures as many of them were always in a hurry to exit the class on noticing the lecturers lecture period was about to elapse and for Joshua to ask the course lecturer questions implied an extension of the lecturers period.
He was always punctual in class as class representative; was always ready to learn; he was always ready to ask and answer questions whenever the opportunity presented itself needles the bickering from some of his mates.
At a time, specifically during his final year, he became the president of the Faculty of Social Sciences and many thought that would be the beginning of the end since politics with students unionism remains a difficult venture to embark upon. Findings showed that former students who were making headway in their academic pursuits usually lost the drift on venturing into politics, so; his admirers feared same fate waited Joshua.
Lecturers bragged about his academic prowess during lectures and as such; some students disliked him and perceived him as a threat; some had bad blood against him due to his intelligence, while a larger chunk loved him dearly and where ready to squat with him in his hostel so that he could teach them certain courses they found difficult.
Joshua usually taught junior students tutorials before examination. He was concerned and passionate about the welfare of fresh students, hence he always volunteered his time to teach them extra lessons to prepare them for their maiden examination in the university. He is, without doubt, the very best student in the history of Mass Communication and from the way he is going, there may be no end in sight to his greatness.
He also bagged the Dean’s award (as best student in the faculty of the social sciences) and won the Vice Chancellor’s prize as the overall best graduating student in 2015/2016 academic session.