By Miracle Ndubuisi
A 23 YEAR – old physically challenged political science graduate of Adeleke University, Ede, Osun State, Miss Sherifat Odemo, has been offered automatic employment by the varsity on her completion of her National Youth Service Corps. This was announced by the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Council, Adeleke University, Dr. Adedeji Adeleke, during the pro-chancellor’s dinner night held at the varsity cafeteria which was one of the events lined up for the third convocation ceremony of the varsity.
In addition to the automatic employment, Adeleke said that arrangement will be made for her to do her youth service at the varsity. Adeleke made these pronouncements when he was reacting to the statement Sherifat made when she came out to express her gratitude in respect of the great support she received from the pro-chancellor in particular and the varsity in general.
According to Odemo, such support came in form of scholarship award, provision of motorized chair to aid her movement, arrangement of special classroom for her lectures downstairs, among others. Fielding questions from journalists, Odemo, who came out with Second Class Upper Division Honours degree, said that her attending Adeleke varsity was a great miracle.
According to her, “I did JAMB immediately after secondary school and chose Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba, Ondo State but, unfortunately, I could not meet the cut off mark. I was very sad and while lamenting over my predicament, my mother received text message from Adeleke University offering me admission. I hesitated accepting the offer of admission because I knew that her parents could not afford the school fees of a private varsity. But my parents encouraged me to accept the offer. As my studies progressed, the varsity authority decided to award me scholarship as a result of my physical challenge, determination and also because my parents could not afford to pay school fees.”
She explained that in addition to the scholarship, Dr. Adeleke bought her motorized chair to aid her movement in the campus. According to her, movement at the temporary site of the varsity where the buildings were mainly bungalows was easier than the permanent site where the staff and students relocated to and most of the buildings are storey buildings.
She explained that on some occasions, she had to crawl upstairs carrying her laptop either to take lectures or do one thing or the other before special arrangement was made by the varsity authority for her to have her lectures in classrooms downstairs.
Speaking on the automatic employment offered her, she said that she received the good news with great joy and gave glory to God who made all the good things that happened in her life possible. She added that she was very grateful to the Pro-Chancellor and the varsity for being so kind to her.
Odemo said that her parents were also very happy for what the varsity has done for her, noting that they are looking forward to the day they will go and thank Dr. Adeleke who she described as a special philanthropist for his kindness towards her. She said that she decided to go to school despite her challenge because education was very important and it will help her stand tall among her peers in the society.
She advised other physically challenged persons not to see their situation as a death sentence rather, be determined to succeed in life. She said that they should go to school if they have the opportunity.
On her academic performance, she said that at primary school level, she was not bright. In fact, according to her, she was poor in terms of performance at that level. She said that she was not discouraged but continued to work hard and when she got into secondary school, her performance improved. At SS1, she won prizes and her performance continued to improve until she got into the varsity and eventually came out in Second Class Upper Division Honours Degree.
Speaking further during the event, Dr. Adedeji Adeleke commended Sherifat for her courage and determination to succeed. He also appealed to well to do Nigerians to sponsor the education of children from indigent families in order to make them useful to themselves, their families and the nation. Dr. Adeleke who Sherifat described as a special philanthropist narrated his experience with a young man he met in United States of America.
He said that he went for shopping when he traveled to the U.S and suddenly, a young man approached him and greeted him. He said that he did not recognize this young man. However, he responded and the young man said; “Sir, I studied with your scholarship Award and I am now a medical doctor here in United States.”
Dr. Adeleke said that he was very happy and congratulated the young man on the academic fit, he has achieved. According to him, the young man went further to say “ Sir, I have followed your foot step, I now have a small foundation ,I send money to Nigeria from time to time for the payment of the school fees of some students being sponsored by my foundation.” The Vice – Chancellor of the University, Professor Ekundayo Alao also congratulated Miss Sherifat Odemo and said that her character is worthy of emulation. He charged her to remain focused.