By: Onifade Bello A.
“Hard work does not kill,” said a sage once. This could really be true and evident in the emergence of Pelumi Adewumi as a Law scholar after 26 years of such feat at the University of Jos. It may seem fascinating to romance success when one gets to stardom; but many onlookers are oblivious of one reality: the goods in the showroom are products of hard work in the labour room.
Imbibing the philosophy of Henry Ford who said, “It has been my observation that most people get ahead during the time that others waste,” Pelumi has become a UNIJOS scholar through a lot of persistence, hard work, prayers and denying himself luxuries that many students waste their time on. The law graduate finished with a 4.50/5.00 CGPA in the 2015/2016 academic session.
Gaining admission into Nigerian universities is a process often characterised by ‘long leg’ regardless of applicants’ intellectual inclinations. Pelumi was a victim of this shoddy process as he had to wait for eight years before securing university admission. However, the long wait later served as a catalyst to his academic success as he never became downcast or wasted the opportunity while on campus. In his words, “I waited eight years before I secured admission. This made me register for a Diploma in Law programme within the period I waited and I sat the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination four times.”
Working now in a law firm, the university scholar recollects how growing up as a little kid was filled with many ambitions; from wanting to be a medical doctor, to an accountant, a footballer and a lawyer. These ambitions were not divorced from efforts as he dedicated some time and efforts to them, thinking he would follow through in that direction. But his mind was made up before leaving high school, to tread on a divine path to study law; and he made the best out of it. Particularly, his enthusiasm about activism and passionate hatred for injustice which abounds in the nation, especially by security and other state officials, were core reasons that stimulated his interest in the legal profession. A path he has been pacing even before becoming a lawyer.
Another truism which has become widely applicable in Nigeria is that: justice delayed is justice denied. Pelumi’s journey into the legal profession has induced him with a fervid quest for change in the judicial system, mainly the need for speedy dispensation of justice. In actual fact, this is a chief reason why many Nigerians have lost hope in the judicial process, more importantly when cases are between the big guns and the common masses.
Reading is living; but many youth have been swallowed by social distractions even while on campus that they neglect their priorities of being in school for frivolities. At times these students don’t attend classes but faff around. Meanwhile, students whose goals are hinged on the pursuit of excellence focus on their goals. Unlike many who dream in their sleep, their dreams make them keep vigil. No sleep. Pelumi was in the latter category while at the University of Jos.
“I had to go to classes even when I didn’t want to; read when I didn’t feel like and stayed awake a number of times even when I felt like sleeping. I couldn’t go on some outings because I needed to study or take care of some other more important things like my assignments, research and other academic duties. I couldn’t watch the movies I would have loved to. I also love to listen to music and the radio to keep me updated, but I had to switch them off a lot of times in order to study. I also wasn’t in a hurry to head home anytime we had break. These were some of the things I had to let go of to achieve success. To excel, I guess there are certain things one must get used to, like being disciplined and not losing focus; I kept my goal in view which was my driving force,” the scholar said.
In his academic sojourn, the scholar had moments that were good and otherwise. He made mistakes and gave wrong answers to questions while in class. But this never dampened his aspirations. After all, Lao Tzu opined that failure is the foundation of success, and the means by which it is achieved. Narrating one of such moments, Pelumi said: one embarrassing moment was when a lecturer asked a question and after I got it wrong, he exclaimed ‘Chineke!’ One can only imagine if such exclamation of ‘Chineke’ was in a class of 100 students or more.
Life alternates between days that are for you and days against you. The scholar wasn’t exempted from this reality. Hence, there were exciting moments for him too. According to him, the most exciting moment asides when he got his final result was when his Level Coordinator, who was also a lecturer, asked a question in class, and after he answered it correctly he expressed surprise and said that Pelumi didn’t cease to amaze him. Commenting further, the lecturer said that the scholar behaved as though he was not a member of the class, intending that on a positive note obviously. Likewise, the lecturer who once exclaimed ‘Chineke!’ on another occasion asked another question and put a prize on it. Pelumi answered it correctly and got the prize.
While many youth have been encouraged by their parents and relatives to engage in illicit activities; Pelumi noted that his were exceptional. Although the dad is late, the mum, Mrs Adewumi, and her sister were inspirational to his pursuit of success. They spurred him from time to time, reminding him that he could actually make a first class. This brings to limelight the invaluable roles parental care and positive supports can make in the journey to a child’s success in life and otherwise.
“Failure cannot cope with persistence,” said the American author, Napoleon Hill. Youth have a lot to learn from the academic feat of Pelumi Adewumi. Should he have quit or lost hope after writing UTME four times or waiting for eight years without admission, his intelligence could have wasted with him. But he was persistent because persistence is key in the pursuit of success. Truly, there is advancement in adversity for anyone who is persistent.