Few months ago, a U.S. Professor, Gamalier Prince stated that Nigerians are receiving expired education. This statement has been echoed by the best graduating student at the 22nd convocation of the Lagos State University. In this interview with Onifade Bello of The Transverse, Fuhad Adetoro Ogunsanya has reiterated the need to review Nigeria’s education curriculum.He emphasized that government at all levels should bridge the gap between the town and the gown.
Fuhad graduated with a CGPA of 4.78 in Business Administration, shared his experiences as an undergraduate as well as his future aspirations for the nation. Excerpts:
TT:May we meet you?
Fuhad:My name is Fuhad Ogunsanya. I hail from Ikorodu, Lagos State. I am from a polygamous family; the fourth of seven children. I finished my secondary school in 2010; but for a few reasons, mainly health issues, I gained admission in 2013 but resumed in 2014.
TT: How was it like growing up?
Fuhad:Growing up was really kind of difficult because everyone is basically trying to fight for his or her head. My step mother was trying to fight for her own children and my mum was trying to fight for hers too. So it was really kind of difficult especially when it was like one has an edge ahead of others in a polygamous family. But then we still have good polygamous families out there; probably mine was just an exception.
TT: You emerged the best graduating student at the LASU 22nd convocation, did you envisage that feat?
Fuhad: Well, maybe it was not something planned; but I really worked towards it. In my third year first semester, I started looking at the possibility of being able to make it. Although I have always had good grades since my first year; my CGPA was 4.86. So I have always been performing really well; but my concentration on it started in my 300L first semester.
TT: What did you do differently from others who made first class?
Fuhad: I won’t say I did anything different. Like I have been saying, there is really no magic; if you want something, just go for it and be ready to pay the price. I paid the price for it by just letting some things go and I thank God for the end. Determination, discipline, self-evaluation and knowing where your strength lies are things that are really important for one to make the best.
TT: What did your typical day look like as an undergraduate?
Fuhad:My basic schedule while I was an undergraduate was usual – my morning devotion, setting out for school because I didn’t stay in the school hostel; I lived with an uncle. Sometimes I had to spend a few hours before I got to school. The road to the school is still under construction; so there were obstructions on the road and traffic jam at times while going to school. So it was really hectic getting to school and at times. I could be lucky that it won’t take more than 25 minutes while at times it could take up to 2 hours.
Having found my way to the school, I would go for my classes and thereafter meet with a few friends to see how we could make things work together for ourselves. Then I would go for my fellowship, most times on Tuesdays and Wednesday mornings. I made a whole lot of friends as an undergraduate.
Basically, my activities were not that fixed or routine as such; except for a few things. For example, getting to the library for me to read was a routine thing; going for my classes was routine and going for my fellowship too. And everything that came up, I tried to see how I could adjust to make things work.
TT: Aside academics, what other activities did you engage in a student?
Fuhad:In my second year I served as the Financial Secretary of the students’ association in my department. In my third year I served as the General Secretary of the same association in my faculty. Up to my graduation I was an active member of the debating society in my school; that is LSCDS. In my fourth year I was appointed as the Auditor General of the students’ association in my faculty.I also served as the Chairman Planning Committee of the graduating set of 2017 in my department; and a few other businesses that I do too aside academics.
TT: What challenges did you face as an undergraduateand how were you able to overcome them?
Fuhad: The basic obstacle I had was the distance between where I stayed and the school; due to the fact that the road is still under construction. The traffic jam most times is very hectic. That was the basic challenge.
I had to overcome it by managing my time very well. I had to put that extra time in my planning. So if I had a class by 8:00am, I would have to leave the house as early as 7:00am; and if I had a class by 10:00am, that means I had to leave home as early as 8:00am.
Likewise, being an undergraduate, probably having to get materials was tasking. I actually had to give up being an internet person for materials. So only if I could not get hard copies that I would have to go to the internet for the materials; andwith that I was able to overcome it.
TT:The Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Akinwumi Ambode, has pledged to sponsor your master’s programme anywhere in the world, where do you have in mind for postgraduate studies?
Fuhad: Smiles. Initially, I actually had it in mind to go to a UK school, probably Cambridge or Oxford. But since he actually threw it open, I would be going for UK or US; any other two countries. I am actually working towards it; it is not something I can decide alone since the Governor is more of like my dad now. He also has to agree on that.Even though I know I have to present it to him; it has to be with his consent too.
TT: As a graduate of Business Administration, what do you intend to change in the nation with your academic discipline?
Fuhad:If I am being given an opportunity to change anything, I think I would involve the industry players more. I would like the industry players to come in to review our curriculum. I won’t like to use the word outdated, but our curriculum really needs to be upgraded. There is need for the industries and the academics to come togetherand see where exactly the gap is. There is need to bridge the gap.
With the few months of experience that I have had in the industry, I see that going to school is really very important; it gives you the basic foundation that you need. But then, there is need for upgrade in our curriculum.So when given the opportunity, I would invite the industry players to come in and see how we can make the academics be at almost the same pedestal with what is happening in the industries.
TT:Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
Fuhad:In the next five years, okay, let me break it down. Between now and next two years, all things being equal, I should have completed the compulsory National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) and have bagged my master’s degree. In the next five years, I see myself if not having completed it, at least almost done with my PhD programme.
TT: Should you be done with your PhD, would you be considering anything in the academia?
Fuhad:Yes, I am very much interested in academia. But then I would love to have substantial amount of experience in the industry so that when I come back I would be able to make significant changes in the academia.
TT:Any piece of advice to the State or Federal Government?
Fuhad:For the State and Federal Governments, there is need for upgrade in our curriculum. There is a way we can be able to bring in the key players in the industry to come in and link our curriculum in such a way that when graduates get out there, they don’t look obsolete with what they have learnt. They should still be seen being active in the industry.
Basically, my advice to State and Federal Governments is to find a way to bridge the gap that exists between the town and the gown.
TT:What advice do you have for Nigerian students and youths out there?
Fuhad:For Nigerian students and the youths generally, I would say with all acknowledgement that things are really very hard. Things are really difficult at this point in time. But with determination and persistence, we can get wherever we want to get to. Success comes basically by opportunity and preparation. I believe also that the God factor is constant; but the physical factor itself is a variable. Once I know that God factor is always there, then it is pushing me harder to prepare more on what I want to achieve.
My advice for all youths out there is to know exactly what they want and prepare for it. Put God first and everything will be settled.
TT: It’s been nice speaking to you. Thank you very much for your time.
Fuhad: Thank you so much too.