Toyin Ojuola, a first-class degree graduate from the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, FUNAAB, has narrated how he combined working as an okada rider and bricklayer with his academic work.
In an exclusive interview with Vanguard, Ojuola shared the inspiring story of his unconventional path to academic success.
Ojuola revealed that he became a bricklayer after completing primary school. Despite his financial challenges, he had a deep passion for education, which eventually led him to work at a police station while keeping his focus on academic pursuits.
In 2016, facing the financial demands of his education, Ojuola made a strategic decision to venture into okada riding to support himself financially.
He highlighted the difficulties of balancing work and studies but emphasized that his commitment to education fueled his determination to overcome challenges.
The revelation that he concealed his occupation as an okada rider from fellow students added a layer of surprise to his eventual academic achievement.
“I knew how to ride Okada right from being a teenager, my colleagues at school didn’t know I use it to work, they only know I bring it to school to receive lecturers because I go very far to operate as a bike man,” he said.
He added that he got money from his side hustle to get himself a fairly used bike.
Although, Ojuola acknowledged the support from his parents but recognized the limitations of their resources.
He took charge of his destiny, working tirelessly to fund his education and minimize the financial burden on his family.
Ojuola’s journey took a significant turn when he achieved a 5.0 GPA in his 200 level, a remarkable accomplishment that fueled his ambition for academic excellence.
The realization that he could pursue a first-class degree motivated him to reshape his reading habits, dedicating time to study every day and seeking additional materials to enhance his understanding of various subjects.
In his words, I didn’t aim for first class, all I wanted was not to have many carry overs and get rusticated that will affect me.
He added that he got inspired when he saw that he was part of the first 5 best students in his class at 100 level, stressing that the GPA he got in his 100lv was his lowest throughout his years in school.
Despite his past challenges, Ojuola still aspires to pursue further academic endeavors, aiming for a master’s and eventually a Ph.D., with a focus on addressing agricultural challenges in Nigeria.
He expressed his desire to contribute to solving issues related to food security and sustainability.
Combining his experience from within school and outside, Ojuola stressed the importance of making education accessible to all.
According to him, there are many talents that are being wasted outside school, adding that if there was an avenue where education is accessible to all, the talents will be utilized well.
He emphasized the importance of making education accessible to all and expressed his desire to contribute to solving issues related to food security and sustainability.
He therefore urged the government to make education accessible for everyone and not for the “rich people” alone.